I've had THE GOOD THIEF by Hannah Tinti on my shelf for a while now and every time I scanned past the title I would say I really need to read this! I knew it was going to be an interesting tale and believe me, it certainly did not let me down. Here's a blurb from the back of the book to tell you what the story is about.
Twelve-year-old Ren is missing his left hand. How it was lost is one of the mysteries that Ren has been trying to solve his entire life - as well as who his parents are and why he was abandoned as an infant at Saint Anthony's Orphanage for boys. When a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren's long-lost brother, his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand persuades the monks at the orphanage to release the boy and gives Ren some hope. But is Benjamin really who he says he is? As Ren is introduced to a life of hardscrabble adventure filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves, he begins to suspect that Benjamin holds the key not only to his future but to his past as well.
This book was pure delight and entertainment for me. It is one of the most unique and adventurous tales I have ever read. That is what makes a great literary work, in my opinion. When you add to that the incredibly original cast of characters, it makes the story that much better. First and foremost, there's a one-handed orphan boy, a hard of hearing landlady who SCREAMS EVERYTHING SHE SAYS, a giant of a man who befriends Ren, a harelip girl who works in a mousetrap factory, not to mention a dwarf. And that's only a few of the great characters in this book. And yes, there are many characters but because of their uniqueness, they are not at all difficult to keep straight.
There's a lot going on in this story of day to day survival and it all moves along at a rapid pace, taking the reader from one escapade to the next. There was always a sense of urgency that something bad was going to happen right around the corner, but at the same time, great friendships and loyalties were being made to settle the nervous energy. It gave balance to the story and, I think, was very well written.
Ren is a smart and interesting boy who touches the hearts of the people he comes in contact with. Benjamin is a scoundrel that I wanted to like from the beginning but didn't know if I could. I loved all of the adventures, even though some were creepy and I was completely pleased with what I thought was a perfect ending.
I know many of you have had this on your TBR lists, as I did, and I want to encourage you to make the time to read it. I'm so glad I did. It's a story for all ages and I think is a 'new classic'. That's just my opinion and you may disagree with me but you won't know unless you read it!
Author: Hannah Tinti
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback