Utterly charming, captivating and cuthroat

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"It's teatime scoundrels."

This is the first novel I've read by the author, and I had been looking forward to this one in particular. Mostly because it combines some of my favorite things: fantasy, heists, and TEA.

It's pretty easy paced, and for me, the book flew by quickly. I felt like we didn't wait long to dive into the thick of things. We got to know the characters fairly quickly, I loved the 3 POV and seeing what was going on behind Arthie, Jin, and Flick's eyes. I grew to love all 3 characters and their quirks.

"Imagine falling in love with someone and learning they made tea the color of bone."

I loved the teahouse. What a wondrous place. I won't give away its secrets, but I honestly wanted more time there. I wanted more maneuvering and dealings. We start out with some lovely descriptions of tea and the secrets of the shop. It's such a cool setting with a lot of meaning.

"Hello criminal."
"Teach me, saint."

The tension between characters was palpable. One might even say you could taste it. However, sometimes, I felt we jumped forward rather quickly. How did we get there so soon? I'm not complaining, I actually loved the matchings. However, as with the writing, I sometimes felt the author was a couple steps ahead and hadn't yet caught us up, if that makes sense? I'd read a sentence and flip back thing I had missed something? But it hadn't actually been shared yet, or we we were left to draw conclusions.

"There was a chance he might die, but there was the utmost certainty that he would do so in style."

There was absolutely style, panache, and flair. There is so much life in these characters and a vibrant storyline. I'm definitely "in" and want to read the next book. I just want a bit more from them in the next book.

I love the representation and colonialism commentary. Arthie's gritty, enigmatic main characters energy is powerful and I know she has more tricks up her sleeve. I loved Jin and his struggles with his past while covering with charm and steel. Loved seeing Flick evolving and growing before our eyes. I felt Laith and Matteo are still enigmas, and I don't know them well...yet.

I look forward to the next installment!