Cover Story: Mind Prison
Now, I like skulls. But this one’s getting a little creepy, even for me. Do we want to know what that smoky key opens? Especially since it seems to be locked up in addition to locking something else?
Also, I think I watched too much Sherlock, as I keep seeing a violin where there isn’t one here.
Cayder Broduck wants nothing more than to become a prosecutor who tries dangerous criminals who use edem (magic) for nefarious purposes. He’s had this life goal in mind since his mother’s death at the hands of such a criminal, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make it come to fruition, even if that means lying to his father—a famous criminal judge. He’s supposed to be working his summer internship at the city library, but instead, he’s working for an old family friend, someone who defends edem users in their trials. Cayder sees the apprenticeship as a means to an end, but when his sister is arrested, he begins to see that justice isn’t just about putting any and all edem users in prison; there are a lot of nuances to each case that need to be addressed.
BFF Charm: Roger Murtaugh
Although we get to hang out with Cayder the most, there are a few other POVs in this book. But all of them had me questioning their motives and antics frequently. And even though they were all over the age of 16, they seemed way younger—and therefore, less mature and more naive. I couldn’t see myself being friends with any of them, sadly.
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Cayder perhaps didn’t expect to find romance in prison, but one of the people he finds himself working for makes him feel a certain way. There’s no real chemistry between the two, however, and the idea of them getting together felt like a way to get to a later plot point rather than a necessary (or fun) inclusion.
Talky Talk: Not MG, But …
League of Liars had promise—especially with the comps to Six of Crows. Unfortunately, I perhaps should not have put so much stock into those comps, as it fell quite flat in comparison. Mostly just for the fact that the found family dynamics and actual heist themes weren’t present, or weren’t present until the very end—an end that left a lot to be desired, but more on that in a bit.
I typically like Scholte’s world-building, but there was a lack of detail to League of Liars—in addition to the characters themselves feeling way younger than their actual ages—that had the book leaning much farther into MG territory than I expected. Of course, MG books are wonderful and valid, but this one’s not being marketed as such. I wanted more—more detail, heightened action, better chemistry, deeper connections.
Factor: Series Starter?
I cannot find anything that says this isn’t a standalone, but I really hope that there’s another book coming. The ending leaves a lot to be desired and sets the scene for more to come. If that’s all there is, it’s a shame (and a frustrating one at that).
Relationship Status: We’ll See
I had high hopes for our date, Book, but that’s what I get for putting too much weight on an Internet profile. I’d be willing to get together again if only to hear the rest of your story, but I don’t see this being a long-term thing. I’m just a completionist and don’t like to be left hanging.
For a better example of Scholte’s world-building, check out this more-dystopian title.
Akwaeke Emezi’s book also deals with monsters and secrets.
And if you’re itching for a proper heist tale, you know where to turn.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. League of Liars is available now.