SPFBO 7 REVIEW: The Thunder Heist by Jed Herne

Posted by

This one wasn’t in my original batch but I grabbed it from Esme when she wasn’t feelin it. Who doesn’t love a good heist? Uh… other than Esme… 

A relentless thief. An impossible heist.

Meet Kef Cutmark. Pirate, monster-slayer, scourge of the Twisted Seas.

After a lifetime of running from her past, she’s returned to Zorith – a tangled jungle of a thousand boats, all lashed together to make a floating city-ship. Zorith is powered by a device that draws energy from lightning. Mysterious, unique, and locked in an unbreachable tower, it’s the envy of Zorith’s rivals.

And Kef? She’s here to steal it.

If she can take the device and cripple Zorith, maybe she’ll find justice for all the hurt the city has caused her. But with an unreliable thieving crew, hunters closing in, and her past bearing down upon her, failure looks more likely. And if she fails, she’ll never find peace again.

This is the story of Kef, who is a woman who lives in a world where most of the cities are in fact fleets of ships. One of those ships, a city called Zorith, is powered by a giant tower which harnesses the power of lightning rather than using the oil that the rest of the world of ships relies on. Kef, for reasons of her own that I won’t spoil, has taken it upon herself to steal the secret inside of that tower, and cripple Zorith in the process.

The Thunder Heist has a steampunkish sort of vibe, which I enjoy a lot, but I didn’t really find myself cheering for Kef, or liking her much at all. The heist aspect of the book kept me reading to see how it would play out, but I found that I didn’t really care about Kef’s motivations for doing it. Kef is part of a crew of thieves, though this heist is a solo venture on her part, so while they are mentioned in passing, we don’t get to meet any of them. There are a few other secondary characters instead, like Gabine, who is the person who designed the lightning tower they are infiltrating, and Harold, who is a master alchemist, who help her plan her heist. They were interesting, but largely secondary, so we don’t get to learn too much about them.

This story takes place in a really fascinating world. It reminded me in many ways of Miéville’s The Scar, which isn’t a criticism, because The Scar is my favorite Miéville book. I do like the idea that in a world where there isn’t much land, humans would take to the seas in giant fleets of ships. There are mutated people in this world as well, ones with gills who are called ‘gillers’, and ‘wingers’ which… yep.  We don’t get to see many wingers, but gillers play a bigger part in this tale. A young giller named Squine is hired to help with the heist, and I thought he was interesting, but again, very secondary.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it as much as I was expecting to, unfortunately. It was well written and well paced, but since I didn’t really like the main character at all, I had a hard time staying interested. I did enjoy the payoff of the heist, and the world it takes place in, so I’d be interested in reading more adventures in this world, but with Kef’s crew involved to see what sorts of shenanigans they can get up to as a team. I had 6.75/10 stars of fun with The Thunder Heist. If a book that’s like Waterworld meets The Scar meets Ocean’s Eleven sounds interesting to you, then I think you may enjoy this story!