I really didn't know what to expect going into this book - the premise sounded interesting but for whatever reason, I've never really read a lot of international spy/corrupt government novels. I wasn't sure how I would like it but I'm glad that I ended up picking this book up!

Hello everyone!

I am here with another review, Liar's Candle by August Thomas. Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

The story follows 21-year-old Penny, who is an intern at the American State Department in Turkey. After an explosion during a Fourth of July celebration at the US Embassy, Penny becomes the figurehead of the tragedy - the photograph of her emerging through the chaos with an American flag is the defining image of the event. But soon, Penny becomes wrapped up in political intrigue and terrorist groups. She has become the girl who knows too much and is a liability some see as needing to take care of. Armed with her wits and a hesitant ally who's convinced she's involved in the explosion, Penny fights to get to the bottom of what is really going on.

Right away, the story is very engaging both with the premise and the writing style. The shorter chapters immediately draw you in and hold your attention at the beginning before you are really invested in the storyline and it soon becomes easy to be locked in on the story.

Penny is a really interesting character. She's not you're typical brash, fierce, ready-to-save-the-world heroine but she's also not sitting on the sidelines waiting to be rescued. I think she's a perfect balance of the two and while I don't know that I could say too much about her personality, she was fleshed out enough to show what was important to her. Connor, her less than enthusiastic ally, was also a unique character. He's loyal to a fault and will do anything for his country without sacrificing his own morals. I also really liked that Thomas didn't try to cram a romance between the two of them into the story, mainly because Connor is gay, but also because the story can hold its own without needing a romance to fill in any blank spots.

I don't know if I'd call this book a thriller but I will say it was very suspenseful and you literally have no idea who you can trust. People were flip-flopping all over the place and I could barely keep straight who was corrupt and who wasn't. This isn't necessarily a flaw in the book, more just my inability to juggle all these things at once.

Now, I know basically nothing about the conflict going on in Turkey, the terrorist groups there or the workings of the Turkish government, so I can't really speak to the accuracy of Thomas's portrayal of these elements within the novel. I know the author has some personal experience with Turkey so I'm going to assume that she tried to make things as accurate as possible but I can't say for sure. I am, however, infinitely more interested in what is going on there after reading this book and it has really opened my eyes to something I don't usually think about very often.

Overall, I think this was a refreshing change of pace from what I've been reading and I really enjoyed it!