Ratpaths (Tales of Istonnia #1) by Angelika Rust

Review of Ratpaths by Angelika Rust (May 16, 2014)

 Ratpaths (Tales of Istonnia, #1) I received a copy of this book as a prize in a drawing on a review site. Based on this first book, I bought the sequel myself.

The city-state of Istonnia is ruled above ground by a ruthless tyrant and below ground by a crime lord. Nivvo is a skilled young thief caught between them. He is grateful for the crime lord’s protection but wishes to maintain his independence. He is a thief with honor. While burgling a house, he overhears nefarious plans that lead to a daring rescue, perilous escape, unveiling of secrets, and the dawn of a new day in Istonnia as the tyrant is toppled. And the hero-thief still doesn’t want to be anything but a thief — even though he could be so much more. Now he’s more firmly enmeshed in a web of conflicting loyalties and betrayal.

Ratpaths is an entertaining page-turner, by turns thrilling, funny, touching, horrifying. The characters, setting, history, and culture — all fictional — are presented with the kind of solid authority (and minimal exposition) that makes them easy to believe. Nobody ever seemed to do something because the plot demanded it. Rather, the plot unfurled naturally from the characters’ actions. I look forward to more time with Nivvo, Reka, and the rest.