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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 S 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.


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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 S 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.

30 review for The Blacktongue Thief

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petrik

    I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books & Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review. 4.5/5 stars The Blacktongue Thief is an immense entertainment manifesting in a fantasy novel. Christopher Buehlman is most often known for Between Two Fires and more horror novels; this is about to change very quickly. The Blacktongue Thief is the first book in Blacktongue trilogy by Buehlman, it is his first high fantasy novel, and fro I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books & Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review. 4.5/5 stars The Blacktongue Thief is an immense entertainment manifesting in a fantasy novel. Christopher Buehlman is most often known for Between Two Fires and more horror novels; this is about to change very quickly. The Blacktongue Thief is the first book in Blacktongue trilogy by Buehlman, it is his first high fantasy novel, and from my observation, it is quite likely that this is the most hyped adult fantasy debut of the year. I’m not kidding; I’ve seen so many authors highly praised this novel since late 2019 and early 2020 up to this day. I doubt this will die down soon; many fantasy readers will be talking about this book more once it’s officially published. “If you’ve never fallen hard in love and lost your heart’s sovereign, go on and laugh at me. If you have, have a drink and dab an eye.” The plot in The Blacktongue Thief revolves around Kinch Na Shannack; Kinch owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, and 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 Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark. Kinch picked Galva—a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. Galva 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. Many early reviews from both authors and readers have mentioned that this is a novel suitable for those who loved Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, and I can certainly agree with this. I mean, even in my interview with Nicholas Eames himself, during his praises towards this book as the one book to definitely read this year, he agreed on these comparisons. The quest premise that Kinch and Galva took reminded me of Clay and Gabe’s journey in Kings of the Wyld; the jokes and senses of humor Buehlman included into the narrative were so delightful. ‘“The sirs won’t help you any more than your Guild will, blacktongue. You know what they say about caught thieves, aye?” “I’m not a thief.” “Yes, and I’ll just put the tip in, we know how these things go.”’ Kinch was undoubtedly the biggest highlight of the novel for me. He’s just such a lovable main character; snarky, sarcastic, continuously smile in the face of adversity. But he also knows when to be serious. The Blacktongue Thief is told through Kinch’s first-person perspective, and Buehlman did an excellent job in giving him a high level of distinctive voice that reminded me of what Peter McLean did with his War for the Rose Throne quartet. That being said, don’t misconstrue my words to call these two series similar to each other; they’re not. The Blacktongue Thief is like Kings of the Wyld without all the Easter Eggs, with the addition of Scott Lynch’s brilliant use of profanity language in The Gentleman Bastards. The balance between humor and tension-packed conflicts was achieved splendidly, and hey, have I mentioned there’s a blind cat as Kinch’s companion? Now you know, and why are you still reading my review? “Monarchy is a bad system because, no matter how smart you are, you can still squirt a moron out of your plumbing. Maybe you get lucky and your son or daughter is at least half as smart as you—what about your grandchild? Probably a knob, and when they inherit the throne, everything you build fall to shyte.” Alright, fine, if these aren’t enough to convince you to give this book a try yet, there are also stag-sized battle ravens, magic tattoos, Kraken, giants, witches, and goblins. Admittedly, there were a few moments in the middle of the novel where the pacing dragged a bit for me. However, this is more of a personal thing; long seafaring sections in high fantasy rarely worked for me. Fortunately, my overall enjoyment of the novel was not hindered. There are just so many things to love in this book, and the entire section involving the Towers card game was equally hilarious, breathtaking, and superbly executed. “I won’t bore you with the whole set of rules; just know Towers is like a war right there on the table, and it sucks money out of purses faster than a two-squinny harlot. Starts more fights than religion and politics together. And it’s addictive.” The ending sequence was pulse-pounding, and the conclusion + the acknowledgment was satisfying to read. The Blacktongue Thief is fated to steal a lot of reader’s hearts with its charm, humor, intensity, and unrelenting fun; I look forward to seeing future readers enjoying this novel. As for me, I will eagerly wait for the next volume in the daring and exciting adventure of Kinch Na Shannack, a thief with a blind cat’s luck. Official release date: 27th May 2021 (UK) and 25th May 2021 (US) You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping) | The Broken Binding (Use my code: NOVELNOTIONS121 for discount!) The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing! My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Edward, Ellen, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Sarah, Seth, Shaad, Summer, Zoe.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robin Hobb

    The usual caveat: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book, for free, from the publisher. I do not know Cristopher Buehlman. I do not believe that receiving a free copy of the book has influenced this review. Note to readers: While this book is the first of a trilogy, I found it to be a satisfactory stand alone read. There is a standard list of things that make me enjoy a book: Good characterization, a compelling plot, a well developed setting, a system of magic that works, a minimum of plo The usual caveat: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book, for free, from the publisher. I do not know Cristopher Buehlman. I do not believe that receiving a free copy of the book has influenced this review. Note to readers: While this book is the first of a trilogy, I found it to be a satisfactory stand alone read. There is a standard list of things that make me enjoy a book: Good characterization, a compelling plot, a well developed setting, a system of magic that works, a minimum of plot holes and a satisfactory ending. If a book hits all those marks, I am likely to give it a five star review. Then there are books that hit all those marks, and go beyond them. The Blacktongue Thief does so. The description of the setting and history go beyond the minimum needed, to give the world a more solid reality. The magic is imaginative and unusual. The protagonist is engaging and the style of narrative enjoyable. There are underlying cultures to the various other characters that shape who they are. One of the best parts is that the author manages to give this world and the characters in it that kind of depth without slowing down the plot, or leaving the reader to plow through several pages of description. The narrator has a tongue-in-cheek style that does not diminish the validity of the story. (Too often I find 'humorous' fantasy seems to care more for the prat-fall than having the reader care about the character!) I heartily recommend this one. I'll add that if you enjoy the works of Steven Brust, I think you will love this book as well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Eames

    Holy hell this was awesome. So funny, so harrowing, so endlessly inventive. Almost every page made me laugh or wonder at some phenomenally clever turn-of-phrase. I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I own the hardback but I listened to the audio from the library. I’ll do a reread to make sure my final star rating and if I love it enough to keep. Loved the narrator and the book was good so far, at least when I didn’t get distracted 🙄 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Have you ever read a book that you enjoyed from start to finish, delighted in everything that happened, but as soon as you put it down thought "Huh… that actually has a lot of flaws and I don't know who to recommend this to." Well, I have now. I haven't done this in a long time, but it's time to break out my old friends, pros and cons: Pros: 1. First off, as mentioned above, I delighted in this. I had fun from start to finish and really that is about the highest praise I can really give a book like Have you ever read a book that you enjoyed from start to finish, delighted in everything that happened, but as soon as you put it down thought "Huh… that actually has a lot of flaws and I don't know who to recommend this to." Well, I have now. I haven't done this in a long time, but it's time to break out my old friends, pros and cons: Pros: 1. First off, as mentioned above, I delighted in this. I had fun from start to finish and really that is about the highest praise I can really give a book like this. 2. The narrator is a blast. Kinch Na Shannack is one of the most sarcastic and snarky narrators one will ever meet and I delighted in his every discription. The man works in profanities as other artists work in paint or clay. He is a poet. His take on the world is also very much appreciated as this is one of the grimmest of the Grimdark fantasy novels I've ever read and without his humor, it would have been a tough read. 3. The romantic side-plot not only doesn't feel tacked on, but dynamic between the two is actually quite refreshing. 4. Bully the blind cat is amazing and I'll hear no ill of the little bastard. Cons: 1. The book is… really uneven. Again, I delighted in it, but the structure feels off. Part of this is due to the nature of their quest (which I'll not reveal here), but there's a lot of "You know what would be fun? SHIPS" and suddenly we get chapters on a ship. Yes, they needed to travel, but it feels like we go off on side-quests every once in a while which could be considered filler. 2. Kinch is amazing, but he's honestly such a good character that the others pale in comparison. His companions are mostly interesting, but it never really feels like we get a good grasp of who they are and they all feel more aloof than they are even presented, as we don't really get to know them all. 3. Big spoiler on this one so click at your own risk: (view spoiler)[Characters die fast and abrupt. One character died in a scene that honestly until his death came off as a comedic filler chapter involving an almost tug-o-war situation… any other book this would have been a fun mini-adventure before advancing the plot. Here we flat out killed someone who was being built up as a main character in the group. This sort of thing will likely really annoy some readers. (hide spoiler)] Now for the first time ever, I'm making a third category. Things I liked, but may frustrate the hell out of others: 1. It's not structured like a traditional fantasy novel. This isn't a book filled with epic battles, heroic figures and drawn out combat. Fight scenes mostly end quickly. They end brutally. They are frequently unpleasant and occasionally hard to read. They are repeatedly stabbing someone in the chest, pulling out a dagger and hoping to slit the next guy's throat before being noticed. None of these characters are the model of heroes and all of them do some fairly grim things to survive. 2. The book is written by an author known for horror. THINGS GET KIND OF TERRIFYING. Goblins… sweet Jesus, goblins. Goblins are usually the cannon fodder of fantasy. They're the small enemy that you throw a hoard at our heroes so they get a larger kill count and get the readers blood pumping… here they will make it run cold. They are terrifying. In closing: This is a weird one. Some traditional fantasy fans may not like how dark and horrific it gets (I've read Abercrombie, Martin and Cook and the like… and this one is one of the darkest). Some may not like the fact that there's not a single epic battle. It's small scale in terms of fantasy, not epic in terms of the plot, but still very much looking at a bigger picture. Personally I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book. Recommended, but with the above notations as a warning to would be readers. 4/5 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Blacktongue Thief in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to Christopher Buehlman and Gollancz. I've had my eye on The Blacktongue Thief for a while, with friends referring to it as the book they were looking forward to the most in 2021, and the ratings by reviewers I trust all coming back extremely positive. When a review copy arrived on my doorstep I decided to try it next to see if it lived up to the hype. Although to me, it won't quite be a bes I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Blacktongue Thief in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to Christopher Buehlman and Gollancz. I've had my eye on The Blacktongue Thief for a while, with friends referring to it as the book they were looking forward to the most in 2021, and the ratings by reviewers I trust all coming back extremely positive. When a review copy arrived on my doorstep I decided to try it next to see if it lived up to the hype. Although to me, it won't quite be a best of the year read, it is an admirable and thrilling fantasy debut for Buehlman who has a lot to offer to the world of modern fantasy. Kinch Na Shannack is a thief who was trained by the Takers Guild. They educated him in the way of the thief and now he owes them for that education. He can pay off his debt by doing jobs for the Guild but at the start of the book, Kinch and the group of thieves he travels with have chosen the wrong mark. They have decided to cross an Ispanthian bird knight who is betrothed to the goddess of death. Not a good decision at all. "I was about to die. Worse, I was about to die with bastards." We follow the action in The Blacktoungue Thief in the first-person perspective through the eyes of Kinch as he is relaying the tale at a later date. It was an absolute joy to follow Kinch, he's witty, critical and sometimes cynical, the humour and flow of his thoughts being addictive to read. His commentary surrounding events such as "though at the time I did not know" and "I would find out later it was..." adds useful facts and opinions to the narrative as the narrator sometimes dips in and out of the action. This could have been jarring but I had no such qualms and believe Buehlman administered these moments artfully. Buehlman's world features fantasy tropes but in imaginative and unique ways. There are goblins, giants, witches, thieves, mages, magic tattoos, sea monsters and an adorable blind cat who is arguably one of the best characters in the book. As well as Bully Boy the cat ("Rao"), the novel is littered with memorable and detailed characters, notable inclusions are the aforementioned knight Galva, the niece of a witch Norrigal, and Kinch's fellow countryman Malk. What makes these characters stand out is Kinch's relationships with them throughout the adventure that ensues after the novel's beginning showdown. The book also features inventive languages, dialects, myths, songs, classes, and perks. Kinch has two birth gifts that aid his craft. These are Luck and Cipher. I've touched on the humour and the fantasy elements which are both well-worked throughout, but it's absolutely worth noting that some of The Blacktongue Thief's standout moments are horror-tinged sections that play on the mind long after the eye has read those chapters. A friendly game of "Pull" or an assassin trying to escape from a nightmare are very vague descriptions of some truly scary moments. I'm aware Buehlman is an acclaimed horror writer and after seeing these elements presented in such fine fashion here, I will certainly be investing in his back catalogue. The Blacktongue Thief is a detailed, nuanced, intricate and sweary adult fantasy debut that starts off strong and rarely stutters. It's action-packed and imaginative with huge standout set pieces that lead to a fulfilling crescendo where all the threads are neatly wrapped up. As far as I can tell by reading it, The Blacktongue Thief is a standalone, yet the fine worldbuilding and the fact we don't know how far in the future Kinch is retelling his tale from means there could be many more adventures in this world. If that's the case then I'll definitely be rejoining Kinch, Galva, and their ragtag crew for whatever escapades they find themselves involved in next. Highly recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Kinch Na Shannack’s luck just ran out. Debts have come due and the Thief Taker’s Guild aren’t the type to offer extensions or second chances. With no prospect of a big pay day, Kinch resorts to daylight robbery. Instead of solving his problem, this turns out to be Fate dealing him another bad hand. Galva, knight and handmaiden of a death goddess, has little patience for being a victim, especially of a bunch of rank amateurs. Kinch escapes with his life, but his future is less certain. Joining Ga Kinch Na Shannack’s luck just ran out. Debts have come due and the Thief Taker’s Guild aren’t the type to offer extensions or second chances. With no prospect of a big pay day, Kinch resorts to daylight robbery. Instead of solving his problem, this turns out to be Fate dealing him another bad hand. Galva, knight and handmaiden of a death goddess, has little patience for being a victim, especially of a bunch of rank amateurs. Kinch escapes with his life, but his future is less certain. Joining Galva on her quest to save a missing Queen, but with a secret sideline of his own, Kinch knows the only way out is through… If he survives at all. ‘What a fabulous kingdom the mind is, and you the emperor of all of it. You can bed the duke’s wife and have the duke strangled in your mind. A crippled man can think himself a dancer, and an idiot can fool himself wise. The day a magicker peeks into the thought of commoners for some thin-skinned duke or king will be a bad day. Those with callused hands will rise on that day, for a man will only toil in a mine so long as he can dream of sunny fields, and he’ll only kneel for a tyrant if he can secretly cut that tyrant’s throat in the close theatre of his bowed head’. Kinch’s voice is immediately impactful, hitting the right darkly humorous note from the outset. There’s nothing contrived about it, it’s natural and consistent, with more than an edge of snark. It works well with the pace of the novel, which is more like UF, but the scope of the worldbuilding is nothing less than epic. While I haven’t read his other works, it seemed to me that the author’s horror past is evident throughout, and especially in his depiction of the Goblin Wars. There’s a brutal reality to these wars, and to the goblins themselves, devastating in their effects both personal and worldwide. They intrude upon the narrative in surprising ways, in terror filled battles and silly diversions. A horrifyingly high stakes game of tug-of-war remains on my mind as I'm writing this ... months after reading. But just because its a pitch dark world doesn’t mean it can’t also be funny. If you like your humour crude as hell, that is. It's clear that this won't work for everyone, but Kinch is worth all the gutter talk. Still, it was quite the throw of the dice to add a cute little blind cat into the mix. I was instantly in love and observed each of Kinch’s intentions towards said floof with an eagle eye, ready to jump on any hint of a negative possibility. I won’t tell you how that turned out- if I had to suffer through it, so do you. I will say that the fact that the author finishing the book with a picture of Luther - the cat who made him fall in love with cats - was pure purrfection. I know I can trust an author who freely admits such strong feelings for his feline companion. Probably. This is a book of journeys, entertaining in and of itself, but also leading to an inventive conclusion. There’s no doubt I’ll be joining Kinch on whatever path he takes from here on out. ARC via Netgalley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me ☕ “No crown sits so sure that a knife in the dark may not topple it.” I have seen the hype this book has been getting and after being done with it I can tell you that it deserves every ounce of hype it can get! I was lucky enough to be provided by an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss and as usual, that does not affect my opinions on this one. The cover is the first thing that attracted me when it comes to this book and after This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me ☕ “No crown sits so sure that a knife in the dark may not topple it.” I have seen the hype this book has been getting and after being done with it I can tell you that it deserves every ounce of hype it can get! I was lucky enough to be provided by an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss and as usual, that does not affect my opinions on this one. The cover is the first thing that attracted me when it comes to this book and after finishing the book I appreciate the cover more because of the details that I got post-reading it and because it reflects the good which was great too. The story follows Kinch who is an indebted thief to the takers guild and he is in debt because of his training so now the guild basically controls him. The book starts with him and a team setting an ambush for Galva who is a knight, a follower of the goddess of death and who is looking for her missing queen. Next thing they find themselves together on an epic adventure! “When listening for danger, one must never mistake silence for safety.” The writing is great! It is the first time I am reading a Buehlman book and I am very impressed, to my understanding that he is known as a horror writer and it is his first time dabbling into fantasy and he nailed it. The writing is obviously from a professional with experience. The narration is exclusively from Kinch’s point of view but when you get to know Kinch, you won’t ask for another POV! I expected a much darker tone but the author gave voice to one of the funniest characters I ever had the pleasure of reading but not to the point that it gets tiring. The way things were explained and foreshadowed was brilliant and I already can’t wait for book 2! Now Kinch is an awesome character because he is hilarious but he is also three dimensional and you can’t help it but to care about him. He is smart but also gets in lot of trouble, he is strong but there are stronger people in his world. He is filthy with his tongue and love for cursing in all languages and the tendency to be juvenile and not able to hold his own self from laughing. But he is also nice deep down inside and really care for his family and friends. The female characters in the book were well written too, they were not sexualized and they were stronger even than the male characters. “Only the strong, the rich, and the dying think truth is a necessity; the rest of us know it for a luxury.” The world building is great, the story takes place in many places and there are all kind of creatures and magic types that we get to discover. I was even surprised by the fact that a large part of the story takes place in the sea which I am not a big fan of but believe me that when it comes to Kinch, he can go on describing his every day life for a year and I won’t get bored. I gotta mention one thing that I may have not been fair with, in one of my reading updates, I mentioned some info dumping at the beginning. I blame myself for that because there were many new terms and I thought that I needed to remember everything but it was mostly part of Kinch’s humor and I just could not take things more simply. Retrogradely, I can tell that the important parts worth remembering were clear and I did not even had to make an effort to remember them! “I was so scared, I half wanted to piss myself, but the difference between the strong and the weak isn’t that the strong don’t piss themselves. It’s that they hitch their pissy pants up after and go through with it.” Summary: I loved The Blacktongue thief and I am sure many will do too when it is released. I was a big fan of the protagonist, the world-building, the writing and I am already looking forward to book 2!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Char

    After recently finishing a re-read of The Lesser Dead, narrated by this author, I knew I had to get the audio of his latest book: THE BLACKTONGUE THIEF. I pre-ordered it so I could have it on release day, but then I found the audio available on NetGalley and here we are! This narration is as great as I hoped and maybe even a little better. I already knew that Christopher Buehlman is a talented narrator, but here his performance is flat out phenomenal. Tackling several difference kinds of accents After recently finishing a re-read of The Lesser Dead, narrated by this author, I knew I had to get the audio of his latest book: THE BLACKTONGUE THIEF. I pre-ordered it so I could have it on release day, but then I found the audio available on NetGalley and here we are! This narration is as great as I hoped and maybe even a little better. I already knew that Christopher Buehlman is a talented narrator, but here his performance is flat out phenomenal. Tackling several difference kinds of accents and languages must be very difficult, but Mr. Buehlman makes it all sound so easy. I found myself laughing out loud many times and I love that blind cat even more, after I heard the narrator's "Rao." I've actually received an e-ARC of this book as well, which I read a few months back. This tale is truly an epic fantasy with all the hallmarks of the genre. Maps, different countries, languages and cultures. All the different creatures living in these different countries, along with witches, giants, krakens and kitties are all described so well, it feels like I know them. (The kraken portion of this story was so tense and yet, kind of funny too.) And of course, like most of the best fantasies, we have magic-magic that shows up in all sorts of unexpected ways and in unexpected things...like cats or tattoos. My original review of the book can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... Once again, Christopher Buhelman has knocked my socks off and maybe my knickers too! If you're not reading his work, you are truly missing out. His stories are always exciting, always unique and always entertaining. I am finding that this is true of his narrations as well. There is nothing like listening to a skilled narrator performing his own work. I'm giving this audio ALL THE STARS!! Available everywhere 5.25.21! *Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the free audio download in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it! *

  10. 5 out of 5

    Holly (Holly Hearts Books)

    A fantasy adventure story where a thief and soldier team up to quest together? Sign me and all my friends the heck up! But where this world of beasts and magic delivers a couple awesome moments, sadly, its very minimal character build up and constant thrown together scenes that left no air to breathe between and no motivation to continue, I feel as though it never quite rises to the lofty goals it sets for itself. Full review to come on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks A fantasy adventure story where a thief and soldier team up to quest together? Sign me and all my friends the heck up! But where this world of beasts and magic delivers a couple awesome moments, sadly, its very minimal character build up and constant thrown together scenes that left no air to breathe between and no motivation to continue, I feel as though it never quite rises to the lofty goals it sets for itself. Full review to come on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks

  11. 4 out of 5

    Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller

    When Robin Hobb calls something “Dazzling.” I stop what I’m reading and pick it up. This book was an absolute delight from start to finish. I laughed out loud so many times, it might now hold the record. It’s that dry, sardonic humor I always appreciate combined with a strong voice that carried the entire story. Definitely unconventional, it was funny without being stupid and animated without being overdone. I was completely enamored until about the 80% mark, then my evaluation brain kicked on for When Robin Hobb calls something “Dazzling.” I stop what I’m reading and pick it up. This book was an absolute delight from start to finish. I laughed out loud so many times, it might now hold the record. It’s that dry, sardonic humor I always appreciate combined with a strong voice that carried the entire story. Definitely unconventional, it was funny without being stupid and animated without being overdone. I was completely enamored until about the 80% mark, then my evaluation brain kicked on for a bit and I started to wonder if the story was amounting to anything or if was just all about the character and the delivery. The plot was incredibly straightforward and linear, in sharp contrast to a lot of the more complex fantasy novels being written these days. However it was still really interesting, containing some of the best chapter hooks I’ve read in ages. I definitely don’t mind simple as long as it’s done well. What I do mind is lack of growth, little momentum, and small payoffs. It seemed to me the main character was in the exact same state of mind at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. Showing practically no growth, it made his character come across very surface-level. If not for the brilliant use of humor to show depth (somewhat reminiscent of Abercrombie’s Glokta, but a bit more jovial) I think I would’ve lost patience with him early on. As it stands, the character voice and witty humor were enough to carry the book and make it incredibly fun to read despite the lack of aforementioned development or any sort of momentum. If those two things improve even a little in the next book while maintaining the elements I loved, I could have a new favorite on my hands. As it is, it’s just loads of irreverent fun. Audiobook production: I was about halfway through the book, thinking the narrator was doing a great job digging into the nuances of the dialogue and delivering everything in a very conversational manner, before realizing that it was being read by the author himself O_o! To say he did a great job is an understatement. He really brought the text alive with his intimate relationship with the writing and knowledge of how things were supposed to sound. I imagine a few of the more subtle jokes landed because of his delivery that may not have otherwise. The only thing that suffered was the differentiation between characters. I had to pay closer attention to tags to figure out who was speaking because I couldn’t always tell by the voices alone. That was minor though. What was lost in character distinction was more than made up for by his conversational (and hilarious) narration. I highly recommend the audiobook. :) Recommendations: this is a new slightly grimdark fantasy that delivers tenfold on humor and general entertainment. What it lacks in depth it more than makes up for in style. I’d highly recommend this to those who loved my suggested reading below, particularly the Greatcoats series by de Castell. I’d like to thank Macmillian Audio, Christopher Buelhman, and Netgalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of this title. Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com Other books you might like:

  12. 5 out of 5

    Char

    Christopher Buelhman is a favorite author of mine, but I've been caught up with his work for a while now. When I saw this was coming out soon, I jumped on the chance for an ARC and here we are. To be honest? I think this is the best thing he's written so far! Kinch Na Shannack is a black-tongue thief. He's still in training, but for now, he's in debt, (we'll call them student loans), and if he doesn't pay up soon, his future is uncertain. Until he pays those debts, he's forced to wear a tattoo o Christopher Buelhman is a favorite author of mine, but I've been caught up with his work for a while now. When I saw this was coming out soon, I jumped on the chance for an ARC and here we are. To be honest? I think this is the best thing he's written so far! Kinch Na Shannack is a black-tongue thief. He's still in training, but for now, he's in debt, (we'll call them student loans), and if he doesn't pay up soon, his future is uncertain. Until he pays those debts, he's forced to wear a tattoo on his cheek that allows everyone and their brother to smack him in the face with no retaliation. The Takers Guild send Kinch on a secret mission, for which he sets off with his new blind cat, (rao), to save himself and perhaps the world. Will he succeed? You'll have to read this to find out! This story is epic in scale. We're talking dozens of different kinds of peoples, different languages, different societies. We're talking giants and goblins, vast oceans filled with Kraken and other deadly creatures, and that's just to start. Politics between the societies, the existence of witches, kings and queens, and the sad loss of horses, populate these pages. Of course, when you have witches you also have magic and spells, and this book is full of them, and really cool ones too! Creatures can live inside tattoos, if you have the right spells. Battle corvids and blind cats to name only a few. The writing here is witty and concise without being stiff or stuffy. For instance: "Monarchy is a bad system because, no matter how smart you are, you can still squirt a moron out of your plumbing." His characters aren't so brave that they're never afraid. And they aren't so involved in themselves that they cannot see how insane things are. For example: "And that's the true story of how on the tenth day of Vintners, I ended up betting my arse on a card game in a sewer, under an army of murdering giants at the very top of the wicked world." I want to talk about the humor in this book- like that quote above? It was literally his arse that was on the line in that game. The humor is black and dark, just the way I like it. With poor Kinch having to pause life at nearly every turn so that someone can smack him across the face- it was difficult not to burst out laughing at times. (In fact, I often failed and laughed my butt off, much to the concern and chagrin of my family and/or coworkers who were around at the time.) I will read anything Christopher Buehlman writes. Period. I don't care what the genre label is, good writing is good writing and I'm in it for the stories. He mentions in the acknowledgements that Tolkien, George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss have had an influence on him and on this book. I hope though, that unlike Martin and Rothfuss, we get an ending to Kinch's story, because I NEED TO KNOW what happens next, (and the sooner the better!) My highest recommendation! Available everywhere on May 25, 2021, but you can pre-order your copy here: https://amzn.to/3qxhzrW *Thanks to a certain editor, to Tor and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I’ve struggled with how to start this review of Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief because I want to give it the recognition it deserves. So I’ll just go with this: it’s damn fine reading. I loved it. Kinch Na Shannack is a thief-in-training with a couple of tricks up his sleeve, which might not matter much considering how far behind he is in student loans. And the debtors just happen to be the most powerful, far-reaching organization in the world. But Kinch has a chance to dig his way I’ve struggled with how to start this review of Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief because I want to give it the recognition it deserves. So I’ll just go with this: it’s damn fine reading. I loved it. Kinch Na Shannack is a thief-in-training with a couple of tricks up his sleeve, which might not matter much considering how far behind he is in student loans. And the debtors just happen to be the most powerful, far-reaching organization in the world. But Kinch has a chance to dig his way out, and finds himself in the midst of a continent-spanning mission where he crosses paths with witches, warriors, sky beasts, polymorphing assassins, giant monsters of land, sea and air, and, well… saying too much more will ruin the surprises, of which there are many. And I mean, many. This novel is page-turning feast of chaos and adventure that I didn’t want to end. What held my attention, from the first page to the last, was how smooth the reading experience felt while blending elements of brisk pacing, loads of snark, punchy dialogue, stylized characters, and unrelenting scenes of gaga mayhem. What a fabulous kingdom the mind is, and you the emperor of all of it. You can bed the duke’s wife and have the duke strangled in your mind. A crippled man can think himself a dancer, and an idiot can fool himself wise. Some highlighted passages caused me to laugh, pushed the story forward, and offered nuggets of quotable wisdom or some form of innovation—all within a sentence or two. Kinch’s narrative voice finds a balance between wise-assery and wisdom, using snappy and succinct dialogue to get his messages delivered. Big twists drop with sudden shots to the gut. Yet the grim severity of events are usually offset by Kinch’s gallows humor, materializing as inside jokes between narrator and reader. The smell of old whale fat hung about the ship like perfume in a whore’s drapes. But not all is adventure, mystery, comedy and grim tidings. There’s also a healthy dose of poetry and songs scattered throughout the story, and they enrich the ever-expanding environment with music, lore, humor, and other intangibles. Since the bulk of the story is a road trip, each stop along the way feels fresh with promise. The continent itself appears to be loosely based on Western Europe, with comparable languages and cultural swagger. I must call attention to a two-page chapter that tells the story of a fallen city. It somehow built up my sense of wonder then immediately flushed my emotions down a sinkhole. Two pages was all it took. I’m singling it out because not only can it serve as a standalone story on its own, but I also think it’s a good microcosm of what this book can do a reader. While this passage doesn’t quite include the humor that the rest of the book offers, it shows me how Buehlman can claw you in when he wants to and drag your empathy wherever he wants it to go. Only the strong, the rich, and the dying think truth is a necessity; the rest of us know it for a luxury. I didn’t find much fault in this story. There’s an inherent ability a character has that could be viewed as a plot device, but its originality and the balance of its consequences even out the score. Regardless of any nitpicks, Kinch quickly became one of my favorite first-person characters in as long as I can remember, and its supporting cast of deep, rich characters combined with Buehlman’s creativity and wit brought this exciting book to life. I give The Blacktongue Thief my highest recommendation. 9.7 / 10 Publishing May 2021 with Tor Books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nils | nilsreviewsit

    “I’ll watch you while you sleep. Sleep while you watch. I’ll lie to you, but I’ll also lie for you. If you let me do the talking, I’ll make sure you miss the pennycock with the pizzle-itch and get the best wine in the merchant’s barrel. You’ll never again meet a door you can’t get through, nor a wall you can’t get eyes over. I need your arms, yes, but you need my nose. If you do the worst of the fighting, I’ll make sure you know where your foes are coming from and cull the weak ones. I won’t be “I’ll watch you while you sleep. Sleep while you watch. I’ll lie to you, but I’ll also lie for you. If you let me do the talking, I’ll make sure you miss the pennycock with the pizzle-itch and get the best wine in the merchant’s barrel. You’ll never again meet a door you can’t get through, nor a wall you can’t get eyes over. I need your arms, yes, but you need my nose. If you do the worst of the fighting, I’ll make sure you know where your foes are coming from and cull the weak ones. I won’t be your dog but, if you’re half the wolf I think you are, you’ve found a fox to run with.” The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman is a book I’ve had my eye on since early last year when it was recommended to me by Brian Naslund, author of The Dragons of Terra trilogy. To say I was hyped for this book would be a complete understatement, for several months I’ve been desperate to get my hands on an ARC to discover just what all the early furore was about. I’m thoroughly grateful to Gollancz for sending me an early copy because now I truly understand the hype. The Blacktongue Thief is one cleverly written, fantastical novel. I was charmed, often left dazed or horrified, but thoroughly entertained from the very beginning to the very end. The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a trained thief whose prestigious tutelage has earned him an immense debt to The Taker’s Guild. Think of it as a student loan, except once you owe The Taker’s Guild, they firmly hold you in their clutches, and paying them back is one hell of a deadly task. Which is why at the beginning of the novel, we find Kinch in a desperate state, hiding on the edge of a forest, waiting in hopes of stealing a fortune from the next passerby. Whether what follows after was the work of ill-luck, fate or forced by unseen hands is questionable, but our poor Kinch lands himself in more trouble than he ever bargained for. Unfortunately for Kinch, his next victim is Galva, an adept Knight from Ispanthia, who fought in the Goblin Wars and holds many secrets up her sleeve. Throughout the novel Kinch and Galva’s narratives entwine and they set forth on a chaotic, harrowing and often downright surreal journey together. A journey which held some scenes I don’t think I’ll ever forget! “I was so scared I half wanted to piss myself, but the difference between the strong and the weak isn’t that the strong don’t piss themselves. It’s that they hitch their pissy pants up after and go through with it. I jerked the book open to a random page, towards the end, and focused, knowing I would either understand what I saw or die.” The Blacktongue Thief is told in first person, with Kinch giving us an intimate account of all that happened to him from the day he met Galva. Buehlman immediately draws the reader in with Kinch’s distinctive narrative voice. It was a voice laced with subtle sarcasm, cynicism and a nonchalant tone, it had the effect of making me care for his character before I even truly began to know him. As I read on I adored his quirky traits – the way he obsessed over (even licked) money, his overly chatty nature, his awkwardness, they all made Kinch a delightfully fun character to follow. He isn’t exactly the hero in this tale – as the title of the book affirms, he’s not only a thief, but one with a black tongue, which is both literal as well as metaphorical, as more often than not his smart-mouth, and unreliability would cause him a heap of dilemmas. Surprisingly for me, I don’t believe there were any characters which I didn’t like in this book. Buehlman had a fantastic way of making each character memorable, they were all eclectic enough to stand out, even those who only appeared for a brief scene or two. Some of my most favourite parts early on in the novel consisted of interactions between the Knight Galva, and Kinch. Galva, you could say, was quite a feisty snappish character, yet she had a charming sense of loyalty about her too. I loved the way Galva would insult Kinch in her Spanth mother-tongue, the way they bantered together, often never seeing eye to eye, but always helping each other nonetheless. It was an odd friendship but one I enjoyed watching grow. Another favourite of mine was the witch Deadlegs, who I can’t wait for everyone to meet because, well… you’ll see! Her scenes were strikingly surreal and I loved it. Then there was Norrigal, who Kinch affectionately labels his ‘witchlet’, her chaotic use of magic never failed to entertain. Honorary mention also goes to Bully-Boy, the blind cat who became both a friend and foe to Kinch, I deeply loved that little cat! ”Roa!” “You’re a guild thief. You have training and magic. If I drop you, it won’t hurt will it?” “If I say no, will you think of a different way to hurt me?” “Maybe.” “Then yes, it will hurt me very much. Please, brave Knight, do not drop me on my melon.” She dropped me, but I don’t hold that against her.” Much of the world-building, particularly the history of the world and the magic system, is told through Kinch’s inner monologues or through direct speech between characters. Often this can result in passages of dull info-dumping, but in my opinion the author avoids this because as I’ve mentioned – Kinch is our narrator. With every bit of information we get, Kinch provides us with a social commentary dripping in cynicism, he makes it light-hearted, even humorous, which in turn allows these passages to be amusing and fascinating to read. We learn about the Goblin Wars which caused the population of women to outweigh the population of men, as a lot of men died early on fighting. We learn why the world was without horses, and how The Taker’s Guild trained young students in the arts of thievery and magic, the hierarchy of both professions, and how the Guild wanted their hand in every pocket. This was a world full of rich culture too, from the Spanth, Norholter, and Galtish races each with their own distinct language, accent, beliefs, and Gods. The confusion between various languages caused some real laugh out loud moments, and the debates about different cultural beliefs were nice to see. All these little touches of details effectively built up a diverse and fully realised world. “Monarchy is a bad system because, no matter how smart you are, you can still squirt a moron out of your genitives. Maybe you get lucky and your son or daughter is at least half as smart as you—what about your grandchild? Probably a knob, and when they inherit the throne everything you built falls to shyte.” There’s nothing more I appreciate than a fantasy book which isn’t afraid to be inventive and well, highly fantastical. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy books with low-key subtle magic because I do, but on the other hand I love to see the fantasy genre celebrated for its fundamental use of magic and myth, to see it revel in it. The Blacktongue Thief features a world with murderous trees, mutant magical beasts, magicked tattoos, an upside down tower, krakens, goblins and giants. The world is also full of religion and superstitions surrounding the various gods, such as Fothannon, our Kinch’s fox god. Buehlman surprised me at every turn, even shocked me on occasion, the originality I found in this book was extremely gratifying to see. Then there was the humour, the cleverly written turn of phrase, the outright absurd scenes, and even one harrowing scene. Once again Buehlman really impressed me here too, there were so many clever layers of humour, from satirical to dark, to outright comedic. When you mix a fantastical surreal world, with multiple layers of humour and quirky characters, you’re onto a winning book for me. Although this isn’t Christopher Buehlman’s first novel, it is the first novel I’ve read by him and I can firmly say I’m impressed. I’m not sure yet whether I dare read his horror novels, I may venture into them one Halloween month, but I can definitely say I’m looking forward to more instalments in this fantasy series. The Blacktongue Thief is just bursting with originality, sharp-witted prose, and the most compelling character, our beloved Kinch. ARC provided by Will at Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. All quotes used are taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. The Blacktongue Thief is released 27th May.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gerhard

    When I first heard about this book, my initial reaction was: Interesting … but weird. Christopher Buehlman is a consummate horror writer, well-known for classics such as ‘The Lesser Dead’ and ‘The Suicide Motor Club’. Fantasy – and grimdark, no less – seemed a bit of a sideways step. Then again, SF writer Richard Morgan, best known for the Takeshi Kovacs cyberpunk noir series, did also try his hand at grimdark, and the result was the spectacular ‘A Land Fit for Heroes’ trilogy. On the other end o When I first heard about this book, my initial reaction was: Interesting … but weird. Christopher Buehlman is a consummate horror writer, well-known for classics such as ‘The Lesser Dead’ and ‘The Suicide Motor Club’. Fantasy – and grimdark, no less – seemed a bit of a sideways step. Then again, SF writer Richard Morgan, best known for the Takeshi Kovacs cyberpunk noir series, did also try his hand at grimdark, and the result was the spectacular ‘A Land Fit for Heroes’ trilogy. On the other end of the spectrum, Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Buried Giant’ (2015) had a lot of mainstream critics comment rather condescendingly as to why the literary darling would embrace genre. And High Fantasy, to boot. (I am not a big fantasy reader, but I loved all of the above.) So I was prepared to give ‘The Blacktongue Thief’ a bash, a promise indeed speeded up when I managed to get a Netgalley arc. And I am so glad that I have now read this, because it is magnificent. Buehlman had me glued to the pages for a couple of days, entranced as I followed Kinch Na Shannack and his motley crew on their improbable quest, including a blind stray cat called Bully Boy, living and breathing the weird and wondrous realm they traversed and the equally weird and wondrous world the book is set in. If Bully Boy raises an alarm bell – maybe the publisher insisted on a trope Disneyesque animal to melt the reader’s heart amidst the bloodshed and mayhem, and copious profanity in multiple made-up languages – fear not. Bully Boy is as tough as nails and an integral part of the story. The reader’s love for all of these characters is hard-won and well-deserved in the end. There is no manipulative sentiment inserted by Buehlman to sweeten his tale. Indeed, as a writer he is not afraid to make some tough and unexpected choices, which I greatly respect as a reader. I think there can be no greater compliment paid to a writer than when you can genuinely say you felt as if you were there along with the characters. Buehlman’s world-building is quite intricate, and it took me a while to get a handle on the social set-up, background and geopolitics. I especially appreciated the fact that Buehlman never resorts to that dreaded gold-plate standard of fantasy, the infodump. All you need to make sense of this world is embedded in the story itself and the experiences and histories of the characters. There is a trend for a lot of grimdark to be archly funny and ‘meta’, which a writer like K.J. Parker is really good at. The fact that Kinch is beholden to the Takers Guild for his education as a thief, a debt he is unable to pay off and hence ends up in servitude to them, of course strikes a contemporary note. When we eventually learn about the true extent of the Takers Guild’s dark motives, the resonance with our world, especially countries meddling in the affairs of other nations, manufacturing conflict and even wars to prop up the military-industrial complex, and bio-engineering potentially lethal viruses that threaten life as we know it, all have echoes in Buehlman’s book, but never to the extent where it pushes you out of the narrative. Buehlman is well aware that he is not only working in a genre, but within a hallowed tradition. He remarks in his Acknlwledgements: I also wish to acknowledge those who blazed this trail; J. R. R. Tolkien, of course, who is every modern fantasy writer’s common ancestor; but also publisher Tom Doherty, who helped bring him to an American audience and who runs the company that brought this book to light. George R. R. Martin inherited not just Tolkien’s middle initials but his genius in world-building and set an astonishingly high bar for the rest of us—the audio books of A Song of Ice and Fire, brilliantly narrated by the late Roy Dotrice, have smoothed many a long mile on my road and remain, for me, the gold standard of storytelling excellence. The works of modern masters Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss influenced this author, it is fair to say; in a world so full of good books and so short on time, theirs are among the stories I gladly revisit. ‘The Blacktongue Thief’ joins that special list of good books you would do very well by investing your time in reading.

  16. 5 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Rating: 10/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Blacktongue Thief ( #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. The Blacktongue Thief is… astonishing. Buehlman has raised the bar on what makes a special fantasy debut, and not since Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames have I been so enamored from cover to cover. Absolutely brilliant. People. I literally do not know where to begin. I’ve seen this book talked about for almost a year Rating: 10/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Blacktongue Thief ( #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. The Blacktongue Thief is… astonishing. Buehlman has raised the bar on what makes a special fantasy debut, and not since Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames have I been so enamored from cover to cover. Absolutely brilliant. People. I literally do not know where to begin. I’ve seen this book talked about for almost a year now (writing this as of 10/23/20) and it still has seven (7) months to go before it is released into the world. How do you talk about something that hits so hard and completely blows your mind without spoiling it for the masses? Kinch may be one of the best POVs I’ve ever had the honor of tagging alongside. Through his eyes, we see sprawling landscapes, treacherous seas, hideous goblins, massive giants, huge war-birds, and so so much more. But what makes him so captivating is his mouth. Through his story-telling, every single piece of the larger picture is so accurately laid in front of the reader, dropping you into each scene with just enough description as to not overwhelm. His personality alone is enough to fill a room, what with an overabundance of sarcasm mixed with a teaspoon of sensitivity. Buehlman’s writing style also shines throughout the book with tongue-in-cheek humor, descriptive narration that does not take away from nor slow the pace of the story, and prose fuh days. On top of the hilarious conversations, inner-monologues, and descriptive fight scenes, he also adds depth to the story with multiple cultures (which shape a majority of our main characters), tales, songs, an imaginative magic system, and the overarching hangover from the Goblin Wars. I really don’t want to dive much deeper because this is one of those novels you just have to experience for yourself. I cannot recommend it enough. I believe it will be the best fantasy debut of 2021 and should be on every single pre-order cart/wishlist available. Fans of Eames and Abercrombie will devour these pages. I cannot WAIT for the next two (2) novels.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Great character driven fantasy with a fantastic protagonist, hilarious prose and a satisfying arc.

  18. 5 out of 5

    William Gwynne

    The Blacktongue Thief is the recently released fantasy debut by Cristopher Buehlman, although he has published a few horror stories. Before I dived into this, I heard it commonly likened to Kings of the Wyld, which I thought was amazing and just hilarious. So, of course, I had to read this, and it delivered. The humour is hilarious. It just clicked with me. The voice of the central figure and sole perspective seemed to have just been refined and mastered, with his sarcastic comments and reactions The Blacktongue Thief is the recently released fantasy debut by Cristopher Buehlman, although he has published a few horror stories. Before I dived into this, I heard it commonly likened to Kings of the Wyld, which I thought was amazing and just hilarious. So, of course, I had to read this, and it delivered. The humour is hilarious. It just clicked with me. The voice of the central figure and sole perspective seemed to have just been refined and mastered, with his sarcastic comments and reactions to dangerous events going on around him casting a great tone for a fun story whilst still attributing a tension and depth beyond just humour. Full Review to Come

  19. 5 out of 5

    Library of a Viking

    “I was about to die. Worse, I was about to die with bastards.” The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman is one of the most anticipated fantasy releases in 2021. This book has almost been unanimously praised, and as of 07.04.21, has a staggering 4.58 rating on Goodreads! Seeing all the praise for this book made me excited! So did this book live to the hype? Well, let’s talk about it. The Blacktongue Thief follows Kinch Na Shannack, who owes a fortune to the Takers Guild. Kinch is a thief with “I was about to die. Worse, I was about to die with bastards.” The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman is one of the most anticipated fantasy releases in 2021. This book has almost been unanimously praised, and as of 07.04.21, has a staggering 4.58 rating on Goodreads! Seeing all the praise for this book made me excited! So did this book live to the hype? Well, let’s talk about it. The Blacktongue Thief follows Kinch Na Shannack, who owes a fortune to the Takers Guild. Kinch is a thief with personality, humour and wit. Unfortunately, Kinch’s fate gets entangled with the knight Galva, and he now finds himself forced to go on an epic journey. So let’s start with what I loved about this book. Firstly, Buehlman does a phenomenal job at creating this world. This world feels vast and historic and is filled with ancient history and creatures such as goblins, witches, giants, HUGE birds, an interesting magic system and more. The reader is also introduced to the politics and religion in this world, making this world feel complex and exciting. The Blacktongue Thief is filled with memorable dialogue, humour and vivid battle scenes. The highlight of this story is the main protagonist Kinch. Kinch is a funny character with a strong personality. He is self-conscious, loves adventure and coins, which makes his character stand out. However, if you do not connect with Kinch and his humour, you will have a tough time reading this book. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the humour in this book, and I didn’t connect with Kinch, which made me lose interests in the plot at 60%. I read the last 40% as fast as possible to get it over with. Furthermore, the plot does feel forced at times. Throughout the book, the reader is sometimes left wondering what the main goal of Kinch’s journey is due to this book's pacing. This book is incredibly fast-paced, and it feels like there is a new adventure in each chapter, which does not leave the reader any time to contemplate the broader scope of this story and world. However, I am not saying The Blacktongue Thief is a bad book. If you enjoy the humour and the character Kinch, this might be one of your favourite reads in 2021. I can see why there is so much love for this book, but unfortunately, this was not for me. Weirdly enough, I would still recommend all fantasy readers to give this book a try. Buehlman’s writing is solid and clever, and the world-building is phenomenal. Furthermore, if you connect with Kinch, you will probably have a fantastic time with this book. Due to my mixed feeling about this book, I will break down my rating into three parts. My enjoyment reading this book 2/5 Concept, world-building and character 4/5 Overall rating 3/5 Thanks to Gollancz and NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Orey

    Great magic and nonstop adventure. But mostly, what a voice. Do we already have a name for this new funny strand of grimdark? I've been reading a lot of cynical fantasy about competent people in a world that's permanently effed, but I haven't known what to call it. Snark fantasy? Snarky grimdark? Grimsnark? Even for funny grimdark, this one is especially fun. There's a clever mix of deeply serious worldbuilding, with the aftermath of a lost and horrific war and a diversity of cultures and kingdoms Great magic and nonstop adventure. But mostly, what a voice. Do we already have a name for this new funny strand of grimdark? I've been reading a lot of cynical fantasy about competent people in a world that's permanently effed, but I haven't known what to call it. Snark fantasy? Snarky grimdark? Grimsnark? Even for funny grimdark, this one is especially fun. There's a clever mix of deeply serious worldbuilding, with the aftermath of a lost and horrific war and a diversity of cultures and kingdoms that all got wrecked in different ways, alll mixed with an endlessly wise cracking swearing thief protagonist. It's a delicate balance, and this here is a shining example of how to do it, with big pluses and minuses. Plus: you can write about whatever you want. This story meanders around, sometimes on long tangents, almost as though some scenes were worth writing just to see what funny thing the narrator protagonist would say. Minus: the voice somehow doesn't work so well for action scenes. The whole funny descriptive emotional and reactive reach of the voice is slow, and in fights it can drag. I see this same issue in similarly voiced (and excellent) books like Gideon the Ninth and Murderbot. Anyway, this was fun and often funny as hell, with some great invented swear words and ways to swear. The author reads the audiobook and gives a fantastic performance, even though the audio quality isn't so good. I wish the audio team had used a better microphone. But the author sure brought the book's voice to life, and it's absolutely worth a listen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian Naslund

    I fell in love with Kinch on page one. He's a hilarious narrator and I was also touched by his sensitivity. Christopher's world building is unique, precise, and masterfully woven into a page-turning story. I couldn't put it down. There's joyful mischief dripping off almost every page, but also darker elements. Many of the characters carry deep physical and mental scars from the hard-won goblin wars, and the consequences of those horrors are both tragic and heartfelt. Fans of Nicholas Eames and Jo I fell in love with Kinch on page one. He's a hilarious narrator and I was also touched by his sensitivity. Christopher's world building is unique, precise, and masterfully woven into a page-turning story. I couldn't put it down. There's joyful mischief dripping off almost every page, but also darker elements. Many of the characters carry deep physical and mental scars from the hard-won goblin wars, and the consequences of those horrors are both tragic and heartfelt. Fans of Nicholas Eames and Joe Abercrombie will love The Blacktongue Thief.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    The Blacktongue Thief proves a thoroughly amusing dark fantasy adventure full of verve and humor. The protagonist, Kinch Na Shannack, a scrappy and clever thief with more to him than meets the eye, provides an exceedingly entertaining narrative voice that really buoys the story with his self deprecating, sardonic humor and sarcasm as he's flung from rock to hard place and back again. How apropos that he chooses to worship the god of mischief, who might just grant a bit of luck to those who can g The Blacktongue Thief proves a thoroughly amusing dark fantasy adventure full of verve and humor. The protagonist, Kinch Na Shannack, a scrappy and clever thief with more to him than meets the eye, provides an exceedingly entertaining narrative voice that really buoys the story with his self deprecating, sardonic humor and sarcasm as he's flung from rock to hard place and back again. How apropos that he chooses to worship the god of mischief, who might just grant a bit of luck to those who can give him some amusement, however perverse. The richly developed, war ravaged and monster filled world, as well as the inventive magical system both are full of mystery and surprise and the source of many a bizarre and amusing twist. Interestingly, overt magic, i.e. spellcasting and the like, takes a backseat to more subtle and pervasive supernatural properties that can be embodied to varying degrees either within people or objects. This allows magic to be fairly pervasive, yet generally remain low-key rather than dominating the story. It's a well crafted balance that I appreciated. Buehlman gives a stellar performance doing his own audio narration, seamlessly adopting an Irish brogue that I was surprised to hear. Not only is he American (born and raised in Florida from what I understand), but he managed to also pull off a very convincing New York accent for his narration of The Lesser Dead, which I also enjoyed immensely. With The Blacktongue Thief, Buehlman really gets so much right and has laid down a compelling foundation on which to develop the Blacktongue series. The ending to this first book is satisfying while still setting things up nicely for a continuation in future books, which I eagerly look forward to! I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    4.5/5 but I'll round it up. I’ve read everything Buehlman had published and loved all of it. To say I had high expectations for his fantasy debut would be an understatement of the year. To my relief (and delight!), Buehlman has delivered. Big time. The Blacktongue Thief follows Kinch Na Shannack, an indebted thief who travels through a crime-ridden world in the company of a veteran knight, a witch in-training, and a blind rescue cat. Decades-long war with goblins wiped out a significant part of h 4.5/5 but I'll round it up. I’ve read everything Buehlman had published and loved all of it. To say I had high expectations for his fantasy debut would be an understatement of the year. To my relief (and delight!), Buehlman has delivered. Big time. The Blacktongue Thief follows Kinch Na Shannack, an indebted thief who travels through a crime-ridden world in the company of a veteran knight, a witch in-training, and a blind rescue cat. Decades-long war with goblins wiped out a significant part of humanity and almost all men. To put it bluntly, the world has lost the whole generation of men. The few that still live usually work as prostitutes. Thieves guilt controls everything and everyone and won’t tolerate disobedience. They recruit as many young people as possible, give them student loans to pursue thief-school education, and force them to pay the debt for the rest of their lives. If all of this seems too grim, keep reading. One of the greatest strengths of the novel is the narrator’s deliciously sardonic humor and grasp of human foibles. Kinch’s distinct voice and gallows humor made me laugh and made this story such a joy to read. He’s no role-model, what with his vulgar asides and debatable morals, but he doesn’t lack wit or charm. Plus, as often seen in fantasy, he’s a decent guy deep inside. I mean, he rescues a blind cat and takes him on a journey. Of course, the cat has his own dark secrets, but no one would expect less from a cat, right? I adored Kinch. He’s the kind of street-smart protagonist I love to read. His first-person narration conveys both his personality and explains the bleak world with a humor that makes everything more digestible. He’s a chatty little fellow, who wins others; Not always reliable, but always fun to listen to. Thanks to him, Buehlman gets away with digressions and info-dumps - they’re fun. I equally enjoyed the remaining characters, especially Galva, a battle-hardened veteran facing death with a smile on her lips. Imaginative worldbuilding including giant war corvids, texts that kill their readers, self-healing shields, magic imbued tattoos, giants, assassins, and more impressed me with its scope and cool factor. As a whole, all of this feels fresh and entertaining. Sure, it draws from other stories that deal with sly thieves, high politics, and betrayals but does so with enough gusto to compensate for its shortcomings. The ratio of humor to serious themes is just perfect, and it helps gloss over some pacing problems. The Blacktongue Thief is Buehlman’s first fantasy novel, and I want the next one. It’s a remarkably fun opening of his Blacktongue series — a fast-paced story of high costs laced with gallows humor. I want more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    After struggling a bit with reading during the spring I had no idea what to expect from this, other than the fact that it was a highly anticipated, and highly rated, book about a snarky-witted thief and a death-loving knight. Turn out this was exactly what I needed. I had such a good time reading this book. The tone of the main character's narration, and the dry sort of humour, really hit home for me. Plus there's a magic cat, and who in their right mind wouldn't love that. After struggling a bit with reading during the spring I had no idea what to expect from this, other than the fact that it was a highly anticipated, and highly rated, book about a snarky-witted thief and a death-loving knight. Turn out this was exactly what I needed. I had such a good time reading this book. The tone of the main character's narration, and the dry sort of humour, really hit home for me. Plus there's a magic cat, and who in their right mind wouldn't love that.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/05/20/... The Blacktongue Thief was one eccentric little fantasy novel, and I mean that in the best way possible! Now, I’ve followed Christopher Buehlman for a while, and I’m a big fan of his horror novels. This one is my fifth book by the author, his first fantasy, and like so many others I was curious to see what he could bring to the genre. The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a blacktongue thief who belongs to the Takers Guild in 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/05/20/... The Blacktongue Thief was one eccentric little fantasy novel, and I mean that in the best way possible! Now, I’ve followed Christopher Buehlman for a while, and I’m a big fan of his horror novels. This one is my fifth book by the author, his first fantasy, and like so many others I was curious to see what he could bring to the genre. The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a blacktongue thief who belongs to the Takers Guild in every sense of the word. They trained him, taught him everything he knew, and now he owes them for all that education, an obligation marked by a tattoo on his face where it will remain until his debt is repaid. Every day he gets closer to his goal, doing jobs for the Guild, until one day he picks the wrong mark and ends up being slapped down by Galva, a warrior and veteran of the goblin wars, sworn to the goddess of death. She is on a quest too, searching for her missing queen to restore to her rightful place on the throne. Before long, Kinch finds himself embarking on a shared quest with Galva, instructed by the Guild to follow her and learn more about her mission. But there will be many dangers along the way, including mysterious forces that will want to stop or hinder them. Kinch himself is desperate to be rid of the Guild, but they are secretive about their motives and when our protagonist eventually finds out the truth, he is left at a crossroads on how to move forward, caught between his loyalties and his desire for freedom. Without a doubt, your overall impression of The Blacktongue Thief will make or break with the question, “How do you feel about Kinch Na Shannack?” Our protagonist is a smooth-talking rogue with no filter. Not only is his very distinctive voice peppered with bawdy obscenities, lurid metaphors and other creatively crude insults, but his internal thoughts also run about a mile a minute, making the reading experience akin to listening to an overactive child talk about their day, i.e., with lots of tangents, the inability to get to the point any time fast and, of course, an exaggerated and sometimes unreliable narrative. While he’s spewing words like a broken watermain, he’s also prone to burst into song or randomly launch into funny anecdotes to make you laugh. Bottom line, I suppose, you’ll either want to throttle him or give him a fist bump. Thankfully, I fell into the latter group. Despite some of his more exasperating traits, Kinch is also a clever, resourceful and persevering thief, and I enjoyed his smart-ass sense of humor. Eventually though, you must learn to appreciate some of his more admirable habits, or else getting through this novel with your patience intact will be a challenge. For you see, not only do you have to contend with the larger-than-life personality of the main character, the haphazard nature of his narration also prevents the plot of The Blacktongue Thief from following any kind of conventional structure or storytelling. At times, the story is little more than a string of action sequences punctuated by moments where the characters trade quick barbs and snarky one-liners, well executed as they may be. Other times, it can be a bit like watching all the episodes of a TV show out of order. The writing doesn’t do much handholding, leaving the reader to work certain things out for themselves, and while you may end up appreciating this in later parts of the book, the earlier sections might result in some frustration. Like I said, this was a very eccentric novel, whose elements might not jive as well for those who prefer more traditional fantasy stories or a more structured narrative. Being a bit off-the-wall, though, does have its advantages. The world-building was impressive, straddling the line between quirky and gritty. The many different cultures, deities, traditions, and magic systems are unique and interesting, though it probably wouldn’t hurt if the author had provided just a bit more historical insight or explanation into some of these aspects, just to add some context. Bottom line, being something of an oddball, The Blacktongue Thief might work for you or it might not, but I personally enjoyed it. I came to this book as a fan of Christopher Buehlman so I already knew he could tell a good story, but now I know he can also spin a bold and funny fantasy yarn that’s one of kind, and I’m sure this one will gain him even more followers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Virginja ↢ 99% imp

    2.75🌟 I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quotes reported are susceptible to changes upon publication. ”My five Upstart sons have declared against you Their tongues are as black as their promise is true And they’re coming, they’re coming, whatever you do!” The Blacktongue Thief (TBT) is a fourth-wall breaking high fantasy, set a world in vein with the trends of the 70s Sword&Sorcery. This book has been in my radar for moths no 2.75🌟 I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quotes reported are susceptible to changes upon publication. ”My five Upstart sons have declared against you Their tongues are as black as their promise is true And they’re coming, they’re coming, whatever you do!” The Blacktongue Thief (TBT) is a fourth-wall breaking high fantasy, set a world in vein with the trends of the 70s Sword&Sorcery. This book has been in my radar for moths now, since that beautiful cover was revealed along with an excerpt of the first chapter. I was really exited when I received a TBT ARC: the general public response had been very positive, and many of my go-to reviews had highly prised this book, especially for its original execution and over-the-top narration. I am a huge fan of trope-breaking, weird books that present fantasy worlds through ridiculous characters, and this book seemed to check all the boxes. I predicted TBT would fit into my top reads of 2021... I find myself a bit disappointed , because in the end it was only a pleasant read, very far from my sky-high expectations. Kinch Na Shannack, thief of the Guild of Takers, has huge debt hanging over his head. Behind with his payments and unable to gather money fast enough, Kinch is tasked by the Guild to take part in a dangerous journey to the far west, a land now swarming with armies of angry giants. Paired with a grumpy warrior, a cheerful witchling, and a blind cat, Kinch has no choice but to serve the Guild’s demands, lest he wants to live on the run for the rest of his life. The world TBT is heavily reminiscent of old school fantasy: a world caught in a war between magical races, a soft magic system, medieval Europe, magicked Towers etc etc. Buehlaman created a compelling “vintage” world, with a refreshing approach to magic. The reduced focus on how magic works made the world whimsical and unpredictable. By the end of the book, readers have some understanding of how magic works, but really, all the fun lies in not knowing what to expect next. And Buehlman is a master in making his readers go ‘wow’: where else can you find upside down towers, assassins with living tattoos and mechanical horses all together? “My chances of dying on this voyage had just gone from decent to excellent.” The true highlight of TBT is its protagonist and narrator, Kinch Na Shannack. Brazen, cocky, idiotic, horny, self ironic, and with a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kinch’s existence is essentially a huge ‘fuck you’ to every over dramatic paladin prick who calls himself a hero. Always prone to expose the hypocrisy of society and the sad truths of reality, Kinch is the total opposite of the hero, but at the same time too ridiculous to be an anti-hero. Being a figure in-between, combined with his cheerfulness and indifference toward heroism makes him a unique protagonist, as is experiencing the world through his perspective. If Kinch is TBT’s biggest strength, he is also one of his biggest flaws. Kinch narrates the story as if on a stage: his intermissions to explain what is happening often result in lengthy info-dumps filled with rather useless informations. Another problem is that the constant intromissions break the pacing and, most of the time, add nothing relevant to the story. Buehlman dives into lengthy paragraphs where Kinch sings, complains, or overly explains very simple concepts just because. On the long shot the temptation to skip them was unavoidable, and I skipped many paragraphs by the end. Another huge problem is that TBT starts off strongly, to then loose itself because of Kinch’s meanderings, both metaphorically and not. The whole book feels like an jumble of short stories badly stitched together. In many instances two subsequent incidents are utterly disconnected, and thus the story reads fragmented and full of filler. At one point I mistakenly skipped a block of 4 chapters, but I ended up not going back to reading them since the story was perfectly understandable even without those 30 pages. The episodic nature of TBT made it really difficult to care about what was happening; too many times I found myself falling asleep because nothing relevant happened. I don’t mind slow books, but the sluggishness has to be justified! ”I pissed myself a little, I’m not ashamed to tell you.” The blurb of TBT is misleading. Galva, the warrior traveling with Kinch, is presented as his main companion and coprotagonist. In reality, Galva is probably the least characterized member of the cast. The true coprotagonist is Norrigal, the apprentice of a powerful witch, sent to the west by her aunt for motives yet unknown. Norrigal was, along with Kinch, the shining light of this novel. Brave, snarky and magical, Norrigal is one that should be nominated in the blurb, not Galva! TBT feels like a - very long - introduction to a funny yet epic fantasy series. If in the second volume Buehlman avoids meandering (and provides a summary of book one, because 70% of TBT is sadly filler, which I will forget in less than two weeks) and writes more plot into it I might come back to Kinch’s world, but everything is yet to be determined. Let’s hope book two is better structured than book one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Kinch Na Shannack is a trained thief who is forced to go on a quest with a knight, a witch and a blind cat. The book has the standard fantasy trope: go on quest, encounter obstacle (kraken, goblin), battle and defeat obstacle, repeat. This wasn’t a terribly long book, but it felt like it had a lot of filler during which Kinch just rambled on. I did like the world building in this book, but the rest of the book just wasn’t for me. There was a lot of humor that would appeal to 11 year old boys - s Kinch Na Shannack is a trained thief who is forced to go on a quest with a knight, a witch and a blind cat. The book has the standard fantasy trope: go on quest, encounter obstacle (kraken, goblin), battle and defeat obstacle, repeat. This wasn’t a terribly long book, but it felt like it had a lot of filler during which Kinch just rambled on. I did like the world building in this book, but the rest of the book just wasn’t for me. There was a lot of humor that would appeal to 11 year old boys - scatological, lewd, profane and silly. There was also a lot of gore. If those things appeal to you, you will probably enjoy the book more than I did. You might also make out better reading the print book rather than listening to the audiobook. The audiobook was read by the author who employed a very heavy, and often unintelligible Irish accent (plus a few other indeterminate accents). Even though I listened at a lower speed than usual, I missed a lot. Of course, if you skip the audiobook, you won’t hear the songs that Kinch sings. I didn’t hate this book but I probably won’t read the rest of the series. I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jayadev

    Kinch Na Shannack is a thief but not your typical fantasy troupe for thief (you know, the kind who grew up in the gutter, had a bad childhood, became a thief due to circumstances and all that other tried and tested stuff). He's not that special (well...kind of, but I won't go into that) but he was smart enough to get into a true school (School for those with a eye for thievery run by the Takers guild), a school that teaches you to be the best thief you can be. And in a world where there's academ Kinch Na Shannack is a thief but not your typical fantasy troupe for thief (you know, the kind who grew up in the gutter, had a bad childhood, became a thief due to circumstances and all that other tried and tested stuff). He's not that special (well...kind of, but I won't go into that) but he was smart enough to get into a true school (School for those with a eye for thievery run by the Takers guild), a school that teaches you to be the best thief you can be. And in a world where there's academies for wizards, soldiers and assassin's, why can't there be a school for thieves, seems only fair right?. And like any institution, they take you in, train you and then slap a huge debt on you and thus they own Kinch. When the guild takes interest in a certain knight whom Kinch unsuccessfully had tried to rob, they set Kinch to accompany the knight on her quest. She considered me. “What will you do for me?” “It’s what we’ll do for each other.” “So tell me.” “I’ll watch while you sleep. Sleep while you watch. I’ll lie to you when it doesn’t matter, but I’ll also lie for you when it does. If you let me do the talking, I’ll make sure you miss the pennycock with the pizzle-itch and get the best wine in the merchant’s barrel. You’ll never again meet a door you can’t get through nor a wall you can’t get eyes over. I need your arms, yes, but you need my nose. If you do the worst of the fighting, I’ll make sure you know where your foes are coming from and cull the weak ones. I won’t be your dog, but if you’re half the wolf I think you are, you’ve found a fox to run with.” And now I will rant about what I liked and what I didn't because It felt like everything that is in favour of the book could also be counted as something against it. The characters - The cast of characters are an enjoyable but an unlikely bunch, told entirely through the eyes of Kinch. Galva is a chivalrous knight who worships death, Norrigal is a witch in training, Kinch our narrator is well.......Kinch and Bully boy a blind alley cat (I am not kidding). The characters bounce off each other pretty well and their interactions are which comprises the core of the story, but that is where there lies the issue with it. Since the story is told entirely from the perspective of Kinch, your enjoyment of the book will depend on whether you like the witty, trash talking thief with a dry sense of humour that is Kinch Na Shannack, if yes then you will definitely enjoy the book. If not, then well...let's leave it at that. Personally it was a mixed bag for me, sometimes it worked while at other times not so much. In the end It would depend on whether what you liked outweighs what you didn't which was the case for me. The world - World building is my favourite aspect of any SciFi or fantasy book and I love it to the point where I end up forgiving a book for its flaws in character and plot just because I loved the world that was created. Thus it was a pleasure reading and just absorbing the intricate world that is Manreach. We are dropped of in a world that is still recovering from a series of wars that nearly destroyed it. It's not some drak lord or some orc-like threat like that brought about this catastrophe but Goblins (or biters as referred by the people) In case nobody’s bothered to tell you, and in case you haven’t seen one, goblins are ugly. Not like your odd cousin with too many freckles, no neck, and sausagy fingers; that’s plain homeliness. Someone will marry him if he can push a plow or brew beer. Goblins are fucking unmarriageable. Something deep in us knows they’re our blood enemies and reviles the sight of them, like a shark or a biteworm. They’re not like an ape, which you can look at and say it’s not so different from a man. But goblins? Something else again. The goblin wars left the kingdoms broken, drastically reducing the population of men and horses. Along with a whole other plethora of nasty things to consider. The author has clearly crafted a huge world overflowing with tiny details though as I mentioned above this amount of worldbuilding might be a turn off for some. It depends on whether you are a reader who enjoys character interaction or someone who mostly care about the overall plot. The Pacing - The book is written in what feels like an episodic manner with each few sets of chapters clubbed together to form a mini-story arc. The progression reminded me of progression in a video game. You start from point 'A' and need to get to point 'B'. But on the way to 'B', you get sidetracked with something that leads you to point 'C' returning to the main quest, you are again sidetracked to go to point 'D' inorder for you to complete some event in point 'B' . This continues as you progress further and the next thing you know, you're half way across the world in some prison about to get eaten. This style of progression obviously helped a lot to improve the worldbuilding but might be of everyone's taste. It's even more jarring considering the fact that this is a rather small book and seeing the amount of content in it, I honestly feel like it would've benefited the book more by making it a little bit larger so that everything doesn't cram into eachother (purely person opinion). As a conclusion, It's hard to give an objective review on the book consider the fact that a lot of the matter depend upon the narrator. You'll love the book of you like Kinch's character and narration, you won't enjoy it if you didn't. If you're like me and have a mixed opinion about the main character, then it'll be the little things that will end up making or breakng the book for you. Personally I loved the humour, writing style and worldbuilding but I can also see why some readers may not enjoy it as much. Thank you Orion Publishing group and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC for the book in exchange for an honest review. Edit: Spelling corrections (because I'm such a smartass that it only took me a little more than one week to notice the mistakes)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    10 stars. I listened to the audio version read by the author. It was captivating, is that the correct word? I would say yes, cause I was drawn in to the prose, not wanting to miss a single word of the narrative, which Buehlman presented with magical skill. I won't stop with the audio, I'll have to get my hands on the written edition, so I can stop and savor. It's that good and so many things: witty, gruesome, clever, fun, ghastly, horrific, gentle, caring, with creatures brought to life that sca 10 stars. I listened to the audio version read by the author. It was captivating, is that the correct word? I would say yes, cause I was drawn in to the prose, not wanting to miss a single word of the narrative, which Buehlman presented with magical skill. I won't stop with the audio, I'll have to get my hands on the written edition, so I can stop and savor. It's that good and so many things: witty, gruesome, clever, fun, ghastly, horrific, gentle, caring, with creatures brought to life that scare the bejeezus out of you (especially the goblins). I won't go into a narrative of what it's all about, if you love fantasy, especially on the grim dark side with unique characters drawn in to a dangerous quest, that only comes to light at the end of the story, then don't miss this book. I just can't recommend it enough.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Holly (The GrimDragon)

    Hmm. This surprised me. In a not-so-great way. EDIT: So.. I didn't love The Blacktongue Thief? Which surprises me just as much as it does you, I'm sure. It's always a bummer when one of your most anticipated books of the year doesn't pan out for one reason or another. This was basically a book about a meandering "quest" with an irritating misogynistic protagonist named Kinch, who constantly comments on how *attractive* he thinks someone is & his unsuccessful attempts to be funny. The shitty thing Hmm. This surprised me. In a not-so-great way. EDIT: So.. I didn't love The Blacktongue Thief? Which surprises me just as much as it does you, I'm sure. It's always a bummer when one of your most anticipated books of the year doesn't pan out for one reason or another. This was basically a book about a meandering "quest" with an irritating misogynistic protagonist named Kinch, who constantly comments on how *attractive* he thinks someone is & his unsuccessful attempts to be funny. The shitty thing is, the perfect main character was RIGHT THERE!! Galva, a badass fighter & survivor of the Goblin Wars who has the ability to summon a stag-sized battle raven. Instead, she's barely in this installment. COME ON! I would have ate that POV the fuck up! This has received a ton of advanced praise & I know many others are going to dig it, but it just didn't do it for me.. and that's okay! It's fine. I SAID IT'S FIIINE! Thanks to Tor Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

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