I don’t typically like the thieves or con artists in books or movies – for instance, I don’t typically enjoy movies like Oceans 11, Heist, or Swordfish. I don’t know what it is exactly, maybe I just can’t get over the fact they’re taking things that aren’t theirs? I’ve been robbed a few times IRL and I just don’t click with those sorts of plots. But, I did really like this book and I think it was because of the nicely done prose, great world building, darker humor and excellent character development.
This was basically reading about Venice in a fantasy setting and I got a big kick out of that, I love new settings and I haven’t read about a water based city before. The culture he sets up is nicely done as well, with the aristocrats, artisans, commoners, and slaves – although the slaves weren’t really touched on too much outside of the fact they exist.
I don’t like beast fighting in any book, and this book wasn’t an exception. There are shark fights and giant squid fights with volunteer warriors or criminals who are forced into it, and I guess some people may have liked that part of it – but what it did do is settle you into the mentality of the crowds/people of this world.
Locke has been set up to be a larger than life sort of character, where “only he” can get away with certain things. This usually bugs me if there isn’t a reason for it, so I hope there’s a reason given that Locke was just born a crazy-good thief.
Jean is my favorite, but I always tend to like the more serious counterpart to an “odd couple” friendship.
The Theifmaker was an awesome way to set up the book, it reminded me a lot of Varys from ASOIAF. Lots of little children being led by a guy to steal things, but instead of information he just wants trinkets and things to sell for money.
Chains – I really like this sort of mentor, sort of a backwards mentor but I do think he cared about the kids he was raising. What I liked most was his lesson he gave to locke about being careless and causing unnecessary deaths. It sets up why Locke is the way he is later on in the books. I think if Locke was a murderous dickbag and a theif this book wouldn’t have worked for me.
The Gray King – what an asshole. He does a very good job with this lunatic of a character. Some imaginative torture/death techniques from this dude. Great villain.
What I love most is the humor in the dialogue between characters.
I was gripped right from the beginning! I’ve heard some people think this starts out slow, but I don’t really get that. Right away we’re given a mysterious band of children that steals in a city full of plague, death, and adventure.
I was caught off guard by an incident in their den which was early on in the book, it really picked up the pace then and got you pissed off very quicky at someone called The Gray King.
The only draw backs: It can come off as a *tad* cheesy with their dialogue sometimes, and Locke is so much larger than life sometimes it’s hard to really believe what he’s doing. But, it’s counterbalanced by some failures so it’s not so absurd I can’t enjoy it.
4.7/5 – I gave it 5/5. This was an incredible debut novel.