(The Scarab Beetle Series #1)
by C.L. Stone
Published: February 26, 2014
Kayli Winchester is a dirt-poor girl living out of a hotel, forced to be the parent for a drunken father and teenage brother who she’s desperate to keep in school. The only way she scrapes by is to utilize her one skill: pickpocketing. But even though she’s a thief she has a moral code: no kids or old ladies, only targets who can defend themselves. Not that they see her coming…
Thinking she’s been working under the radar, Kayli has no idea The Academy has been watching and taking notice. Now a team that needs her skill has offered her a way out of her predicament and it’s her last chance: work with them, or face jail time. Kayli resists at first, but slowly the boys reveal they can be trusted. With Marc, the straight man, Raven, the bad-boy Russian, Corey and Brandon the twins as different as night and day, and Axel their stoic leader, there’s a lot Kayli can learn from these Academy guys about living on the edge of the law. If only she can stay on the good side instead of the bad.
Especially when the job they offer her is more than any of them bargained for. After it’s done, the hunters have become the hunted and their target is now after Kayli. The Academy boys do their best to keep her hidden, but a thief like Kayli will never sit still for long.
Meet an all-new Academy team in Thief, the beginning of the Scarab Beetle series.
Warning: This is a new adult series. Readers of the other Academy series may need some caution as this series will contain mature sexual and violent situations and themes.
I missed reading espionage books so when I found this on Netgalley I immediately requested it and read it as soon as I was approved. If you saw my Goodreads rating you might think this was a bad read. It's not. It's not that I hated anything about it or disliked the story. It wasn't boring. In fact, I almost couldn't stop reading it, not mainly because it was that gripping or exciting but simply because I am enjoying it.
Thief definitely grabbed my attention with the way it started. It immediately introduced me to Kayli in action, pickpocketing people in the mall so she can pay her rent. I like her. Her way of life makes her full of guilt and afraid that someday the police would eventually get her. She has to drop school and steal from people so she can take care of her brother and at the same time questioning every decision she makes. She's always hunted by the thought that what she does is wrong no matter if she has a "moral code" in stealing, and promises herself that someday she would find a decent job so she can leave pickpocketing behind. But eventhough she's smart, being a drop-out is a big hindrance. And the fact that their father doesn't care about anything unless it's beer and women doesn't help. I love Kayli's relationship with her brother and the way they work together in order to survive.
When Kayli was later involved with the Academy guys I saw a different and more positive side of her. She got along easily with everyone and though sometimes it involves shoving and glares I can see that she really belongs to the group and I really like those moments. I, however, don't know what to think about her more-than-friends relationship with the guys. Yes. Guys. Plural. If it isn't for the fact that she really is just playful with them and is not looking for a relationship, I would have hated her a lot. I just wish she didn't give the boys something that told them, yes, I like you back. I was relieved that in the end she had the sense to stop whatever it is she's doing with regards to the growing interest of the boys in her and sort out her own feelings because "she has to choose one or no one".
The plot and the flow of the story was okay although I found inconsistencies with the way it was told. Like the fact that when Kayli hears something and she relays the information but more detailed than the exact conversation written in the book and I'm like.. "That's not what you heard.", it made me confused and unbelieving eventhough those were true information. The espionage stuff didn't really have a lot of impact in my opinion since it just left my thoughts jumbled and unsettled. It was kick-ass, sure, but most of my plus points I gave to knowing the characters and having a good time listening to their banters.
This is my first C.L. Stone book and it turned out okay. I didn't gather a lot about the Academy by reading this book but maybe if I read her other series which I believe happens inside the Academy, I might not be in the dark anymore.
*Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.