Book Review: The (Occasional) Diamond Thief

The (Occasional) Diamond Thief was a book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I actually applied to be a reviewer twice because I was worried that somehow my 1st request hadn’t gone through! But, because I applied for it so long ago, I had actually forgotten what it was about. When I cracked it open to find it was a sci-fi, I was pleasantly surprised – and it just got better from there.

The Occasional Diamond Thief
by J.A. McLachlan
Release Date: May 2015
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Summary from Goodreads: On his deathbed, Kia’s father discloses a secret to her alone: a magnificent diamond he has been hiding for years. Fearing he stole it, she too keeps it secret. She learns it comes from the distant colonized planet of Malem, where her father caught the illness that eventually killed him.

Now she is even more convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond. When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted by a series of events into travelling as a translator to Malem. Using her skill in languages and another skill she picked up after her father s death, the skill of picking locks – she unravels the secret of the mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner.

But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond? Kia is quirky, with an ironic sense of humour and a loner. Her sidekick, Agatha, is hopeless in languages and naive to the point of idiocy in Kia’s opinion, but possesses the wisdom and compassion Kia needs.

First off, I just want to warn everyone that this review will severely test my spelling abilities because THIEF is one of the words I always misspell. Anyways…

The (Occasional) Diamond Thief was fast paced from the very first chapter. The writing style is very direct and to the point. The chapters are well thought out; there is no rambling for the sake of page count. The story was straight forward, and while I feel like it could have gone on longer, there were no loose ends to mention.

Kia is a fantastic protagonist. She steals a diamond to get into translator college and it just snowballs from there. She is, however, a thief with a conscious and only steals in order to help her family. Eventually, she does get caught and that’s were the real story begins. Kia’s first-person narration is great; she’s witty, sarcastic, driven and ultimately, a believable character. She’s a person that a reader can really get behind and support, she’s a rational thinker and -gasp- not whiny. I love to see a female lead with a good head on her shoulders, and having good taste in bling never hurts.

This book openly speaks of race and differences between culture. Kia is described as black-skinned and in the narration, race is often mentioned. My favorite quote is when she refers to herself and Agatha as “piano keys in a coffee bar” when describing how different they are from the natives of Malem. I love to see women of colour cast as main characters in YA books. It seriously doesn’t happen enough! Kudos for McLachlan for writing a non-white main character.

The only thing that I found lacking in this story was the romance. At first, it seems like there is going to be a spark between Kia and Jumal, but it never gets any further than a secret crush. Maybe she’s destined for someone else, but I honestly can’t see Kia settling down any time soon anyways. That girl has too much work to do.

The (Occasional) Diamond Thief was an enjoyable, quick read. Unfortunately, the ending seemed very abrupt and left me desperately wanting a sequel.  I really hope that McLachlan continues writing more book set in this world. No sign of anything up-and-coming on her Goodreads, but a girl can hope!

*disclaimer* – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

AN EXCLUSIVE MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR:

Hello, I’m J. A. McLachlan, the author of The Occasional Diamond Thief. I’m so pleased to be meeting you, and I’d like to thank Samantha for having me here on Samantha Writes, and reviewing my book. This blog tour is part of my online launch of The Occasional Diamond Thief, and I’ll have something different at each stop – book excerpts, author and character reveals, vlogs, reviews and blog posts – for you to enjoy.

You can find The Occasional Diamond Thief in print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770530754/edgescienceficti and in ebook form: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NF9NYJM And you can find me at: http://www.janeannmclachlan.com

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