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Title: Steal the Sky
Series: Scorched Continent #1
Author: Megan O’Keefe
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sight’s on their biggest heist yet – the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia.
But in the middle of his scheme, a face changer known as a doppel starts murdering key members of Aransa’s government. The sudden paranoia makes Detan’s plans of stealing Thratia’s ship that much harder. And with this sudden power vacuum, Thratia can solidify her power and wreak havoc against the Empire. But the doppel isn’t working for Thratia and has her own intentions. Did Detan accidentally walk into a revolution and a crusade? He has to be careful – there’s a reason most people think he’s dead. And if his dangerous secret gets revealed, he has a lot more to worry about than a stolen airship.
I read this back in 2016. I wasn’t that impressed then, as I had some real issues with the story structure. I’ve been seeing lots of positive reviews for O’Keefe’s Protectorate series though, so wanted to give this series another chance. It was a smidge bit better, enough to bump it up half a star and to get me onto the second book, unlike last time.
Reading my review from ’16, I can still see what I meant. It just didn’t bother me the same way, as I was already familiar with the characters. I’ve also realized that I enjoy the “Lord and Servant” trope. Detan & Tibbs. Wooster & Jeeves. Whimsey & Bunter. It simply works for me.
I did find Detan to be more of a useless ass this time around than last. I rather dislike using pejorative body parts as descriptions for someone, but really, it seems to be the most accurate, universal fit. Tibbs was less involved than I remember while all the women (the rest of the cast) played a much more decisive role.
Upon some investigating, it turns out that O’Keefe wrote a prequel novel after she finished this series. If she had written that first, even if not published it, it would go a LONG way towards explaining some of the “familiar” banter between Detan and Tibbs and would give some weight to their obvious history in this book. In that same investigating I have come across enough issues that I have decided to not delve into the Protectorate series. Now I just have to hope she doesn’t tip me off a cliff with this trilogy.
Honestly, I can’t say if I enjoyed this more than last time. I certainly had much less “dislike” than last time though. I’m pretty ambivalent and this review definitely reflects that.