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Thief Eyes

Thief Eyes

4.1 11
by Janni Lee Simner

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The latest YA fantasy book from Bones of Faerie author Janni Lee Simner!

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints


The latest YA fantasy book from Bones of Faerie author Janni Lee Simner!

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.

When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

Janni Lee Simner brings the fierce romance and violent passions of Iceland's medieval sagas into this twenty-first-century novel, with spellbinding results.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
When 16-year-old Haley accompanies her geologist father to Iceland, she's determined to discover exactly what happened the previous year when her mother disappeared. She finds that out, as well as discovering that she, too, is in danger from a centuries-old magical spell. Simner's second book, a fantasy set in modern times but rooted in ancient Icelandic sagas, has great reader appeal. The plot is compelling-a page-turner that catapults Haley and Ari, an attractive Icelandic berserker, from crisis to crisis. The main characters and the animals-natural and mythological-are engaging but may not satisfy those looking for a fully developed cast. The climax is a humdinger, and while the resolution is bittersweet, it makes sense and is consistent with the magical rules of the book. There's some innocent romance to pique reader interest, while dark magic will attract readers who enjoy touches of Norse mythology in their fantasy reading. Liberties taken with Norse mythology are explained in the text and author's note. Light, romantic fiction with an engaging fantasy punch. (Fantasy. 12-15)
Publishers Weekly
Adopting figures from Icelandic sagas, Simner (Bones of Faerie) creates a captivating modern odyssey. A year after 16-year-old Haley's mother disappeared in Iceland, Haley, determined to find her, has persuaded her father to take her there. After Haley discovers an unusual coin, her father's co-worker Katrin, a distant relative of her mother, tells Haley that her mother was caught in an enchantment cast by one of their ancestors to escape an arranged marriage. Along with Katrin's son, Ari, Haley is swept away on a perilous journey to uncover her own role in the legends. Incorporating references to Star Wars and Norse myth alike, Simner is poetic whether writing about magic and sorcery or simply getting inside her characters' heads (“I think I am not quite used to being human again,” says Ari, after being turned from a polar bear back into a teenage boy. “I did not know it was possible to forget such a thing”). An endnote includes information about the sagas Simner studied while writing this story—the well-crafted result may encourage readers to do the same. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Sixteen-year-old Haley has traveled to Iceland with her geologist father to see where her mother disappeared a year before. Hoping to retrace her mother's steps in order to find her, she is drawn into the magical legend and life of her Nordic ancestors, beginning with Hallgerd, a young woman skilled in sorcery who was determined not to be forced into a loveless marriage. The repercussions of Hallgerd's actions affect all of her female descendants from her own daughter to Haley. Simner has done her homework. This appealing novel centers around and embellishes Icelandic legend—specifically Njal's Saga. Simner takes the old stories and brings them into the 21st century in this cyclical novel about the powerful relationship between mothers and daughters. It would be great to pair it with Jonathan Stroud's Heroes of the Valley (Hyperion, 2009) for an examination of Norse mythology.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1    

Icy rain blew into my hood and dripped down my neck as I knelt on the mossy stones. The sky was gray, layers of cloud hiding any hint of sun. The wind picked up, and I shivered, missing the hot desert skies of home. It was way too cold for a June day.  

Not that Dad noticed. He grinned as he traced a crack running through the rocks. "Amazing, isn't it? You can almost feel the earth pulling apart."  

"Yeah. Sure." I looked down into the small fissure and saw nothing but endless dark. I shifted my soggy backpack on my shoulders and rubbed my eyes, gritty from a night spent flying across the Atlantic. I'd never been much good at sleeping on planes. Yeah, Dad, I followed you four thousand miles to Iceland so we could stare at holes in the ground.  

I got up, stretching stiff legs. Beyond a metal fence, the cliff where we stood dropped down to a grassy plain. A gray river braided its way through bright green grasses, and a few wet geese hunkered down by its shores. The geese looked cold, too. Probably they were thinking the same thing I was: the sooner they could get somewhere warm, the better.  

"So this is where it happened?" I tried to sound casual, like I didn't much care.  

Dad looked up. His dark eyes were shot with red—he wasn't good at sleeping on planes, either—and his hair stuck out from beneath his windbreaker, dripping water. "You mean the rifting? It's happening throughout this valley. The North American and European tectonic plates meet here, and they're forever pulling away from each other. Only the pulling doesn't all happen in any one place, so—"  

"That's not what I mean." I fought not to let my frustration show. You know that's not what I mean.  

Dad sighed. "No, Haley, this isn't where it happened." His sleep-deprived eyes took on the lost look I'd come to know way too well this past year. The look that made me decide Dad didn't need to know if I'd blown another test at school, or fallen asleep in class because nightmares had woken me in the middle of the night again, or was tired of peanut butter and jelly for dinner but just as tired of cooking if I wanted anything else.  

I'd come four thousand miles. This was more important than a few bad dreams or missed meals. "Where, then?"  

A couple brushed past us, clutching the hands of the toddler who walked between them. Dad looked at the cracked earth. "Logberg. Law Rock."  

"Where's that?" Rain soaked through my running shoes, turning my socks clammy and cold. Back home, we canceled track meets for weather like this—but I was the one who'd asked Dad to bring me here. He'd wanted to stay at the guesthouse and catch up on his jet-lagged sleep.  

Dad sighed again. "You're not going to let this go, are you?"  

Let this go? I dug my nails into my cold, damp palms. No need for Dad to hear me screaming, either. When your mother disappears without a trace, you don't just let it go. "I want to see. Is that so much to ask?" I kept my voice calm, reasonable—the same voice I'd used to convince Dad to take me to Thingvellir today, because I really wanted to visit the national park that was the site of Iceland's ancient parliament and in the middle of a rift valley and, oh, yeah, just happened to be the place where my mother disappeared last summer.  

"Fine, Haley." Dad got to his feet, and I knew for once I'd won. I followed him away from the lookout, my running shoes squishing on the wet gravel path. Dripping tendrils escaped my blond ponytail and clung damply to my cheeks. I slowed to match Dad's pace. I'd grown taller than him this past year, which still seemed strange.  

The path cut down through a cleft between blocky stone walls that formed a perfect wind tunnel. Goose bumps prickled beneath my damp sleeves. Dad looked up at the rocks. "You can almost see how they must have fit together once, can't you? Before the rifting tugged them apart."  

What I saw was my father hiding behind another geology lecture. Maybe Dad couldn't help it. Maybe when you spent your whole life studying rocks and earthquakes, you forgot how to talk to people.  

Meet the Author

Janni Lee Simner first became fascinated with the Icelandic sagas—and with the woman whose uncle said she had the eyes of a thief—during a visit to Iceland. Standing in the rift valley of Thingvellir with a battered copy of Njal's Saga in her backpack, she realized the characters she was reading about had walked the same ground. As the wind blew around her, she sat down and wrote the opening scene of Thief Eyes.

Janni lives more than four thousand miles from Iceland in Tucson, Arizona, where the hot, dry desert weather is about as unlike Iceland as one can get and still be on the same planet. She's also the author of four books for younger readers and more than thirty short stories. Janni is currently working on the sequel to her first young adult novel, Bones of Faerie.

To learn more about Janni, visit her Web site at www.simner.com.

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Thief Eyes 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Emmilee More than 1 year ago
In Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner, Haley ventures from Texas to Iceland in hopes of uncovering the mysterious circumstances in which her mother disappeared. After uncovering hurtful secrets, Haley and her new Icelandic friend, Ari, go in search of a way to break the aincent spell her ancestor placed on the women in her family. While facing a memory-stealing raven and plotting relatives, Haley and Ari's love flourishes as they are repeatedly placed in danger. This book is well written and it pulls you in from the very begining. If you like this book, you'll love Janni Lee Simner's first book; Bones of Faerie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Its so magical and romantic. Its perfect
alexbananas28 More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what genre this book runs in (sci-fi, magic, etc.) but it seemed too unrealistic. It was a good read when i didn't feel like reading books from a series. Something to read so I have something to do. I enjoyed it, but I felt that the author should have added more realistic situations.
TannerSullie More than 1 year ago
I've read this book, bones of Faerie and Faerie winter and cant help but love the out look you have on magic, ive looked and looked for books similar to yours but I can't find one that has that perfect description, that idea of magic is there but its not all about fairies its adventurous its a struggle I've recommened this book to as many people as I know are interested in this kindof book and no one has said a bad thing yet except that we all wish there were mooore books like yours or more books of yours!! Thank you for being a great writer
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A_Good_Addiction More than 1 year ago
A magnificently weaved tale of magic and lore, Thief Eyes spins a new twist on sorcery. Pulling in several elements in unexpected ways, Simner has created a piece that is both refreshing and engaging. Set in Iceland and heavy on the culture and land, there are numerous unique aspects of this book. Starting with a prologue that will capture the reader's attention and spark many questions, the book spends only a small amount of time settling in before the action picks up and the plot really begins. Though she came to Iceland to try finding her mother who disappeared a year earlier on a visit with her father, Haley ends up learning far more about her mother's disappearance and her family tree than she ever imagined possible. Throughout, the reader learns each new element at the same pace Haley does with little clues in advance to give insight. Haley's character is one that can easily be understood and though the story picks up before the reader can really come to know her, the basic facets of her personality come out with each new event and obstacle she faces. This brings in a distinctive feature of the book, as the reader actually meets Haley in times of stress and completely foreign situations rather than seeing a shift between how she acts in a comfortable setting before being thrust into something new. The overall result is a strong heroine who isn't afraid to show fear and is full of doubts yet still finds reasons to push forward. She is a character who doesn't roll over but is also not overly confident. Ari is developed in the same fashion, allowing the reader to learn about him under the same taxing circumstances as Haley. Though he does hold some of the same traits, this is borne out of their common situation rather than lack of insight from the author. They find strength in each other and keep the other going, forming a strong bond and companionship that could only be forged under the circumstances. Had they spent more time together prior to being thrust into this world of magic and confusion, the final outcome of their relationship could very well have been different. The plot is well developed and thought out and though the pace is start and stop there are plenty of curveballs thrown. Romance is mixed in, cropping up at unexpected moments and providing some relief in the midst of the rough situations. Simple in nature once exposed, Simner's writing keeps much of the secrets hidden until revealing at perfect times to surprise the reader as well as keep the pages turning. With vivid descriptions and a highly imaginative world intermixed with modern Icelandic geography and culture, Simner has built a piece that will stand out and is a must read.
slurpingnoodles More than 1 year ago
This book has been the worst book i have read. it never caught me and it took me forever to read this book because it was wwwwaaayyyyy to boring. DO NOT READ MOST BORING BOOK EVER I WAS BORED OUT OF MY MIND *a book that i reccomend is the HUNGER GAMES (must read!!!)