The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When it comes to fantasy, I'm used to seeing workmanlike prose in service to a bigger story, usually brimming over with worldbuilding and cool scenes. In this case, we're embroiled in all that and some really sharp language. I mean turns of phrase, not curses. Although there are a good few of those, too.
I can't emphasize this enough. As a writer, I appreciate wonderful prose. Usually, I'm so pissed that I didn't write it myself that I want to smear the writer with some caustic substance and watch him squirm. This book gave me all those same feels.
As a deep fantasy with a thief and an interesting thieves guild falling into exactly the wrong kind of project, I enjoyed the magic, intrigue, and the interesting friendship with a warrior that ought to have been his mark but instead turned out, eventually, to be a friend. The whole tale doesn't go for the epic settings, but it does hunker down in the nitty-gritty, cat-loving, acerbic-quip funny businesses that you might expect from Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books. With, perhaps, a lot better writing.
Frankly, after having read a number of Buehlman's other novels, I didn't expect THIS at all. The man has some wide, wide range. It's fascinating to see and a better pleasure to read.
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