A review by renziebee
Dance of Thieves, by Mary E. Pearson

5.0

Nothing new here, just me going into a duology blind and not even researching if there was a series before it (turns out there was, lol) but hot damn, I devoured this book! I really tried going slow, but every time there's a semblance of a break in my already busy schedule, I'm picking it up and reading one chapter after another.

It starts when the Patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, and its heir Jase takes over. His family governs by its own rules but their whole family's history is their north star. At the same time, we meet Kazi of Brightmist, a legendary thief-turned-soldier who's set out to investigate the settlements in the Ballenger's territory. A series of events and coincidences spiral out of control soon after they meet, and they're unexpectedly thrown together (and I mean this quite literally) to survive.

This book really met all my standards:
- Kazi, this smart, badass female character with more tricks up her sleeve than her love interest
- Jase, who not only has the makings of a great leader but a family man too even though he's a little rough around the edges.
- Perhaps my favorite is the Ballenger's respect for their history. Absolutely loved that they try to honor it as best they can, and learn from it too.
- Found family plot lines always make me soft. Kazi's relationship with Wren & Synové was chef's kiss.
- The whole imperfection and faults of the Ballenger family made me love them even more (especially on the second book if I'm being honest)
- The book wasn't afraid to quicken the pace when needed, and take its time when it needed to build up to something which I always appreciate.
- World building was great for me, although I definitely have questions on the magic side of things and the whole dynamics of the Kingdom which I suppose I'll understand in the original series (lol)
- ..and finally I'm always a sucker for any enemies to lovers trope so... there you go.

Overall, I'm so happy I picked this book up! Definitely going in my re-read pile.