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|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||12 Years|
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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.
Actual rating: 2.5 Stars Fire & Heist is a light YA fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The key to enjoying this book is to know that going into it. I really felt like it was a YA contemporary novel masquerading as a fantasy. Because the book is so short I never really got to a point where I felt anything for the characters and the stakes never seemed dire. It was a fun, quick read, but someone who is used to or looking for a heavier YA fantasy novel will be disappointed. I would recommend this for contemporary readers who are looking to start exploring the fantasy genre.
Great for YA Fantasy Newbies. My Review: I received a copy of this book via Netgalley, the below is my honest opinion. I really loved Queen of the Blood by Sarah Beth Durst and knew I wanted to read this book, dragons, gold and a heist, yes please. Unfortunately, I really struggled with this book, it took me a while to find the motivation and mood to pick it up and then once I did I had a really hard time staying focused on it. It is fantasy, but it is more of an urban fantasy, almost along the lines of paranormal, so we have a teen girl in the modern world but she has her special abilities and upbringing due to being wyvern. We still get a bit of that teen drama that I have very little patience for anymore. I also figured out pretty early on what happened to her mother and where the story would end up leading, so that also made it hard to continue, there was more to the end than I expected but it was still pretty much along the lines I had already come up with. I also found it difficult to find a character I really cared about, I didn't have much connection to any of them, except maybe Gabrielle but we didn't spend enough time with any one character except Sky, and I wasn't a huge fan. I can see how other readers would really enjoy this one and I urge you to try it but it really just wasn't for me. It would be a great bridge from YA contemporary to YA fantasy for those who have struggled with fantasy in the past. My Rating: I am so bummed that this book didn't work for me. I am starting to think that heist books aren't for me, but this one was more of an issue with the characters and the mystery of what happened to Sky's mom. I give it a rating of Two Paws but again, I think it would be great for those looking to branch from YA contemporary to YA fantasy.
Sarah Beth Durst did an amazing job to write a book that is simple and straightforward and yet holds so much meaning. Fire and Heist is not just a book about dragons, it is not just about thieves, it is not just about wealth and fame; it’s about knowing who you are, trusting your family, friends, and yourself, and most importantly it’s about love. It is not much coming from me considering I have not read that many books with dragons, but I believe many reviewers and critic will agree that each author has their own take on a world where dragons and humans coincide. And where the laws of physics and nature are different and yet still the same. Fire and Heist is just that. Durst’ take on the laws of nature that governs the world she laid her story upon definitely grounds it on our reality. Making it more susceptible to being just a fantasy and making her readership believe the possibility of it all. What is more, all of her characters are likable. And yes, that includes the antagonist of the story. Each of them has their unique characteristic and distinct belief that make them who they are. If you do not fall in love with all of them, you will most likely fall in love with one or two. The protagonist, Sky, has all the character I imagine a half-dragon would have. She is feisty, confident, but at the same time, she is full of love. Additionally, I was completely aware that this could be a standalone book. Knowing that, I hoped so strongly that it ends up with a cliffhanger — not so typical of me, considering I love open-ended endings. But that is how much I love the book, its characters, and the world they live in. I just don’t think I can get enough. Overall, this is a fantastic read worth everyone’s time. It isn’t a complex book which may discourage some, but it has its own quirks that you’ll definitely love. More importantly, it has dragons and unicorns. If that does not entice you, then I don’t know… maybe you aren’t really up for something wonderful.
I’ve been a huge fan of dragons since I first read the Dragonriders of Pern series when I was young. It’s always so fascinating to me to see how each author can take the idea of this mythical being and make them such different creatures. When I saw that Sarah Beth Durst was writing a heist story that involved dragons, I couldn’t wait. Fire & Heist was a fun, entertaining tale that definitely provided a new take on dragons. Fire & Heist is, as the name implies, a heist story. However, it’s also a coming-of-age tale and a family drama. And it features were-dragons (dragons who can shapeshift into humans). It’s a stand-alone novel but I think I would have preferred a duology since there was so much that I wanted more details on. It felt like a lot of things were just glossed over or mentioned once. The fast pace also meant that I never really got a chance to know or connect to the characters. Overall, Fire & Heist was still a quick and fun read! I flew through this one and thought that it was a relatively good heist story. If you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted read, definitely consider checking this one out. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I really enjoyed this read! Sky and her family are wyverns (or were-dragons, but no one says that) in disgrace - not for trying to steal from another wyvern family, but for failing in the heist. However, Sky and her siblings have no idea why the council of Wyverns was so harsh at the Reckoning, stripping the family of half their wealth and casting them into utter disgrace, especially because their mother had acted alone in the heist and the rest of the family had no idea what was going on! Sky's brothers are willing to follow her father's lead, and try to lay low, hoping that eventually the Wyvern council will forget the whole thing or let it go after "good behavior" for so long - but this mystery is too much for Sky. Where did her mother disappear to? Why isn't her father trying harder to look for her? Why won't he even let them talk about her? What was it that her mother was trying to steal? Why was the family cast into such utter disgrace only for failing at a heist? Sky decides the only way to get her answers is to lead her own heist and steal the object herself, and finally get the answers she deserves. I loved the original premise of the book and the storytelling style of the author. My one complaint was that the pacing seems a bit uneven in that it took me awhile to get through the first part of the book; it was a little slow and almost too much buildup to the main point - but the second half of the book I flew through and couldn't stop reading! All in all I would still definitely recommend the read!
I feel I waited a thousand years for Fire and Heist to be released (I added this book to my 2016 release wishlist). And, all I've to say is that it was worth waiting for - like, catching a glance of a magical unicorn after almost freezing in a cold night worth. Wyverns, aka were-dragons, magic, shinning treasures and a dangerous heist. What more could I ask for? Writing: Fire and Heist is a fun light read fantasy novel, aimed at a younger YA spectrum. Without a dull moment, the story written by Durst is fast-paced, with plenty of unexpected moments and twists that couldn't be seen a mile away. The tale is told by Sky Hawkins and I truly enjoyed her narration. The author gave Sky a voice that is hilarious and mordant - she's not afraid of making fun of her kind and their peculiarities. Nevertheless, Sky knows to be serious when the situation requires it. Characters: I quite liked Sky. She knows who she is and acknowledges her insecurities and her not-so-nice personality traits. Moreover, Sky isn't afraid of going after what she wants - even if it means to gather a crew and plan a heist to find her mother behind her three older brothers' and father's backs (by the way, the Hawkinses are such a sweet and dorky wyvern family). And, even if being shunned by the dragon society because of her mother's failed heist and breaking up with her boyfriend (who does have some secrets of his own) were truly devastating, Sky is able to find a silver lining in a new friendship with a human girl who loves researching and everything magical, Gabriela. Overall, Sky is extremely resilient, always finding a way around - or through - any setback, and never gives up fighting for her family. World Building: Durst creates an alternate reality of our world which is inhabited by wyverns, descendent of exiled wyverns. These wyverns are just like any human, but with the ability to breathe fire and a penchant to hoard gold and gems - even if they have to steal it. Their existence has been known since the 16th century and these were-dragons have intertwined themselves with the human civilization, since no one knew how to go back to their land, Home. As you can see, the back story is very interesting and detailed. However, I was a little disappointed with the parallel world from where these magical creatures came.This society abides by meritocracy and is technologically advanced (they have robots), but not much more is shared - sadly, Sky never gets to talk with a wyvern who is deeply involved in the intricacies of Home. I wish there had been more information regarding this magical place.
I enjoyed this story so much! Sky’s voice as that narrator was why I stuck around in the beginning for all the world-building necessary to make the story work, but once she starts assembling her crew the novel really takes off. I had a growing sense of the characters, and enjoyed how the tension is ratcheted up in just the right place(s) but in ways that are so creative I just wanted to give the author a high-five. (For example: I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say *something* was going to happen on the night of the planned heist that made it more complicated to execute, but I both didn’t guess what it would be, and loved it, which is an awesome pairing.) The world-building was sharp and logical, the characters consistent, and while there are a lot of names introduced in sets, the consistency helps to untangle and sort them out. My favorite thing about this book is its delicious cleverness. The author sets up the unique rules of the world, then holds her story within that framework. There’s snark, and hope, and just plain generous people who let good things happen for each other. It has just the right amount of tension and peril for people who want a high-stakes story that doesn’t require a high body-count. My thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the digital review copy.
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