“Fire & Heist” by Sarah Beth Durst is a wonderful young adult fantasy. Long-time fans of this author will not be surprised that it’s engaging and boasts a fabulous plot. While she has included a lot in the story — there is some “Ocean’s Eleven” mixed up with a bit of “Wrinkle in Time” and every book with a wonderfully evil villain (think Michael Grant’s newest book, appropriately titled “Villain”) — it just boils down to a book that ends up being a quick read because the action simply doesn’t stop.
When, in the middle of the book before the heist actually begins, the reader is tempted to sneak a peak at the ending to see what happens, you know this is a book that doesn’t disappoint. There are fabulous characters, wonderful friends, loyal brothers, humor, parents who aren’t perfect (including one who is positively diabolical), and even a unicorn.
Sky Hawkins and her family are wyverns, although she prefers the term were-dragons. They are human but can breathe fire. They lost the ability to actually turn into dragons centuries ago. Sky isn’t great at breathing fire, but she is determined to find out what went wrong when her mother went out on a heist and never came home. Wyverns adore gold; in fact, they value it so much that they steal it whenever possible.
Sky’s father and her three older brothers refuse to talk about her mother and what happened. Her family is in disgrace from something about her mother’s failure, but Sky doesn’t know quite what that would be. They have been shunned by the other wyverns, but Sky’s former boyfriend, Ryan, tells Sky what she needs to know to start her investigation.
And Sky is brilliant. But by the end, she realizes that she can’t do everything alone. And everyone, family and friends and even a human join together to right a wrong that urgently needs correcting.
Enjoy reading this fine novel, and if this is your first Sarah Beth Durst book, go back and read some of her others. You’ll enjoy them just as much. While it’s a young adult book, there is nothing in the story that would preclude a middle grade reader from enjoying it as well.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Crown Books, for review purposes.