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Review

The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://somethingstickythiswaycomes.blogspot.com/
SERIES: Amra Thetys
PUBLISHED: October 8, 2012 (Self-published)
PAGES: 205
GENRE: Dark fantasy

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Blurb

Amra Thetys lives by two simple rules—take care of business, and never let it get personal. Thieves don’t last long in Lucernis otherwise. But when a fellow rogue and good friend is butchered on the street in a deal gone wrong, she turns her back on burglary and goes after something more precious than treasure: Revenge.

Revenge, however, might be hard to come by. A nightmare assortment of enemies, including an immortal assassin and a mad sorcerer, believe Amra is in possession of The Blade That Whispers Hate—the legendary, powerful artifact her friend was murdered for—and they’ll do anything to take it from her. Trouble is, Amra hasn’t got the least clue where the Blade might be.

She needs to find the Blade, and soon, or she’ll be joining her colleague in a cold grave instead of avenging his death. Time is running out for the small, scarred thief.


Review

ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads

“But why would you care about honor?”
“If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.”

Trouble comes knocking when Corbin Hardin appears on Amra Thetys’ doorstep with an unknown artifact in tow, requesting she hold onto it for safekeeping. The two being thick as thieves, both in literal and figurative senses, Amra agrees without much question. When Corbin fails to retrieve the item the following day as promised, Amra is immediately swept into a whirlwind investigation of his heinous death, set on bringing justice to her friend’s murderer. Her path of vengeance is hindered by deceit, magic, and immortals, but she refuses to let this crime go unanswered. With aid from unexpected places and a thief’s network of resources, she’ll go any length, and face any adversary, to lay this nightmare to rest.

Kerf’s crooked staff! Wonderfully concise with all the fat smartly trimmed away, The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braids is a truly remarkable, thrilling, and unforgiving story, perfectly wrapped in a little package. The surface is decorated with blood, treachery, and cynical banter, but on the inside is an inspiring account of loyalty and dedication. It’s a tale of how the need for vengeance clouds one’s judgement. Of the power of secrets and jealousy, and the absolute control they hold. How the worst feeling anyone could ever express is apathy – the indifference the enemy from within that’s more potent and dangerous than any external threat.

Of my many favorite aspects of this book, the beautifully developed characters, their relationships, and their refusal to conform to stereotypes definitely tops the list. Amra, lucrative thief and heroine with an unremitting loyalty to those she holds dear. Everything from her looks to her morals seems to be about balance – she’s neither pretty nor ugly (regardless of her scars), neither noble nor malicious. Inconspicuous, unnoteworthy, yet witty and more than capable. She swears like a sailor and commands great respect from those surrounding her. Holgren, a mysteriously powerful mage who’s atypical of your traditional mage. He’s willing to help others without asking for recompense, and has a sociable personality with a cynical sense of humor. It’s obvious there’s more lurking beneath the surface and hopefully we’re able to explore that in future books. Bosch…absolutely repugnant. Bosch’s employer…you’ll see!

The city of Lucernis and surrounding territories are handsomely crafted, everything from the upscale villas upon the cliffs overlooking the Dragonsea to the ramshackle abodes bordering the charnel grounds, each region is illustrated in vivid, immersive detail. Rich history is hinted at by introducing various deities and describing them by the actions and personalities of their priests and acolytes. Descriptions don’t take up too much real estate, the world speaking for itself as you’re dragged along the sprawling streets at a breakneck pace. The darker and grievous facets of the story balanced with a sardonic tone is, in my opinion, the perfect recipe for an amusing and engaging adventure.

Looking back, I originally shelved this book at the beginning of 2017…2017! I’m literally chiding myself for waiting so long to finally dive in. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have already ordered the rest of the series to catch up on the misadventures of Amra Thetys. If you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read of thieving, mystery, and magic, this is the one you’re looking for. Onto the next!

Justine Bergman

Web developer by trade, ravenous reader, excited reviewer, dark fantasy enthusiast, mother of pups, drinker of strong coffee, and player of games. I'm also a contributor over at Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive, and I love sharing the love.

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