In Sky Hawkins's family, leading your first heist is a major milestone--even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It's a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you're a wyvern--a human capable of turning into a dragon.
Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family's wealth and rank in their community.
With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society--a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Atomic number 79.
Dictionary definition: “a yellow malleable ductile metallic element.”
You could say my family is obsessed with it. For my mother’s fortieth birthday, my father commissioned a grand piano with 24-karat gold keys. The entire piano is covered in gold leaf and is the tackiest instrument ever played. He tried to smash it with a hammer after she disappeared, but my oldest brother talked him out of it. So he satisfied himself with sealing the double doors of the music room shut.
All of which only partially explains why I was stuck on the chandelier in the foyer, dangling upside down and hoping that the chain holding the chandelier wouldn’t break.
I’d planned to spend this Saturday night out, with the goal of healing my shattered heart. You see, according to our family stories, back in the Dark Ages when we both hunted and were hunted, our ancestors used to console themselves after being thwarted in love by gorging on elk carcasses, telling stirring tales of heroic exploits, and burning all their ex-lovers’ belongings--and occasionally the ex-lover himself. So I’d decided that I’d go back to my roots by eating buttery popcorn, watching an action movie with no romance whatsoever, and then burning old mementos of my ex-boyfriend Ryan on the barbecue grill.
Bringing Gabriela (a non-wyvern who sits next to me in Modern Wyvern History class) so I wouldn’t be alone--my old friends ditched me when Ryan did--I’d bought my ticket and a tub of popcorn, but I couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t. I’d fled the theater, abandoning Gabriela and the popcorn but taking my mementos--a Valentine’s Day card that played the chicken dance, a strip of photos from a carnival photo booth taken on Santa Monica Pier during a trip to the California Stronghold, and the perfect replica (in miniature) of a talon, cast in gold, on a matching gold chain that Ryan gave me for my birthday only a few weeks before he decided to end years of friendship and several months of enthusiastic kissing. I wore the necklace home, tucked under my shirt, over my stupidly sentimental heart.
I was looking forward to moping in an empty house--you know, sighing loudly, singing off-key to depressing music, and wearing pajamas inside out because you’re too sad to reverse them--without any commentary from any of my brothers. All of them have zero tolerance for a proper sulk, and they’re impossible to avoid, even though our house is enormous, with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. (Don’t ask me why so many bathrooms. My brother Liam, one of the twins, claims one of our grandfathers was enamored with the idea of indoor plumbing--apparently they didn’t have it back Home and he was a recent exile. Liam said our illustrious grandfather had even purchased gold bathroom fixtures, then immediately panicked about thieves and hid them. So underneath the floorboards in one of the six bedrooms, there’s supposedly a stash of solid-gold toilet handles. I looked for them one summer but no luck. It’s possible Liam was lying. He likes to mess with me.)
Anyway, I came home, let myself in, kicked off my shoes, reset the locks and perimeter alarms, and then raided the refrigerator for leftover Chinese food. Taking a container of lo mein, I was walking up the back staircase to my bedroom when I heard the faint tinkle of breaking glass from the front of the house.
Midstep, I froze.
I ran through the possibilities: someone dropped a glass (impossible, since no one was home), a knickknack was precariously perched and fell on its own (possible, since we have a lot of knickknacks), or a thief was breaking in (unlikely, since the alarms hadn’t sounded). I was certain it was the middle option, but we’ve been raised to be paranoid, so I clutched my lo mein and raced the rest of the way upstairs to the security room.
My feet were silent on the plush carpet. Stopping in front of the door, I pressed my finger on the ID pad. It didn’t unlock. I tried another finger. Still no click of recognition. Beginning to worry, I tried the doorknob, and the door swung open easily.
Inside, all the security TVs showed static.
The lo mein slipped from my fingers. It hit the floor, and the noodles scattered across the carpet. Lunging forward, I slapped the master alarm.
No red light. No siren.
I picked up the phone. Also silence. And there weren’t any cell phones in the house. We don’t use them. They’re too easy to hack and track.
I knew exactly what I was supposed to do: get to the safe room, triple-lock the door, and stay there until Dad came home and I heard the all clear. We’d drilled this dozens of times. Over the years, my brothers and I had stashed all our favorite snacks and games in the safe room to entertain us during the longer drills. But this wasn’t a drill, and my brothers weren’t home. So I did something stupid. Standing in the security room, noodles around my feet, static on the screens . . . I lost my temper.
My name is Sky Hawkins. You may have seen my family name in the newspapers or on TV. Wyverns, distantly related to King Atahualpa (who saved the Inca Empire), Sir Francis Drake (a pirate who was knighted by the queen of England), and that guy who started the California Gold Rush and also the guy who stopped it. Billionaires who lost half our fortune in an investment scam. Socialites whose mother went missing in the midst of the scandal. And me, the youngest, the debutante, whose boyfriend publicly dumped her in the wake of the mess, during the last Wyvern Reckoning. It’s been a rotten month, and I did not want to add “estate robbed” to the list of things that went wrong.
Excerpted from "Fire and Heist"
Copyright © 2018 Sarah Beth Durst.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The story is told from Sky's point of view - the youngest and only daughter of a wealthy and powerful Wyvern family living in Colorado. Her family is cast out of the high society into an almost exiled condition after her mother failed at a heist and then disappears completely. Her entire world is rocked, and she is determined to find out the truth behind what happened to her mother and why her family was not being completely honest with her. The self empowerment that Sky grabs onto in the novel is one of the most heartwarming aspects of the story for me. I find there are too many stories that still alow the princess to be saved, and that is entirely unacceptable in 2018. Sky is her own hero, taking the lies that everyone else spins and finding the truth for herself. Of course, she has some help along the way -- but she is the ring leader, the organizer, and the heart of the story. Another topic Durst tackled was family and friendship - what defines real friends, and what family means to different people. At the very core of the story is a girl that wants her mom back; a girl who needs a friend; and a family broken by tragedy. All of these sub plots entwine to create relationships that are not only healthy, but loving, supportive and unconditional. Every time I thought she was about to give up, her love for her family -or her new found friends- kept her going. Sky's resilience and her desire to treat everyone fairly really resonated with me. It's a value I hold very close to my own heart, making this story uniquely special to me. Aside from the phenomenal characters, Durst's writing is easy to follow, clean and fluid. There are no awkward passages, short and pointless chapters, or horridly over used cliches laced through the book. The novel is clearly intended for a younger audience and is written as such, however it is easily enjoyable for readers of all levels. There are darker themes underlying in the book that young adults and adult readers will pick up on and enjoy. I devoured the book in a matter of 4 sittings - and only because work and sleep interrupted. In the were-dragon world, Durst has created a world that is so vivid, you could almost reach out and touch it. Her portrayal of the Wyverns as celebrity type creatures made it all the more believable, as we all know real shape shifting dragons would be all the rage! The symbolism used to correlate self worth with a dragon's horde was not lost on me either. I really enjoyed the way Durst played on our societal norms while creating her own world with it's own sinister problems. I would say this story is definitely a coming of age, self empowerment book. If you enjoy fierce females, family bonds and forming unbreakable friendships - this book is for you!
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review. I flew through this book in one sitting. Sky had me hooked from the get go. She shares a lot of similarities to Pearl, the main character of Durst's novel Drink, Slay, Love. I just loved how she is easy to connect and is legit funny. Durst does a great job all around with nailing quick humor in, even during tense situations. That is never an easy thing to do. I'd find myself tense one moment waiting for the next moment, but laughing at a quick quip. The story is mostly fast paced and fun, with my biggest issue coming from around the halfway point after Sky's first heist. The pacing slows down a little and I found myself getting a little bored even though much of what was going is relevant to the story. Durst also does the relationships between characters really well. You can truly feel the connections between Sky and everyone around her. Finally, the whole idea of Wyverns/were-dragons is so damn fun in this novel, and I now want more of this in my life. If you liked Drink, Slay, Love, well I can't recommend Fire & Heist enough. It's a great one off story that is perfect for a single sitting. It provides great banter, relationships, and action. It also has a nice message to wrap it all up. I give Fire & Heist a 4.25 out of 5, and I wouldn't mind more of Sky to return in the future. I also purchased the book in physical form to keep on my shelf.
Humans that turn into dragons? Heists? Why wouldn't you want to read this? I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Sky's family and friends are the most important things in her life - along with kissing and ice cream. Her priorities are straight, and her humorous voice makes this such a fun read. The world-building is amusing - in the wyvern culture, leading your first heist is cause for celebration. As dragons, stealing and hoarding gold is encouraged, so in Sky's world, her situation is pretty much a coming-of-age story. The family dynamics make up a good portion of this story - a family mourning their mother gone missing, an overprotective father, and brothers who clearly care about Sky, but show it in awkward, yet heartfelt ways. Most of the supporting characters are well-drawn, and Sky's human friend, Gabriela, is like an adorable puppy you want to hug. Fire and Heist is more of a fluffy read, but with an Ocean's Eleven-like heist, a lovable family, and a charming and determined MC, it's light and enjoyable. Also, dragons! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
What drew me to this book was – dragons and heist, and it executes the concept in a satisfactory enough manner. The story is set in an alternate reality of the world where the existence of were-dragons, excuse me, wyverns, has been common knowledge from the 16th century, and modern wyverns are just affluent people who can breathe fire. The other part of their heritage they retained from their original world (the wyverns in the human world are descendants of exiles) is accumulating hoards of gold – which in the context of the book means gilding everything in vaults and also gathering wealth in the more modern investment sense, too; and being good at stealing. But they are also a close knit society, and when Sky’s family loses their status when her mother fails a heist and disappears, she determines that the best way to restore family honor and find her mother is by completing the failed heist and using the bounty as leverage. Fire and Heist presents a mostly expected structure of society when it comes to paranormal entities living in the human world. Sky doesn’t interact much with humans, but after her family loses its status and is being actively shunned, she finds a new friend in the human Gabriella. Her family (dad, and three older brothers) don’t want to help her so she recruits others to get the job done. That is what I liked about Sky, by the way – the girl is determined and doesn’t give up. She goes in half-cocked in some circumstances, though, and that is understandable given her age, but she does manage to finish the job in the end. The mood of the novel is more or less light, with emphasis on it being entertaining than being realistic. When it came to world-building, the book had much of generalized lore to rely on for the human world, but I wish we got more information for Home. The dragon society there seems draconian (pun intended) and presents a side of meritocracy that is ableist at its core. Also I wished they had better security, what with all the technologically advanced world they live in (how did they not know what cameras were?!) – it would have made for a second, more complicated, heist for Sky to undergo and raised the stakes for her mission. As it is, it is exciting and fast-paced enough for a standalone story, but I would have liked it better if it did not just have one heist that was much simplified due to insider help. Verdict – good paranormal fantasy, but the second world felt like it lacked development