Mine All Mine
By Adam Davies
I liked Mine All Mine way more than Davies’ The Frog King.
You’ll still need your dictionary! But your narrator will be much more likable this time. Otto, the main character and narrator, feels human. He has issues: some he ignores, some he grumbles at, and some he faces, just like a person! He mostly understands and acknowledges his flaws even if he doesn’t show the agency to do anything about them until the end. And for this particular character, it felt genuine. I really liked how the book ended too. Otto doesn’t give a clear-cut “yes” or “no” to Charlie’s question.
For the plot, I had quite a bit of fun. I haven’t read any books about art thieves or books that frame said thief as more a masked vigilante doing what’s right instead of the more villain-esque personality. Personally, I really liked the concept of this art thief not stealing for themselves but to return sacred or important objects to their country of origin. The whole book reminds me of a line from Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire: “If you gave back every stolen artifact from a museum, you’d be left with an empty building.” True! Also, said by the villain! Not a great look for museums. I’m all for cultural safeguarding so people from across the world can learn and gain deeper understanding of one other. What I’m super not for is stealing priceless, significant, or religious artifacts from their peoples and displaying them behind glass. And Mine All Mine very clearly shares this opinion, which may be one reason I felt more drawn to this story.
I think the only major complaint I have about Mine All Mine is the “big reveal” for a particular character’s identity was way too obvious. Even from Step One. However, if you didn’t catch on, the author did leave you a nice cheese trail to follow. That said, there was one reveal that totally caught me off-guard, and I loved every second of it! The betrayal was something else. It hurt.
Anyway, if you like modern stories with some good old-fashioned spy and mystery work, this book is probably for you. I’d say Mine All Mine is rooted in its characters, which makes the plot happening outside more compelling. It’s relatively fast-paced, and there’s a lot of drugs, guns, and general violence. One thing this story is not is upbeat! It’s emotional and grittier than I expected, but it’s a good read. Have fun!