After a lifetime of running from her past, she’s returned to Zorith – a tangled jungle of a thousand boats, all lashed together to make a floating city-ship. Zorith is powered by a device that draws energy from lightning. Mysterious, unique, and locked in an unbreachable tower, it’s the envy of Zorith’s rivals.
And Kef? She’s here to steal it.
If she can take the device and cripple Zorith, maybe she’ll find justice for all the hurt the city has caused her. But with an unreliable thieving crew, hunters closing in, and her past bearing down upon her, failure looks more likely. And if she fails, she’ll never find peace again.
The Thunder Heist is a high-octane adventure that starts off full throttle and doesn’t let up. As the title might suggest, this is a heist story, and one with a unique target: a lightning tower in the heart of a floating city. There are plenty of twists along the way to keep things interesting and the plot moves along at a good clip making for a fun, fast read.
The world building reminded me a bit of Waterworld(but in a good way, I know it’s not the best movie so don’t think this is a comment on the quality of the novel). Everything takes place at sea, aboard a flotilla of ships that functions as a city. There are mutants too, gillers in particular sparked the association. But Herne has taken things in his own direction. There is a modern day feel to the tech and society, and the heavies are rich fascists instead of mad-max wastelanders.
It took me a bit to warm up to the main character. Kef starts out as hyper competent, tough as nails, and pound-for-pound a match for any UFC champ. She was so bad ass she felt a little unrealistic at first. This is partly just a genre trait. After all, this stories is very cinematic, almost like an action movie. Herne did a good job of winning me over by layering in backstory over the course of the novel, but it did take a sec. The backstory made me look forward to her further adventures with her regular crew. There was one moment that Kef contemplated doing something very violent that felt like a bit of a stretch, but she recoiled at the last minute and it ended up not being too big of a deal. The rest of the crew are less fleshed out but served their purposes well. Likewise, I ended up warming up to them, too, as the story progressed.
This is a well-paced book that pulls off the heist (trope). You don’t get many heist tales in the fantasy genre, and I'm a big fan of the Gentlemen Bastards, so I was glad to get the chance to read this one. If you are looking for a novel that’s quick and fun, with an unusual setting and sassy thieves, you’re in luck!