Elated. That is really the only word I could use to describe the way reading this book has made me feel. After two flawless instalments, I had an inkling that this eagerly anticipated conclusion to the series would blow me away but never in a million years did I even hope it would be this magnificent. I have been tempted on a few occasions so far to give a book a six-star rating to express the timeless quality of the effect that story would have on me and the jaw-dropping uniqueness of the author’s writing style, but I have always restrained myself and refused to break my own rules. For the first time since I started reviewing, I am throwing away the rules and giving this book and this series as a whole these elusive six stars to acknowledge a literary work that is so well written, so impeccably thought out, so emotionally satisfying and yet so real, so imaginative and unique, so unforgettable and so life-changing, that to give it a lesser rating would be an injustice. Thief is everything you wanted it to be and so much more than we could have ever expected. Put some time aside because you will not be able to put this book down, brace yourselves for a ride of a lifetime, surrender your hearts to Ms Fisher and trust her that she knows what she’s doing.
“I see the world in different shades of Olivia.”
After hearing both Olivia’s and Leah’s voices, we are finally getting to hear Caleb’s. So much has been speculated about this wonderful but complex man, but hearing his side of the story and seeing its conclusion through his eyes is what we desperately needed in order to fill the gaps in the storyline and get the answers to the myriad of lingering questions we were left to torture ourselves with. So much we didn’t know, so much we needed to know to fully understand Caleb, and we finally get it all.
“I stared into her cold, blue eyes and knew I’d just met the kind of girl books are written about. There was no one like her.”
His story is told just like Leah’s with constant jumps from past to present, each flashback offering us more and more missing pieces of the puzzle. I cannot tell you much about his role in any of the events leading up to his book without giving away too much of the plotline. I will not deprive you of the jaw-dropping moments as they are many and they were worth the wait. I will tell you though that Caleb is a flawed man just like his female counterparts, but while Olivia and Leah followed their own agendas and generally sought their own happiness, Caleb always took the wellbeing of others into account. Even at the cost of his own.
“She’s married … I don’t get to be with her. I just don’t want to be with anyone else.”
His story with Olivia is revisited from the very beginning, from the moment he sees her under that tree, and each important milestone in their troubled relationship is again seen through his eyes. We get to know the young man he once was, we watch him fall hopelessly in love with a girl who wants to return that love but does not know how. We watch them play tug-of-war over the years, make all the wrong decisions, and eventually find themselves in situations where others could be hurt by their recklessness. Be prepared for missing pieces of information in their story that will crush you, make you realise you knew so little about this man and the motivations behind his actions, and that Olivia and Caleb’s story has been about unspoken truths and misunderstandings just as much as it has been about not knowing how to love each other properly. I am not sure I even liked Caleb very much at the end of The Opportunist, I felt sorry for him by the end of Dirty Red, but I was madly, deeply, completely in love with him by the end of Thief.
“She has the kind of love that can stain your soul, make you beg not to have one, just to escape the spell she’s put you under. I’ve tried to break myself of her over and over, but it’s pointless. I’ve got more of her in my veins than blood.”
Ms Fisher has a very unique talent of saying so much, making us feel so much, too much, without actually saying a lot. Every piece fits together, every word is spoken with purpose, every emotion distilled and expressed at the perfect moment. The scenes between Caleb and Estella alone will not leave a dry eye in the house, one in particular leaving me a sobbing mess.
“I don’t love anything more than I love you.”
This is a story about Olivia and Caleb, two flawed individuals with a history of causing pain to each other, finally grabbing what life is offering them at that moment and making the most of it without looking back at a past they cannot change. It is also a story of redemption for past hurts, past recklessness, past mistakes, and refusing to make new ones. It is a full circle of sorts, but in true Tarryn Fisher fashion, there is no saccharine ending, no Hollywood grand finale where the past is magically erased and the future is seen through rosy lenses. This story is the sum of all its components and it mirrors real life that way. Regret plays a great part in this tale, and living with that regret, not letting it consume them any further is a crucial part of the story as well. Like I said before, trust the very skilled hands of Ms Fisher, trust her that she will give you the best possible ending this story could have had, and I assure you that you will not stop holding your breath until the very last word.
“Broken people give broken love. And we are all a little broken. You just have to forgive and sew up the wounds love delivers, and move on.”