July 04, 2023

Thief Liar Lady

By D.L. Soria
Review by
Happily ever after is no more than a grift in D.L. Soria’s highly entertaining Thief Liar Lady, which transforms Cinderella into a cunning political operator.
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Does it matter that your happily ever after is built on a lie? D.L. Soria’s Thief Liar Lady has a clear answer: of course not, especially if the lie will protect the ones you love. According to the stories, Ash Vincent—Lady Aislinn to her husband-to-be, Prince Everett of Solis—defied her stepmother, went to a ball, lost her shoe and snagged the prince. But the stories are to reality as a kitten is to a lion. The complete opposite of a damsel in distress, Ash orchestrated her meet cute with the help of her supposedly dastardly stepmother and a healthy dose of illegal magic. If she can marry Everett, she can use her new position as his wife to improve the lot of her family and to help free the people of the conquered nation of Eloria. 

There’s only one problem: Prince Verance, aka Rance, the hostage prince of Eloria and Everett’s best friend. Rance is arrogant, lazy and nosy, a combination that both attracts and distracts Ash even as it threatens her mission. To save her family, Eloria and her own hide, Ash must stay the course, even if it brings her closer to Rance than is strictly comfortable. 

Some reimaginings of Cinderella critique the titular character’s meekness and seeming lack of agency. But Thief Liar Lady takes a different tack, portraying femininity and its perceived weaknesses as weapons sharper than steel and just as deadly. Soria’s cunning protagonist wields her fake backstory to affect political change and personal gain, all while appearing wholly unthreatening. This combination of savvy and dedication makes Ash easy to love, even when her methods are neither pure nor kind. 

Thief Liar Lady has a compelling plot, but its real beauty is the depth of its characters. Everett is both an idealist and a colonizer whose biases often stand in the way of justice. Rance is neither as lazy nor as heartless as he seems, and members of the Elorian resistance can’t always be trusted to do the right thing.

Soria’s snappy prose and Ash’s quick wit lighten what could have been, in other hands, a rather dark tale. Less “Game of Thrones” and more Throne of Glass, Thief Liar Lady is comforting in its familiarity even as it adds new dimensions to an old tale. Instead of surprising the reader or subverting tropes, Soria instead relies on flawless execution, timing each turn of her tale to perfectly capture the tensions—romantic and otherwise—of Ash’s journey.

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Thief Liar Lady

Thief Liar Lady

By D.L. Soria
Del Rey
ISBN 9780593358054

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