Review: The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue #1) by Christopher Buehlman

Verdict: A good fun book…if you can connect with the protagonist and the humour.


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.



The book follows the adventurous journey of Kinch Na Shannack and his merry companions through multiple adventures on their mysterious journey. The journey is actually mysterious as neither the reader not the protagonist knows the end destination, till near the climax of the book. Kinch is a thief from a place where people literally have black tongues. So the title! The structure has its plus and minus as we have a burgeoning mystery to unravel, but at same time without the destination knows, it felt like a series of standalone adventures rather than a novel flowing to the climax.

The book is told in a Kinch’s first person PoV (Kinch’s) with support from various other characters. The prose is light fun laden with jokes, give-and-takes making a good still forming camaraderie between characters who just got together as they get to know each other.

The world is rich and diverse. We are treated to both racial and geographical diversity and get to meet a lot of interesting characters. What detracted me from enjoying the world was because the world was revealed by way of info-dumping through Kinch’s internal monologues, which detracted from the pace and flow of the book a lot. There are numerous nuggets of information on characters, races and gods that makes us appreciate the richness of the world.

The climax is pretty awesome. It just sneaked up to me and I was suddenly frantically reading the breakneck finale. It certainly added to the intrigue and promised a lot more in next book. Though I was able to guess part of it, but the way the events played out is attention grabbing and made a big impact.


Kinch is a charming go lucky rapscallion type of character who’s more likely say a bad pun in face of overwhelming danger! Being thrust into this journey to an unknown destination not knows and characters he doesn’t know before, he’s in a situation where he’s always behind the curve trying to catch up and trying to make a good situation of it. He’s witty, funny and has a certain flamboyant nonchalance to his bravado. I would have preferred if the author dealt a bit deeper into Kinch as in what makes him tick. What lies underneath the veneer of heroic bravado? Her certinly is one of the more interesting and intriguing characters, I’ve read recently.

Love Galva. She’s the rock to Kinch’s waywardness. A staunch believer in her goal and willing to risk everything for her beliefs and stands up for her friends. Though Kinch is the MC, Galva is the glue that keeps the gang together. Perhaps the dissonance in plot is because the quest is Galva’s, she’s the central character who moves the plot. She rightly should have been the MC imo, though Kinch is more fun to follow.

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