After surviving Thagoth and returning rich to Lucernis, Amra and Holgren have settled down to a very comfortable, if decidedly unexciting life…until the night Amra receives an old enemy’s head in a box.
A longstanding debt calls her home to Bellarius, the scene of many childhood horrors she would much rather forget. Yet, as bad as memories of the past might be, present-day Bellarius has become far worse, for the Eightfold Goddess has not forgotten about Amra. And another of the goddess’s Blades, the Knife that Parts the Night, now threatens to tear the very fabric of reality apart. All that stands in the way of utter destruction is one small, scarred thief and her mage companion.
“May all the dead gods take pity on anything that stands in my way, for I will not.” – Holgren
I have had a somewhat up and down experience with the Amra Thetys series so far. I greatly enjoyed book 1 and then I didn’t enjoy book 2 nearly as much, though it was still a good book. However, I can say for sure that The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow’s Gate was absolutely excellent and if that continues for books 4 and 5 it will propel this series into one of my favorite series of all time.
Here’s the thing. I love a good, epic fantasy with an incredibly intricate plot and detailed worldbuilding. However, I also love a good, light fantasy that focuses more on a thrilling story, characters that are just plain good people and that you care about deeply, and a smaller world that is easily understood and imagined. That was what this book was for me. Michael McClung knew exactly what type of book he wanted to write and did it to perfection.
“It’s good to have one person who believes in you. Especially when you’re having a hard time believing in yourself.” – Amra
Once again, Amra Thetys comes to the forefront of why I loved this so much. As I was reading I realized that Amra reminds me a lot of one of my favorite protagonists of all time, Vin from the first Mistborn Trilogy. Amra is a survivor by the strength of her will and sheer stubborness. Like Vin, many of her struggles and her strengths come from a hard and traumatic childhood. Amra’s character development is slow, steady, and in my opinion very realistic for someone who has gone through what she has. Amra is also incredibly likable. She is blunt, but not abrasive or rude and her witty, sarcastic humor to gods and mortals alike made me laugh more than a few times. Amra does not take crap from anyone and is easily my favorite character of this series. The side characters including the return of Holgren, as well as a host of brand new characters, each added something unique to the story.
The story takes place almost exclusively in a city called Bellarius, the town where Amra was born. Bellarius was incredibly atmospheric. This city was dark, full of corrupt government, gangs, thieves, and a palpable tension and danger. Also adding to this was that Amra was coming home to a place that held some of her darkest memories. The descriptions of Bellarius added a layer to the plot and world that would not have existed otherwise.
The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow’s Gate is a fast paced story with excellent characters, an intriguing plot, and a dose of humor and heart that allows us to see hope in a dark world. At a mere 250 pages, this book was so much fun to read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Read it!