The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman – Review

Published: May 25, 2021

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: Blacktongue #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0


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.

What an unexpectedly hilarious adventure!! 

Kinch na Shannack owes the Taker’s Guild money for his training and we’re introduced to him as he’s about to unwisely help rob a dangerous looking traveller. It was most definitely a mistake, but the travelling warrior lets Kinch go. As fate would have it, he’s instructed by the Guild to travel with Galva to save her queen from a city invaded by giants. He’s also assigned a watcher, but he doesn’t know that quite yet.

In Kinch and Galva’s travels they pick up a few new companions – one a young girl witch and one a man who survived the Goblin wars who resents Kinch for their shared past. It’s a bloody and fierce path they tread towards the fallen city and the misadventures along the way are fascinating, plus they help to flesh out the world and make it feel truly alive and awful. The Goblin Wars are in the not too distant past, but they still haunt those who survived. Few men of a certain age range are left, almost no horses at all remain alive, and women are largely ruling things. It’s truly quite an interesting combination of circumstances and it keeps things fresh and somewhat thought provoking. 

I liked all the characters immensely, though Kinch is the most memorable of the bunch since he is the narrator after all. He’s irreverent, quick-witted, and hilarious, keeping you on your toes and keeping me in constant peals of laughter. Galva is quiet and deadly. I mean, she has a ferocious war corvid magically tattooed into her chest and survived the Goblin Wars. The witchling Norrigal was equally fierce, as one has to be in a hard world, and her relationship with Kinch was nice to watch grow. Malk was kind of unlikable at first, but he grew on me a bit by the end.

Wow, this review feels really all over the place (stressfully prepping for vacation!) but if you get nothing else from this, I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS! It was awesome and I had a great time listening to the audiobook. Christopher Buehlman narrates and you can really feel the enthusiasm and passion for his work coming through in the performance. I loved it!

3 thoughts on “The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman – Review

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