The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman — ARC Review

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher BuelhmanSummary:

Set in a world of goblin wars, stag-sized battle ravens, and assassins who kill with deadly tattoos, Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief begins a ‘dazzling’ (Robin Hobb) fantasy adventure unlike any other.

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Review: 5 Stars

I’ve been reading a lot of high fantasy novels lately, so when I finished my last book I had a look through my books to see if I had another high fantasy that I might enjoy. I requested a review copy because the main character was a thief, but I didn’t have high expectations for The Blacktongue Thief. When I saw that Robin Hobbes and Nicholas Eames both had blurbed the book so I decided to give it a shot. From the very first page I knew I was going to love this book. The Blacktongue Thief was an incredibly fun book to read that completely took me by surprise.

My favorite thing about this book is the writing. The voice and the way this book is written really make the story come to life. It’s told in first person as if the main character is telling you a story, kind of like how Name of the Wind is told, but a little different. Kinch is a morally grey character and at times an unreliable narrator and getting the story from his point of view is incredibly entertaining. I found Kinch to be pretty funny and I enjoyed his narration of this adventure.

The book has a classic fantasy feel to it and follows Kinch and his friends on a quest-like journey. The plot was full of action and adventure. I found it hard to set it down at all and wound up procrastinating many things just so I could keep reading. There were many well written fight scenes against giants, goblins and assassins that kept the journey interesting. The journey took many twists and turns, just when I felt like I knew what would happen next something totally unexpected would occur taking the book in a different direction.

The world builiding was really fascinating. I loved the idea of the Thief’s Guild, who trained thieves all over the world and had their hands in every pot. Since the book was told as if the main character was telling the story Kinch was able to explain certain aspects of the world to the reader. While in a book not told this way that sort of info dumping wouldn’t work well, but in Kinch’s voice it was entertaining and also helped give the reader a real sense of the world. I really enjoyed that there were goblins and giants in this story. I’ve read a lot of fantasy, but I rarely come across books with those types of creatures in them.

There was a bit of a found family vibe with Kinch and the other characters that tagged along on the journey. While the relationships were full of banter, they were also heartfelt and meaningful. Galva, an Ispanthian warrior, was probably my favorite side character just because she was so honorable that I couldn’t help but admire her. But I also really loved Norrigal who was a witch and was a bit bold and pretty funny. There was a bit of a romance between her and Kinch, but it didn’t eclipse the rest of the story. I also really loved that Kinch brought a cat on his adventure, Bully Boy was such a fun addition to this story.

The Blacktongue Thief was a really fun book to read. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes the feel of a classic fantasy, but also enjoys banter and levity in their books. While it is a pretty long book I found that it went by really fast because I loved the writing and the plot was full of excitement. Based on the way the book ended I assume that it’s the first book in a series and I’m very excited to get my hands on the next installment.

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