[REVIEW] City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson


Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA

 Series: None

 Rating: 3 STARS


 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

 In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

 With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

 My Thoughts:

“If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.”


 Okay, this first paragraph might seem like I’m talking gibberish, but can I just say, this was nothing like Gone Girl. When you have the words “Gone Girl” on the cover, I expect a psychological thriller. But this was more of a murder mystery than a thriller. Sure, the book jacket also mentioned The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I haven’t read yet, so I have no idea if that was an accurate comparison or a name drop as well), but it greatly annoys me that a domestic/psychological thriller that’s not even within the YA category was in anyway compared to this book. There was literally nothing in common. Nothing! This is more of a forewarning to fans of Gone Girl. And to publishers who keep incorrectly dropping names so people will read their work.


 But on to the actual book. We get to meet Tina, whose mother died a while ago under Greyhill’s hands, wants to help her sister, and is involved with a dangerous gang that wants to assist her in taking Greyhill down and exposing him for maybe murdering her mom. I thought she was an awesome character, mainly because she’s a thief, and I love heists and robbers and cheering for anti-heroes, as I’m sure you guys might know, so Tina was, of course, my type of girl. We also get to meet Boyboy, a hacker and Tina’s best friend who reminded me so much like Job from one of my favorite TV shows, Banshee (which you should totally watch if you like action and cute badasses as main characters, but that’s not the point of this review), and Michael, the classic love interest that I didn’t care too much about because blah blah blah, he’s loved her since they were little, blah blah blah, I’ve heard this story at least ten billion times before, blah blah blah, this romance is literally not necessary; I came here to see Tina AVENGE HER MOTHER’S DEATH DAMN IT. But, of course, it’s all personal opinion.


 I thought the pacing of this book and the plot tied together. There were some parts of this book that were totally banging and made me read faster and faster…and then there were some parts of the book that just fell flat and made me bored and were sort of slump-inducing. The pacing was a bit all over the place, and I guess that’s because the story would sometimes reveal new information and action sequences and cliffhangers, which was super exciting, but then we have those moments where we’re sitting around and getting a little bit of exposition or attempting to move the plot forward in the form of story-telling, which, unfortunately, failed keep me entertained. But, fear not those who love plot twists in their thrillers, there are many abound in this novel!


 Despite my issues with the pacing, I actually really enjoyed the ending. I found the “big battle” really tense and exciting, and the big finish was totally worth it. I also thought that the ending was personally convincing concerning Kiki and the romance between Tina and Daniel. And for those who are worried about the romance over-powering the action and Tina’s mission, it doesn’t, which I found to be a definite positive, besides the fact that I considered it to be realistic and well-developed. I still didn’t think it was necessary, but I feel like at this point, I’ve got to start accepting it.

 Overall, I thought it was an okay murder mystery with pacing that felt like it was all over the place, but this book will definitely work depending on the person and their preferences.


Have you read this book yet? And if this becomes a movie, would you watch it (I saw that it was optioned for film, which has now convinced me that EVERY BOOK is going to be turned into a movie, my God)?

17 thoughts on “[REVIEW] City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

  1. I’ve never read this book before, but I totally agree on publishers labeling a book with another book just to make it gain popularity. (I also am a strong believer that publishers shouldn’t do that because it is YOUR book and it is not “Divergent meets Hunger Games”.) And this is sort of unrelated, but OMG IT IS SO ANNOYING HOW EVERY BOOK IS BEING MADE INTO A MOVIE NOW. I MEAN, COME ON. THEY’RE BOOKS FOR A REASON??? Not to mention that the movie industry ALWAYS ruins the books. -_-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, it’s been going on for so long; it drives me nuts! At this point, I just ignore it and add it to my reading list if I like the synopsis. 😝 And YES TOO MANY ADAPTATIONS. It seems like literally every book has been optioned to become a movie, and it drives me nuts. I barely watch adaptations anyways, so I’ll probably only watch a couple. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YAY! Glad you liked it, I personally haven’t read this book yet, although It is on my TBR list, and I totally agree with you about the Gone Girl blurb, it’s false advertising and somebody need stop it! This post was AMAZING, keep up that good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you enjoy it whenever you get the chance to read it! And, yeah, lol, I’m confused as to why they used Gone Girl since they’re not even targeted towards the same age range, but whatever. And, aw, thank you! 😀


  3. Haha I’ve never read Gone Girl but it’s so annoying when books set you up for certain expectations because of name-dropping other popular titles.. And then they don’t meet those expectations?? But also name dropping in general can be annoying haha. But aside from that, I mean, this book seems okay? I guess haha, I’m glad there were still some merits despite its faults 🙃 I might check it out sometime, possibly! Lovely review. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, exactly! I think it’s more of a marketing thing, but at the same time, I can’t tell you how many books have been called “like The Hunger Games” and aren’t in any aspect whatsoever. 😂 Ha, it was; that’s what 3 stars are for me! I don’t know if they’re negative or positive, just meh. If you do, I hope you like it! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great review for this book Mikaela. I haven’t read this one myself but I have it on my Kindle ready to go and now I feel like I have a better idea of what to expect from it as well. It sounds like an interesting book, it’s certainly out of my comfort zone from my normal go-to genre (fantasy) but I can’t wait to get started. I haven’t read Gone Girl so maybe going in without that comparison will help but I do love plot twists so I can’t wait to see where this book takes me.
    It’s a shame the pacing wasn’t great but at least the ending made up for that in a way as well! 🙂 Again great review, I can’t wait to get started on this myself now! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you! ❤ Ooh, thriller is one of my favorite genres! I love fantasy as well, but I haven’t read one in so long, it feels like, and I sort of miss it! And, yeah, the ending definitely made up for it! I hope you enjoy it whenever you get the chance to read it! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all right! 😀 ❤ I haven't read many thriller books but they sound amazing and I guess I do need to branch out into some more genres so it's something I need to pick up. I hope I end up enjoying this one too, at least I know the ending is something to look forwards to! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. awk, that’s disappointing it’s all over the place. 😦 I just ordered it so I DO have kind of high hopes because I loooove heists, so I hope I do enjoy it!! But I’ll keep my expectations low in case I get disappointed.😂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t read a lot of murder mysteries, but I’ve seen this one around. I did like Gone Girl so I’m glad that you mentioned it’s NOT similar. I’d be pretty disappointed haha. But, to be honest, that baby duck gif was so distracting because of the level of CUTENESS.

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t read a lot of murder mysteries either! I prefer psychological thrillers over murder mysteries/police procedural steps, personally! And glad to help! 😄 AND IT IS CUTE ISNT IT? I just knew I had to add it because it’s so adorable! ❤


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