Review: The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis

Set in a world of goblin wars, stag-sized battle ravens, and assassins who kill with deadly tattoos, Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief begins a ‘dazzling’ (Robin Hobb) fantasy adventure unlike any other.

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Blacktongue Thief ( #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

The Blacktongue Thief is… astonishing. Buehlman has raised the bar on what makes a special fantasy debut, and not since Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames have I been so enamored from cover to cover. Absolutely brilliant.

People. I literally do not know where to begin. I’ve seen this book talked about for almost a year now (writing this as of 10/23/20) and it still has seven (7) months to go before it is released into the world. How do you talk about something that hits so hard and completely blows your mind without spoiling it for the masses?

Kinch may be one of the best POVs I’ve ever had the honor of tagging alongside. Through his eyes, we see sprawling landscapes, treacherous seas, hideous goblins, massive giants, huge war-birds, and so so much more. But what makes him so captivating is his mouth. Through his story-telling, every single piece of the larger picture is so accurately laid in front of the reader, dropping you into each scene with just enough description as to not overwhelm. His personality alone is enough to fill a room, what with an overabundance of sarcasm mixed with a teaspoon of sensitivity.

Buehlman’s writing style also shines throughout the book with tongue-in-cheek humor, descriptive narration that does not take away from nor slow the pace of the story, and prose fuh days. On top of the hilarious conversations, inner-monologues, and descriptive fight scenes, he also adds depth to the story with multiple cultures (which shape a majority of our main characters), tales, songs, an imaginative magic system, and the overarching hangover from the Goblin Wars.

I really don’t want to dive much deeper because this is one of those novels you just have to experience for yourself. I cannot recommend it enough. I believe it will be the best fantasy debut of 2021 and should be on every single pre-order cart/wishlist available. Fans of Eames and Abercrombie will devour these pages. I cannot WAIT for the next two (2) novels.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

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