The Blacktongue Thief
by Christopher Buehlman
Kinch owes the Takers Guild a large debt, leading him to pair up with the knight Galva on a dangerous journey.
A character-driven dark fantasy with a sense of humor. I really liked the main character of Kinch and seeing this world through his eyes. He’s rather snarky and crude. Talented without being an untouchable chosen one. He’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally love a sarcastic main character that balances out a dark setting or a tense plot. And Kinch does just that. Along with the incredible Galva, a blind cat, and a handful of other companions, there is an interestingly well-balanced group surrounding our main character.
There are a lot of cool elements in this fantasy world. It’s dark and war-torn. The people are still highly on edge from recent events. The goblins involved are one of the most terrifying versions of the creatures. There are other fantasy races as well. There’s a bizarre tattoo magic that I really enjoyed and I’ve never seen anywhere else. There are also some other magical elements that I thought were really unique.
The beginning of the story is the lengths we’ll go to to earn enough to pay back our student debt. Relatable, but honestly, a funny and interesting setup for a fantasy plot. It gets a little deeper than that, but that’s the initial pull for the main character. There are a lot of shorter chapters which, although they are divided up rather nicely, make the whole story feel rather episodic even though it is one big adventure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I found it made the overall adventure feel a bit less cohesive than if the parts had overlapped more.
Overall, I think this is a really fun fantasy read. Maybe not a new favorite, but I had a great time reading it. Definitely recommend if you want to experience a dark fantasy adventure through the eyes of a snarky main character.