Portrait of a Thief – Grace D. Li

I’ve known about Portrait of a Thief since it was first announced, and it was a book that made me salivate with want. I knew I had to get my hands on it at soon as possible.

Luckily I got an arc, so thank you to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this masterpiece.

2022 hasn’t even begun and I already have a favorite book from it. Portrait of a Thief is set to break the literary world.

I don’t even know what to say about this book, because I’ve loved it so much. It has everything I love. I think my favorite thing about it is the writing, it reminded me of both Maggie Stiefvater and Leigh Bardugo’s writing, diving deep into the character’s mind and constructing unique voices for each of them. Some writing bits reminded me a lot of Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, one of my favorite series ever, with its poetic prose and bordering on lyricism as it describes the inner thoughts and longing of these characters. There is so much longing, and gosh I saw myself in these longings and wants from these people. It was visceral and relatable. I was mesmerized by this book with every page I turned, and for me, I wished it would never end. What a beautiful and compelling story Grace D. Li has put out.

Another thing I adored was the characters themselves, these characters are so incredible and so fleshed out they feel like real people. I loved them all, but Will Chen might be my new obsession. I love him so much. And yes there he is rocking it in the cover, whoa that is a beautiful cover.

This book is proof that you don’t need a lot of pages to say a lot. In just 384 pages Grace D. Li said so much about identity, about dislocation, about diaspora, about how immigrants and immigrant children always feel a loss inside, about belonging and displacement, about colonialism and the place of art, I mean this book covers a lot, and it’s all made with such attention to detail, so much thoroughness. There was a lot that made me think, and I liked the discussions this book brought up.

Overall, this book was a masterpiece. There isn’t a single thing I don’t like about it, it was perfection from start to finish and I don’t know how I will live now that it is over.

I cannot recommend this book enough, I want the whole world to read it. There is still more I would like to say about this book but somehow words keep failing me, maybe I’ll come back to this review and update it a while from now.

Thank you to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

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