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Power corrupts. Magic kills.
Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael is surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn't help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe—the dangerous and enigmatic leader of Hawthorne’s kindled motorcycle gang, the Devils’ League.
When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumor spreads that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Devils & Thieves gave me old-school YA vibes, which I’ve been craving lately. I loved the idea of bikers and magic, and was curious to see how Jennifer Rush would weave them together. Though the book wasn’t without its flaws, I found to be quite enjoyable, and by the end, I was definitely invested enough to want to continue on with the series.
The magic system in Devils & Thieves was quite interesting and was was what predominantly got me going through the book. It’s a world in which some people have magic and some don’t. Jemmie, the protagonist, has magic, but hasn’t been able to use it for a while now because it makes her grotesquely sick. This leads her to feeling isolated among her friends in the biker gang, and the story goes deeper into her struggles with this. Her relationship with her father is also a highlight of Devils & Thieves. It’s a contentious relationship as Jemmie is still hurting and angry that her father left her and hasn’t made much of an effort in his daughter’s life. We see that change in Devils & Thieves, and though Jemmie is still incredibly wary, she attempts to repair her damaged relationship with him.
Then, there’s her relationship with Crowe, her best friend’s protective older brother, and someone she clearly has history with. Though we’re not immediately privy to the nature of their relationship, it’s slowly and steadily revealed as the story progressed. Crowe himself was a mysterious boy, with a lot of intensity and gruffness surrounding him. We only get the see glimpses of his personality, so I’m hoping we get to know him better in the subsequent books. I honestly can’t say that I was that invested in this romance as there seemed to be a lot of hurt between the two. There was also a pseudo love triangle at play here, and though it’s quite obvious who Jemmie will most likely end up with, I still found it to be an unnecessary addition.
Speaking of things I didn’t like, I also thought the plot could have done with a little bit more tightening. It’s slow-going and involves a mystery that I found to be quite predictable. It didn’t entirely hinder my enjoyment of the story, but I would have liked to see it executed better. I also would have liked to see more in terms of the history and world building of the motorcycle clubs and their rivalries.
In the end, I found Devils & Thieves to be an entertaining read that offered something fresh in YA this year. I’m excited to see where Jennifer Rush takes the story to next.