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The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue, 1) –…

The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue, 1) (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Christopher Buehlman (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
1336164,704 (4.21)-
Teoksen nimi:The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue, 1)
Kirjailijat:Christopher Buehlman (Tekijä)
Info:Tor Books (2021), 416 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

The Blacktongue Thief (tekijä: Christopher Buehlman)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
When an author I’ve previously read decides to write in a different genre I’m always more than curious, and this foray into fantasy from horror author Christopher Buehlman was no exception: a few fellow bloggers who read The Blacktongue Thief before me mentioned the appealing mix between humor and grimness, which led me to think the book’s overall tone would be in the same range as Joe Abercrombie’s, but once I started the novel I found something quite different, while equally enjoyable. If you’ve read Nicholas Eames’ Kings of the Wyld, you will know what I mean when I describe Buehlman’s approach to narrative as a fine balance between adventure, bleakness and humor, a mix fueled by the main character’s unique voice and his happy-go-lucky, irreverent attitude that endeared him to me from the very start and turned him into an entertaining, delightful protagonist who hogs the limelight with no effort at all.

Kinch Na Shannack is a member of the Takers Guild, which means he’s a thief, but sadly for him a very indebted one: the tuition fees he owes to the Guild have not been paid in full, and until he does - devolving his hard-earned profits to them - he must go around with a tattoo on his cheek that makes him the object of sonorous slaps in every tavern: those who hit him can get a free drink, courtesy of the Guild. Hard-pressed to pay back his… ahem… student loan, Kinch falls in with a group of highwaymen, and the first victim they pick is quite the wrong one: Galva is a skilled warrior and she dispatches the would-be thieves without breaking a sweat. Tasked by the Guild to attach himself to Galva, who is on a mission of rescue, Kinch strikes a bargain with her and the two embark on a journey through a land infested by giants, goblins and assorted monsters, gathering a young witch and a former countryman of Kinch along the way. Oh, and let’s not forget Galva’s quite impressive war corvid and the adorable Bully, blind cat with some surprises under his whiskers! :-D

Kinch is a thief indeed, not only because that’s his chosen profession, but because he literally steals the scene from the get go, relaying his adventures - and those of his companions - with a flippant, often profane delivery that nonetheless manages to convey a great deal of information about his world. And what a world this is, indeed… One that is barely recovering from a number of wars with flesh-eating goblins, and is now facing the very real possibility of an invasion by giants; a world where magic is present in many forms and can be learned and used though careful training - Kinch himself has acquired and can use a trick or two. And then there is the Takers’ Guild: not the only guild on the territory, but certainly the most powerful, and clearly willing to amass even more influence through ruthless political maneuvering and a spy system that would be the envy of many such entities in our very real world.

The quest involving Kinch and Galva, together with young witch Norrigal and the thief’s old pal Malk should be a noble one, at least in the intention of Galva the knight, who is on a mission to rescue her queen, but thanks to the uneven mix of the group it turns into a riotous adventure punctuated by weird meetings, bizarre happenings and a few truly scary encounters that pay due homage to the author’s roots in the horror genre. And here is one of the true achievements of the story, Buehlman’s ability to seamlessly blend Kinch’s devil-may-care delivery of the journey with a few moments of blood-chilling dread: it takes great skill to depict a scene in which sea-faring goblins are butchering a human captive for their meal and turn it into a song-driven affirmation of courage and life; or to showcase what looks like a game of tug-of-war and suddenly turn it into a deadly affair resulting in a very unexpected loss - if you’ve read the book and know what I’m referring to, I can tell you that I’m still reeling at the way that scene ended.

The whole story revolves around Kinch Na Shannack, of course, partly because he’s the - sometimes unreliable - narrator of it, but mostly because it’s a sort of coming of age journey: the thief is a grown man, as far as age is concerned, but he’s still trying to learn who he is, what he wants (apart from repaying his debt to the Guild, that is…) and where his loyalties lie. He might depict himself as a foul-mouthed, unscrupulous individual:

If honor decided to attend our adventures, I only hoped I’d recognize her; she’d been pointed out to me a few times, but we’d never really gotten acquainted.

or offer his more juvenile, irritating behavior in many situations:

The lead dog [...] huffed two low barks. I barked back at him. I don’t know what I said, but it might have involved his mother, because he began to growl.

but under these masks he wears he’s basically a good person, and Kinch shows that when trouble and danger come knocking at the party’s door and his actions belie his outward flippant attitude. He is… well, a heroic anti-hero, for want of a better definition, and that’s one of the reasons he captures the readers’ attention and keeps it firmly focused - and in so doing decrees the success of this story.

Perversely enough, this intense focus on Kinch - no matter how rewarding in the overall economy of the story - is the reason the other characters suffer a little and don’t get the space they deserve: they are well fleshed-out, granted, and offer the perfect foil to our reckless protagonist, but still they are somewhat relegated to the sidelines, and that bothered me a little because I would have loved to learn more about silently heroic Galva or impishly delightful Norrigal, but still I quite enjoyed this novel - particularly when the breathless finale kept me on the edge of my seat - and I more than look forward to seeing what Christopher Buehlman has in store for his brazen thief, and for us readers. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Oct 15, 2021 |
This book has been on my radar for a really long time and I was both SUPER excited to finally get my hands on it and SUPER anxious to see if my (not so) patient waiting was all for nothing. Due to Life, Time has been a bit wibbly wobbly lately so I was only able to ingest this read in fits and starts BUT that was a Me thing, not due to any fault of the book.

This thief (working for the evil guild) --> (relatively) Good Guy trope was addicting from the very first chapter. There were large Battle Ravens and the warriors (who happen to worship Lady Death as their God) that harbored and fought alongside them. There was a unique magic system showcased by magical: tattoos, Golems, animals, forests, meals etc... There were sea monsters featuring the shockingly sentient and surprisingly methodical Kraken. There was the tried and true trifecta of Witches and Goblins and Giants... oh my. There was a bevy of Gods to chose from and nefarious guilds (to avoid)... malicious Illuminati bent on World domination.

Our MC, Kinch Na Shannack, was from the Thief Guild (although he definitely made that decision under duress)... he's a thief with a well honed (actual) black tongue, a razor sharp wit and an internal meter allowing him to gage the probability for Lucky outcomes. He is definitely one of those characters that you either love or loathe. I for one relished his bizzar, and oft times tangential chatter and his, and especially his moon wife's, humor. All of the characters are gray hued and relateable and lovable/ loathsome in their own complicated ways... it's great!! The dialogue was also excellent!! It was both organic and (often) very funny. The World Building was incredibly rich and set so subtly that there was no rambling for pages and chapters trying to set the background just so... it was simply laid out like breadcrumbs... tidbits gently accumulating, leading to an expertly fleshed out, full-bodied, vibrant World of high fantasy.

This is one anxiously awaited read that met its larger than life expectations head on and not only kicked butt but deftly won over my heart to boot. I can't wait for book #2! ( )
  BethYacoub | Aug 11, 2021 |
The Blacktongue Thief : 1
By Christopher Buehlman

I just loved this book! Going in my favorite folder! Full of everything I love in a book! There's great adventures, terrific and interesting characters, unpredictable and unusual plot, fun dialogue, dry humor that had me snickering and giggling, all kinds of creatures, magic, touch of snark, and a slash of romance.

In here there be krakens! There's also giants, goblins, golems, hybrids, and more! Some of the people are worse than the monsters!
Lots of exciting adventures that kept me turning pages and enjoying this well developed world! I can't wait for book #2! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Jul 28, 2021 |

This is a strange, strange book, more like a bawdy ballad or a prolonged and updated Canterbury tale. I suspect it's a book where you either go, 'Wow, this is amazing' or you go 'What the hell is this?' I strongly recommend the audiobook version. Christopher Buehlman gives a remarkable performance. He adds the music to the lyrics of the text.

By the time I was twenty per cent into the book, I still wasn't quite sure what I was listening to but I was very eager to hear more of it.

'The Blacktonue Thief' covers all the traditional magical quest territory but it's nothing like any other magical quest story I've read.

The narrator is neither hero nor anti-hero. He's just a guy with debts to pay who is trying to get by without doing anything that will make him hate himself or failing to do something that will make the people he's indebted to kill him and his family.

There's a blind cat. That should be cute, right? Except it turns out to be one of the scariest things in a book full of scary things.

It's not unusual to imagine a world where Goblins go to war with humans but it is unusual to have such, ugly, alien, disturbing to think about Goblins and then know that they almost succeeded in exterminating humanity.

It's not unusual to have sword-wielding magic users on a quest. It is unusual to have magic tattoos that allow them to carry creatures within their bodies until they're needed.

The most unusual thing of all is how the tale is told. It's a troubadours ballad. The kind of thing a wandering minstrel might have performed to crowds to garnish pennies. It's an Irishman's tall tale, using exaggeration and humour to tell a sometimes grim truth. On the surface, it's all smiles and flashy action but deeper down there's an acknowledgement that the world is broken and no one, especial the little band on the quest, is going to be able to fix it. There's a lot of humour and a little love and occasional flashes of vivid action. Note to self - NEVER play Pull with a Goblin, you will not end well.

I had a great time with this book. I think it's truly exceptional. It's also extremely hard to explain - to quote an old movie, 'it's like trying to describe dayglo orange to a blind man'. So, if you think you might enjoy this book, click on the SoundCloud link below and see if it whets your appetite. If it does, say hello to the blind cat for me - but keep your distance.

https://soundcloud.com/macaudio-2/the-blacktongue-thief-by-christopher-buehlman-... ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Jun 17, 2021 |
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

The Blacktongue Thief is one of the best fantasy books I've read in ages! It's right up there with Lord of the Rings in terms of world-building and characters you want to root for. Kinch was definitely more developed than the others, but I was satisfied with how fleshed out the secondary characters were (more would have been lovely, because they were all uniquely interesting). I was surprised by how much I started to care for certain people, and heartbroken when something unfortunate happened to someone I'd grown used to. It was hard to like everyone, but I did enjoy their presence on the pages.

Buehlman has masterfully woven a tale of unlikely heroes, since Kinch himself is a certifiable thief trained by the Takers Guild. He's done some questionable things in his life, but his personality and heart more than make up for it. He's not afraid to do what needs to be done, but that doesn't mean he goes out of his way to do it. I wouldn't say he's loyal or trustworthy (he is to an extent), but he does care about Galva and Norrigal in his own way. He's also hilarious and I loved his sense of humor and way of viewing the world. His love of a blind cat is probably what cemented my affection for him.

This book was also a little dirty and a lot dark. The author didn't shy away from the nitty gritty bits of the world he created, and we get to see our fair share of impossible situations and unfortunate circumstances. People that are just trying to scrape by however they can, and the lengths they will go to for a few coins. I was thoroughly entranced by this story, and my heart hurt for these fictional people and their make-believe problems. That's how you know when a book is good - you care for something or someone that isn't real. Also, the language used in this book isn't for the faint of heart or those that would rather avoid obscenities and indelicate situations. I don't mind cursing and vulgarity, and even though Kinch used words and phrases that were unfamiliar, their meaning wasn't hard to figure out. ;)

I started reading a physical ARC of this book, but then I stumbled across the audiobook on NetGalley. Friends, if you have a chance, listen to this one! The author narrates the story and it was a truly amazing experience. Kinch's voice is something I'll be able to recall for days, if not longer. It was so unique and distinctive; I felt as if I were traveling right next to him on their journey. There's also singing! I've never heard a narrator sing before. They usually just read the words - sometimes with a little change in their voice - but this book had singing. I loved it. It made the book even more memorable, in my opinion.

At first I wasn't sure this book was going to be a good fit, but I am so glad I stuck with it. It took me a few chapters to get used to the world and its rules, but now I feel like I've lived there my entire life. Buehlman has created new languages, new peoples, and new monsters. I'm sure I'll have nightmares about goblins in the future, especially after what happened by the fence. I'm not going to lie, there were some BRUTAL aspects of this book that really made my stomach turn. I think it says a lot about the writing that I was able to feel so repulsed by certain actions and still wanted to keep reading.

Weirdly, I enjoyed the book's leisurely pace. It wasn't slow by any means, since the characters were constantly facing this or that challenge, but Kinch does love to tell a story. He used stories and anecdotes to educate readers on different aspects of the world we're reading about, and I thought it was crafty of the author to build the world through the eyes of one of its inhabitants (based on that person's experiences). Old tales, stories about gods and goddesses, a tale sung in a tavern - all added additional layers to the world. There's plenty of fighting, and the author does skip through some of the traveling, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable experience.

I honestly cannot praise this book enough. It doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but it did feel like the author pressed pause on the story. There's definitely more in store for Kinch and the others, but I have no idea what their future will look like. We're left feeling hopeful, and also a little sad. There's a lot to love about this book, but it will definitely play your emotions like a fiddle (iykyk). It's one I always looked forward to picking up again, and one I know I'm going to be thinking about for days. A few times now I've caught myself reaching for something that isn't there, so I'm already eagerly awaiting the next one. If you enjoy fantasy books, make sure you add this one to your TBR! (★★★★★)

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  doyoudogear | May 27, 2021 |
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