Title: The Water Thief
Author: Jane Kindred
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 281 Pages
At a Glance: If this review sounds a bit messed up… Well, that’s how The Water Thief made me feel after I finished reading it.
Reviewed By: Kim
Blurb: It takes a con to expose a con. But this con could strip their secrets bare.
Framed for his twin sister’s murder, Sebastian Swift has been kept drugged in a mental institution since age thirteen, aware of only one horrible fact every night in his dreams, he drowns.
After a freak storm frees him, Sebastian learns the truth. His guardian, Emrys, has been siphoning off his inherited magical power over the waters of Cantre’r Gwaelod one gruesome vial at a time. And the man’s bastard son, Macsen, has been raised in his place. Determined to find his twin’s killer, Sebastian assumes her identity.
Macsen Finch isn’t about to give up his guise as the young earl and not just because of the fortune. His cousins return from the dead threatens Macsen’s own efforts to undermine his father’s evil plan. Yet he can’t deny his inexplicable attraction to the imposter.
Acting on their mutual desire puts them both at the mercy of a madman’s wrath. To stop Emrys from stealing his power, Sebastian will have to learn how to use it and whom he can trust.
Warning: May contain copious exchange of fluids, men in corsets, and dirty dancing. Apply liberally before bedtime.
Review: For eight years Sebastian Swift has been locked up at All Fates Asylum for murdering his twin sister. The Water Thief begins with Sebastian waking up while being held down by two orderlies in a tub of cold water. After being dragged out of the tub by the same two orderlies, he is then hosed down with more cold water after he’s vomited and urinated on himself. He’s ordered to get dressed and is then led into his room, where he’s placed under lock and key. This seems to be par for the course at All Fates in how they deal with troublesome inmates. Especially with Sebastian, since he’s always breaking the rules and getting himself into trouble. But on this particular evening, there’s a storm brewing, and with that storm comes a mudslide that forces the collapse of the building that houses Sebastian. Through the rubble, he encounters the ghost of his sister, August, who leads him away from the Asylum and towards…safety?
It’s at this point that Sebastian stumbles across Sven, who takes Sly (aka Sebastian) under his wing at a place called Thievesward. Sebastian soon learns through Sven that not only is his Uncle Emrys doing quite well for himself since Sebastian’s incarceration, but so is the man’s bastard son, the Earl of Cantre’r Gwaelod. Sven then tells Sly he’ll take him in and teach him a few things—if he’s willing to do something in return.
Okay, this is where The Water Thief started to turn south on me. I really didn’t feel comfortable reading about how Sven had sex with Sebastian up along the side of an outhouse with spit as lube. I know that Sebastian is twenty-one and all, but he’d just escaped from an asylum, and here he has this skank of a man wanting to jump his bones in exchange for his continued safety. And Sebastian is okay with this because it doesn’t matter. After all, he’s no virgin after being taken willingly, or not, at All Fates. There was just something so eeeew about Sven, and I was sad for Sebastian.
It was made worse, though, as I found out more about Sven, which made him even skankier. Then later on in the story, through Macsen, Sebastian/August finds out that for years he’s been harvested for the magic he didn’t even know he had, a method that’s involved filling his lungs with water. Sebastian’s magic enables him to control water and to open up portals to higher realms or dimensions, as I’d like to call them. It’s why his Uncle Emrys has had him locked up in an asylum—to steal this magic and use it to control the people of the land.
What happens in The Water Thief is quite complicated, and some of the situations were just too much for me to follow. Although I did my best to not give up on this one, I did do lot of head shaking at some of the situations that came up while reading this novel. Let’s also add to it that the head hopping between Macsen and Sebastian didn’t help with the flow of the story.
I’m sorry to say that The Water Thief wasn’t my cup of tea, and if this review sounds a bit messed up… Well, that’s how The Water Thief made me feel after I finished reading it. Out of the whole of the story, I came to like Macsen’s character because he, like Sebastian, was a victim of all his father’s plotting, and he worked hard to make things right. Macsen and Sebastian’s characterizations were the only ones that made any sense, while the secondary characters were all over the place.
You can buy The Water Thief here: