Review: The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn (Kingdom of Grit #1) by Tyler Whitesides

Rating: 4/10


Master con artist Ardor Benn and his crew of intrepid thieves are hired to pull off a series of wildly complex heists, from stealing a crown to saving the world, in this daring fantasy adventure.Liar. Thief. Legend.

Ardor Benn is no ordinary thief. Rakish, ambitious, and master of wildly complex heists, he styles himself a Ruse Artist Extraordinaire.

When he gets hired for his for the most daring ruse yet, Ardor knows he’ll need more than quick wit and sleight of hand. Assembling a dream team of forgers, disguisers, schemers, and thieves, he sets out to steal from the most powerful king the realm has ever known.

But it soon becomes clear there’s much more at stake than fame and glory – Ard and his team might just be the last hope for human civilization.

Discover the start of an epic fantasy trilogy that begins with a heist and quickly explodes into a full-tilt, last ditch plan to save humanity.


Thank you to Orbit books for the review copy of this book. Receiving the review copy did not affect my review in any way.

I think I’m in the minority here when I say that I ended up not really liking this book by the end. The premise was excellent and I was actually really enjoying this one at the beginning. The buildup was good, but at the end of it all there were quite a few things that made this book much less enjoyable for me than it could have been.

To start on a positive note, I felt the characters overall were enjoyable and well done. Ardor and Quarrah were fun characters to follow as the 2 main POVs. Raekon, Ardor’s best friend and the brains behind their schemes, was a good character as well. These three had good chemistry and had some fun banter here and there as well. There were two disguise masters that help out our thieving gang that are highly entertaining and probably were my favorite characters overall, even if they were not often on the page.

The magic system was pretty cool as well. The concept of using different types of Dragon Grit (Dragon poop) to create different effects made each moment full of possibilities. The heists that are pulled using the different grits were very creative in large part because of the magic system.

However, that is where the positives ended for me. I don’t want to go into spoilers, but there was a reveal towards the end that had me really disappointed. It could have been incredibly epic, but for me personally it turned out to be somewhat lame and ruined what could have been a story I enjoyed.

Another part of the story that I didn’t enjoy was a romance that felt unnatural and clunky. It never felt organic. It was almost like the author had this idea at the beginning of writing that he wanted a romance and made these characters who would have been better as simply being friends have a romantic interest in each other.

One other thing that I didn’t really enjoy was the over explaining of the magic system. Although I liked the magic system, it seemed that every time the magic was used the author felt the need to explain it to the last detail and not trust the reader to fill in the blanks. I don’t mind an info dump in the beginning for hard magic systems because they can be complicated, but when it is consistent throughout the entire story it makes the action feel clunky and the stunts plot progression.

Although I didn’t enjoy most aspects of this story, I know that there are many more people who did enjoy and even love this book. Unfortunately for me, the negatives outweighed the positives and I will not be continuing the series.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Bummer! I hope you like your next book better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David S says:

      Thanks! I hate writing these types of reviews but it was an arc🤷. I finished this like a month ago so I have definitely enjoyed some books since then thankfully!:)


      1. I think negative reviews are just as important as positive ones. Someone could read your review and be drawn to all the things you didn’t like. I read a book based on a negative review a while ago. The person was underwhelmed by the lack of romance and I don’t like romance being a big part of a book, so I ended up really liking the book that person hated. Ha ha!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. David S says:

        Haha that’s awesome! I saw everybody else was really liking it so I was like…. sorry 😬. You’ve read it right?


      3. I really liked it, except one thing that I couldn’t mention because it would have been a major spoiler.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. David S says:

        My biggest issue was the secret of the Paladin visitants. I thought that was just….well lame like I said in the review and kinda ruined my excitement for the story


      5. Ah, suckage! I loved the complex heists.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. David S says:

        Me too! Especially the ones involving the two costume experts haha. They were hilarious


      7. I loved them so much! I would read a book just about them.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. David S says:

        For real! Maybe a novella prequel about how they pulled that con where he becomes a certain person that he plays in the books


  2. I really enjoyed this book, even if the twist at the end was bad for me too. I was just so disappointed with it!! 😭 But even if I wasn’t a fan of the romance part it didn’t bother me, and I enjoyed my time with it. I hope your next reading would be more satisfying!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David S says:

      There were definitely moments I enjoyed, but yeah the twist at the end REALLY didn’t work for me and the romance was so bland. They should just be friends haha

      Liked by 1 person

    2. David S says:

      I have already read a few books since then and enjoyed them all thankfully:)

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Mada says:

      Yeah I wasn’t too sold on the romance, and I think the MC needed another partner to fall in love with. This chemistry between the two was kind off rocky, it just wasn’t going to fit in my opinion

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Another partner for romantic purposes would have been great. It didn’t bothered me but it wasn’t so great, so I am with you both here!


  3. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book either, I read it a couple of years ago when it was initially released by Orbit with an awful cover.😂 At least the new covers are awesome. I was in the middle ground with the book, 3/3.5 out of 5 so not as low as 4 out of 10, but nice to know that I’m not the only one who didn’t love it as all, well most now of the new reviews fall into the ‘it’s brilliant’ category. We can’t love them all and onwards to a better next book for you.👍📚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. David S says:

      Haha it is nice to know I’m not alone in my opinion. Thanks Drew! I may have been a little too harsh with the number rating as I kept going back and forth between 4-6, but settled on 4 because some of the plot points were major disappointments for me

      Liked by 1 person

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