Skate is a thief, trained and owned by the local crime syndicate, the Ink. When she tries to burgle a shut-in’s home, she gets caught by the owner—a powerful undead wizard. He makes a deal with her: “borrow” books from other wizards in return for a place to stay.
Caught between her growing fondness for the wizard and her past with the crime syndicate, Skate doesn’t know where her loyalties lie. But she’d better figure it out, because there’s a new player in town, one whose magical hypnotism puts them all at risk.
Book 1 of the The Rag and Bone Chronicles series.
If you get a chance to leave the streets behind, you probably shouldn’t plan on biting the hand that’s feeding you—especially if it’s a large flying eyeball that does the cooking. Skate the Thief, book 1 of Jeff Ayers’s Rag and Bone Chronicles series, tells the story of a young girl named Skate, a child of the streets and member of an organization involved in all manner of underhanded dealings. When she’s caught by one of her marks and given some new assignments, Skate discovers how ticklish it can be for someone with the moral compass of a street thief to skate between two worlds. To outmaneuver trouble, she obtains help from some new friends, including the aforementioned large flying eyeball. Although the novel makes a few leaps in story logic, its sympathetic characters will steal readers’ hearts.
Best for: Middle school readers and older.
Discern: Much thievery and little hint of moral law against it, necromancy by a main character who’s basically undead, and little mention of God.