3 STARS...I'm such a party pooper, I know.
Remember how back in the day, when Bono hasn't discovered third world debt yet and was just satisfied writing tortured, cheesy lines like that? Good times.
And remember how back in the day when this all started with a little known novel that kept you up all night then the ending was your first thought when you woke up the next morning? Also good, albeit, deliciously painful times.
I think everyone's been waiting for this book since that devastating/uplifting (it depends really how you look at it) end toThe Opportunist. I've always wondered what goes on in the mind of the man those schemes and ploys are plotted around. He always seems to be the character who unknowingly steps on and detonates the mines set up by Leah and Olivia against each other. Collateral damage be damned.
Thief is told mostly in Caleb's point of view with shifting timelines between the present and the past. A need to resubject yourself through the angst, torture and schadenfreude of The Opportunist and Dirty Red depends on how well-scarred you were after reading them. (Un)Luckily I was marked pretty bad so I didn't have much trouble keeping track of what lie people were living under at a particular time. Because it's pretty important to keep the wires of lies uncrossed and the lines of truth clear of knots when reading this.
This is a chronicle of failed attempts, a book of conversations cut short, of eyes playing tricks, of poorly timed phone calls and unsent text messages. Of fate being a temperamental tease and of people who have been swimming, drowning in lies finally, FINALLY coming up for air.
That gave me some sort of relief. It is the ending of the series and I was quite glad things are getting wrapped up. This series is a New Adult-Adult hybrid, you have to know coming in, it will be a potent mix of drama, angst, borderline diabeetus dialogue and more high octane drama… you have to know what you signed up for.
I dealt with it and was okay with it. Because I'm reading about Caleb and Olivia's ending. Two of the most effed up, diabolically destructive pairs I've seen together. But you can't really help that small part of you that cheers for them, that needs to see them work this out, no matter how comically stereotypical things got in the midst of extreme odds, I still took things about them to heart.
"Why are you forever comparing me to animals and shoes and food?"
"Because I see the world in different shades of Olivia."
How can you not? It's epic love at it's most dysfunctional.
Then somewhere in the chronological middle it became a series of they do, they don't then they do again. Followed by a string of he is, then he isn't then, shirley he is again. Further along it again shifted to become a bigger study on fate and choices and how they'll bring you from point A to point B without any particular regard for the technicalities.
I can only take so much.
82% in I just got too exhausted to care and stopped taking this so seriously and maybe even felt like my emotions were being played at… which was an entirely different kind of hurt for me as a pledged fan of this series. So yes, at one point I didn't care anymore and just wanted it to be over.
I do appreciate how Caleb was fleshed out here. He's a very well-textured character and I really liked that. If I LIKE the details is up for debate (some more than the others), but it's a testament to good writing when you start to wonder if the character is even fictional. He was the guy with the whole world at his feet at every single turn, in every given opportunity. He never has to take anything as everything just lands on his lap. He's a living Abercombie and Fitch ad, a prime-cut and Camelot-bred Kennedy. Only British.
So it was a pleasant surprise to see him fight for something, someone he wants, loves so much to an exhausting desperation. Because he did fight dirty here, unexpected yes, but not entirely unwelcome. Especially since we find out that he's still the kind of man who removes his (probably) six-figures watch before punching someone in the face.
But for all of his reality, there are still gaping loopholes in his logic (the office scene comes to mind, the Estella debacle as well), that has shaken my faith, fostered some of the doubts I have on this character even after I turned the last page. I've always thought he was just this extremely lucky guy... in the end you realize just how much.
I kind of wish for an equal
opportunist opportunity to hear out Olivia's POV in the present. Because here she gets one chapter POV and just recedes to being the girl to be won over (except for that one scene at the end). From the first book, we know she's more complex than that. But she also claims here that she's changed. I just wish I get to be the judge of that instead of her.Personally, I don't like how it implies that this wouldn't have ended the way it did if Olivia didn't change. I liked the Olivia from the first book well enough. And the new Olivia here I only got to know through the eyes of a besotted, desperate man.
I'm not even going to talk about my disappointment on how Noah's character was handled.
I'm seeing this as a whimper for an end than a shout of joy. I think my nostalgia towards the series kept me afloat better than how the actual story was delivered. That and Tarryn Fisher's heart, which I found shining through all that thick layer of drama and shenanigans.
We are all so broken. Pick up a person, shake them around and you'll hear the rattling of their broken pieces. Pieces our fathers broke, or our mothers, or our friends, strangers or our loves.