River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder

Posted by

This read kind of what it would be like if you were reading more stories about Locke and Jean except one was a woman and the other one kept dying and then coming back from the dead as part of the heist fuckery. This is a story that centers around heists, there’s lots of creative cursing, and the banter is similar in tone and jest. There are chapter titles such as: “The One Time a Horse Almost Fucked Me”, and I Kind of Miss the Dick Spiders”, and “Dolphin Orgy” This is, however, it’s own thing in its own right.

It took me a minute to realize our MC, Nenn, was a woman. Everything is from her perspective written in the first person. It could be easily argued that Cord, her partner, is just as much of a MC as she is. Their relationship reminded me of Locke & Jean and there’s even a nod to the Gentleman Bastards early on in the book, getting ahead of the inevitable comparisons. Nenn seems to be the brains and the more cautious one of the bunch of thieves.  She can be convinced to do stupid things though, and now she’s found herself getting roped into the biggest heist of their careers … if everything goes to plan, they will have more money and riches than they could possibly spend in a lifetime. First, though, they need to build their team. Eventually, we have a team of side characters added over the first half of the book and for the most part, I enjoyed them. I think I found Lux the undead sorceress the most interesting, but my heart was all with Rek, a lumbering mountain of a man who loves kitties.

The plot was the weakest part of this book for me, sometimes it wandered around a bit… well more than a bit. There were times I got a little lost and forgot what was going on because the banter and weirdness going on around it obscured the plotline. I was really more in it for the characters and their banter, and the interesting world-building and magic. The fact that Cord kept coming back from the dead by vomiting up some odd creature caught my attention early. The “Harrowers” are just as eerie as the name implies. I liked the setting which took place mostly up and down a river and in small shanty towns with less than savory people.

The writing was clean, I didn’t catch any errors that I can remember, (I’m writing this review months after I finished the book). It was quick paced purely because the dialogue was so abundant and so enjoyable to read I just kept turning pages. I think I got through this in a day or two, and if you have a few spare hours this could make for a fun weekend worth of reading. I’ll definitely find the time to read more by this author. Also, look at that cover –  I might buy the hard copy because it looks so neat.

TLDR: Gentleman Bastards type humor mixed in with Pratchett. Quirky and memorable characters. Heists, rogue characters, group going on a mission. Neat world-building with old school mysterious magic, undead main characters, and wizards. Quick reads. 


  • Plot: 9.5/15
  • Characters: 13/15
  • World Building: 12/15
  • Writing: 13/15
  • Pacing: 11/15
  • Originality: 12/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 8/10 

Final Score: 78.5/100