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Literature / Devils & Thieves

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Devils & Thieves is a 2017 fantasy novel by Jennifer Rush.

In the small town of Hawthorne, New York, exists a community of magical users known as the kindled. Jemmie Carmichael is one of them; however, she finds it hard to cast even a simple spell due to her extreme sensitivity to magic, which makes her feel sick even just being around a large group of other kindled. At the same time, she has a very troubled relationship with the leader of the local Kindled gang, Crowe, as well as a rocky relationship with her father.

All of this comes to a head when the annual Kindled festival rolls around, bringing other kindled gangs to Hawthorne, most of whom have a bone to pick with Crowe and his Devils's League... Soon, Jemmie is forced into the conflict, and must learn to use her innate powers to help her friends.



  • The Alcoholic: Jemmie drinks a lot, and everyone around her is worried about her bad habit. Crowe even has to cut her off from the bar in his first scene, knowing she'd already had two drinks in the span of twenty minutes. It's a big step forward when she decides to go out without some alcohol.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Crowe, who does love his younger sister, but also doesn't spend a lot of time with her or Jemmie, preferring to focus on leading the Devils' League instead.
  • Barrier Warrior: All locant users, such as Jemmie and her father Owen, have the innate ability to create invisible barriers. The strongest ones stay up until a locant user can undo them.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Jemmie and Crowe have feelings for each other, but they also act quite antagonistic to each other. They tend to flip-flop on whether or not they want to be nice to the other person, leading to a lot of bickering and tension, all the while not admitting their true feelings until the end.
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  • Betty and Veronica: Jemmie is stuck between the Troubled, but Cute Crowe and Nice Guy Darek, and spends a good lot of the story struggling to figure out her feelings.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Jemmie thinks the Troubled, but Cute Crowe is a Veronica and the Nice Guy Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold Darek is a Betty. It turns out Darek is a Manipulative Bastard Yandere who is interested taking over the world.
  • Big Bad: Darek is the cause of all the bad events in the story, from Michael Medici's death in the backstory to the disappearance of several characters in the main story. The ending solution requires taking him down.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Crowe may have a generally antagonistic relationship with his sister, Alex, but when the chips are down, he cares very much about keeping her safe. When she goes missing, he nearly starts a new gang-war just to find her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Darek, who spends the almost entire book acting like a genuine sweetheart to Jemmie, before being revealed as the villain who hurt her friends and manipulated her.
  • Blessed with Suck: Jemmie's extreme magical sensitivity is unique and useful, giving her a powerful edge over others...if it weren't for the fact that just being around enough kindled makes her feel like passing out, and makes it almost impossible to even use her own magic.
  • Blood Magic: Considered highly dangerous and forbidden, Blood Magic is nevertheless extremely powerful for the person who manages to use it. The most mild form is when two kindled with different magical abilities mix their blood, creating a bond that allows one to absorb power from the other, while the most infamous usage involves stealing blood from a user of each magic, in order to gain that ability. No matter which type is practiced, however, it is still considered illegal magic.
  • Compelling Voice: Animus magic allows the user to control a person's actions just through their words. Darek uses it in an effort to make Jemmie and Crowe kill each other, ordering that they must both stay perfectly still, or the one who moves will be murdered by the other. Despite their desperation and love for each other, they very nearly die, unable to control their own reflexes.
  • A God Am I: Darek declares himself a god when he gets every kindled power.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The sweet, harmless Darek is always mentioned as having blonde hair. It serves to contrast him from the dark-haired and mysterious Crowe, showing him to be the nice and tame option. This is subverted; Darek turns out to be the villain, and an expert manipulator, who only seemed like a nice guy.
  • Healing Hands: Venemon magic is capable of being used to heal others of various maladies, from hangover symptoms to life-threatening wounds.
  • Heal It with Blood: Despite Blood Magic being considered evil and dangerous, when used correctly it can be life-saving. Jemmie once mixes her blood with Crowe's to give him enough power to fight off a fatal curse, allowing him to use his own healing magic to save himself.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Michael Medici decided to stop the evil leader of a rival gang, named Henry Delacroix, from taking over the world with the use of evil Blood Magic, and from killing several innocent hostages in the process. Becoming enraged during the course of the fight, he used his powers to kill not only Delacroix, but the rest of his gang's officers, straight up eviscerating them. Seeing this occur in the name of vigilante justice made Owen Carmichael decide to join the Syndicate and prevent the Devils' League from doing any more harm.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Darek, Jemmie's kind-hearted friend, is shown as one of the more innocent and friendly characters in the story, with blue eyes to match. This is subverted; Darek turns out to be the villain, and an expert manipulator, who only seemed like a nice guy.
  • Like Father, Like Son:
    • Owen hoped that Jemmie would turn out to be as powerful as him, so it would give them at least one trait in common; however, with her poor grasp on magic, she's more like her mother, who has kindled blood but can't use magic herself.
    • Crowe is as temperamental and dark as his father was, leading Owen to believe that Jemmie shouldn't be spending any time with him, fearing that he'll turn out to be exactly like his father...such as committing murder in the name of justice.
    • Darek, son of the evil Henry Delacroix, has his same magical ability, manipulative nature, and desire to take over the world.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Jemmie's extreme magical sensitivity allows her to both see and smell magic, even just as an aura surrounding other kindled. Each magical type has a different scent and color, and each user brings more variations; for example, Locant magic smells of mint, while Venemon magic smells like honey, but Crowe's venemon magic smells much muskier than his sister Alex's does.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Michael Medici's death was believed by most to be the result of a simple motorcycle accident, something unfortunate but incidental. Crowe, however, is insistent that he was actually murdered by someone of a rival gang, someone with the ability to make him crash. He's right; Darek killed him, and made it look like the result of a normal accident.
  • Masquerade: The kindled do their best to hide from those without magic, known as drecks; there are laws forbidding the use of magic in public, for example.
  • Master of Illusion: Inlusio magic makes others experience very realistic illusions. Uncle Flynn used it to make his house look like a wolf-filled forest, and Darek used it to make Crowe see the dead bodies of his loved ones.
  • Muggles: Called "drecks" in this universe, most of the world is made up of these ordinary people with no knowledge of magic. Due to her poor control of her powers, Jemmie admits she has considered just packing up and going to live in dreck society, where she'd at least feel average.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Mareta magic grants invincibility. Even Jemmie's mother, who was born unable to use magic, can't get sick just because of the mareta magic in her family tree.
  • Seers: Old Lady Jane and other omnias users are able to see the future, with the most powerful ones even being able to see when the people around them will die through a single touch alone.
  • Sensory Overload: Jemmie's magic sensitivity only leaves her feeling sick and overwhelmed when surrounded by other kindled, due to the overwhelming mixture of smells and the feeling of magic itself.
  • Super Senses:
    • Hardy claims his invictus powers allowed him to hear Jemmie and Alex spying on the Devils' League meeting when nobody else could, and long before they knew they'd been caught.
    • Jemmie has a heightened magic-sensitivity, allowing her to not only feel the magic around her, but to also smell it and see it. It mostly just makes her feel sick and dizzy.
  • Take Over the World: Henry Delacroix and his son, Darek wanted to be the most powerful kindled in the world, capable of taking over said world with little resistance after acquiring the use of all eleven known magical abilities.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Just a day after she and Crowe make-out, Jemmie caught him kissing Katrina at the festival. It was deliberately done right in front of her, and she took it as a harsh rejection of a possible relationship.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Old Lady Jane tells the story of a little girl named Nora, who managed to defeat the Devil by using her magic to bind them together, and then dragging him into the ocean with her, where they both died.
    • Jemmie, who was fated to die in the final battle, was dying from Darek's attack. She decided to use Blood Magic at the last moment, taking his power away from him and binding them together, dragging them both into the Sable River.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Crowe is always described by Jemmie as being ridiculously attractive, and he gets a lot of female attention, but he's also brooding and dangerous, a bad-boy with anger issues that runs a motorcycle gang.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Owen Carmichael used to be very close to Michael Medici and Thom Flynn, who he even started the Devils' League with. Unfortunately, he later turned on them and joined a kindle enforcement agency known as the Syndicate, using his position to crack down on the very gang he helped create, and thus gained the ire of his former companions.
  • Yandere: Darek becomes one for Jemmie, becoming enraged that she loves Crowe instead of him, and hurting both of them in the process of getting revenge, all while insisting he does, in fact, love Jemmie.