Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “City of the Uncommon Thief” as Want to Read:
City of the Uncommon Thief
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

City of the Uncommon Thief

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  242 ratings  ·  101 reviews
The story of a quarantined city gripped by fear and of the war that can free it.

"Guilders work. Foundlings scrub the bogs. Needles bind. Swords tear. And men leave. There is nothing uncommon in this city. I hope Errol Thebes is dead. We both know he is safer that way."

In a walled city of a mile-high iron guild towers, many things are common knowledge: No book in any of the
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published November 10th 2020 by Dutton
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about City of the Uncommon Thief, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Beth You'll notice that the negative reviews often center on the book being "difficult to read" or "confusing". To me this is more about readers unwilling …moreYou'll notice that the negative reviews often center on the book being "difficult to read" or "confusing". To me this is more about readers unwilling to attempt a challenging book. Given time, the languages are translated, the characters are fleshed out and the history of the world is largely explained. Not that there aren't a couple remaining mysteries (who is the mysterious mearc-stapa?) But I am thinking that is because there is a sequel in the works!(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  242 ratings  ·  101 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of City of the Uncommon Thief
DNF at 10%

Unfortunately the writing style of this book was really not working for me. It seems confusing and needlessly complicated, at least in the first part of the book. It's unclear what is happening, who exactly this main character is, or why we should care about any of it, although the writing does become more understandable a chapter or so in. There are frequent references to Greek mythology, but without much context or established world-building which feels a bit pedantic. I like Greek m
Mar 01, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-reviews, dnf-d
**Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin/Dutton Books for Young Readers for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my rating for this title**

I consider myself a fairly well-read person in terms of High Fantasy books. I've read the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy AND The Silmarillion. I've read ACOTAR multiple times. I've read Game of Thrones. I do not give up easily when the world building is complex. This is a new level of nightmarish "world building" and for that reaso
Evie {Newt's girl}
May 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
"What is it in us that makes us hope for uncommon things?"

Okay, first off, the constant references to Virgil, Homer, Robin Hood, King Arthur and so many others was FANTASTIC 😍🥰 tbh might've been my favourite part!!! It was just *chef's kiss* 🤌😌

The shorter chapters made this book feel faster, but tbh, looking back, it kicked off with good action, slowed down quite a bit, and finished in a whirlwind. The world building was AMAZING (tho very confusing at first) and this is certainly not a world qu
Meredith Mara
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The time is an alternate reality or a dystopian future. The place is a walled-off city of 1,000 mile-high towers — fascinating! And also, quarantine?! Each tower belongs to a guild, and the guilds run the city — some extracting more influence than others. At ground level live the guild-less, who are exceedingly poor, creating a harsh divide in society. On the rooftops live teenage runners who (precariously) race the tightrope-like structures between buildings. Our hero (Errol Thebes) is one of t ...more
Paul Bookman
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As many other reviewers have noted, the language can be a bit challenging at first.

However, many things worth doing (or reading) are not easy. It's silly to assume one should be able to visit another country with a different language and customs and feel at home right away. Similarly, it is the strangeness of the world that can be overwhelming at first in COUT; it is also what makes it so special.

As I've been reading I've found that, with a bit of patience, the depth of the world brings great e
Tiffani Reads
Nov 21, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF at 37%

Thank you to Penguin Teen for allowing me to have an advanced digital copy of this book. Unfortunately, it was just not for me. I tried to push through but I was supremely bored while reading. At one point everyone almost starves to death and I was actually rooting for that to happen so this book could be done.

The concept seems really cool but just not enough substance was there to keep me invested in the story. I also found all the characters to be extremely dull and self-centred wh
Feb 06, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
“We’re at the mercy of a fleet of strangers from a world which walls us in.”

This was a very hard read. The dialogue is a mixture of “languages” and “slang” that slow down the reading pace. It made connecting with the characters and understanding their persona difficult at best. There is an intricate thought process behind the world-building I found intriguing. A world of teen runners basically ziplining from errand to errand across vast abyss-like distances to meet quotas. I was drawn in by the
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this hadn't been quite as long (due to padding) it could have been a five star.

Something has happened in this world, something that created a walled off city of mile-high towers, each tower belongs to a guild that makes some product eventually shipped to the greater world once a year. Teens can become runners, living on the rooftops for three(ish) years before serving as an apprentice to one guild or another. Ok, so far, so familiar, right? These runner love to play pranks on each other and o
Abbie | abbienruis
Sep 14, 2020 rated it liked it
A new spell-binding fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece.

Though confusing at times, the world-building in this story was so rich! I really liked the tone and atmosphere of the story. The plot was intriguing, and the writing. So many good lines. I'm a big fan of poetic but direct prose. However, it was a little too direct at points. I didn't feel like I was really in the thick of it with the characters, if that makes sense? And I feel like I would have enjoyed it more, had it been shorter. It was a
Melissa Mitchell
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤. 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐛 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐠𝐬. 𝐍𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐢𝐧𝐝. 𝐒𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐫. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲. 𝐈 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐄𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐝. 𝐖𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲.”—Lynne Bertrand

Unique. Different. Fun. I wasn’t quite prepared for how much this story grew on me. In fact, I ADORED it! I was intrigued, curious, and fully entertained. We all have tales to tell, especially Odd Thebes, and what a tale he weaves! The world building is fascinating, centered around the runners wh
Maris Bave
Full review on my blog: The Sea Writes

Ok. Ok ok ok. Where do I start?

First of all, I guess, a lot of the other reviews here say that they couldn't finish because of the writing, and I not understand? I found it to be pretty straightforward, and downright clever in places, but never confusing or overdone.

Second, I love the worldbuilding. It was honestly something I'd never read before, which is rare. That's obviously the shining star of the book. I also loved how the characters flippe
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-book
I LOVED this book. I don't really understand all of the reviews about not understanding the is a little confusing, but that's the point. You have to read the book to understand the world that it takes place in, and I like that I wasn't just told everything off of the bat. The narrator of the book isn't super likable, which is an interesting story telling technique (and that isn't to say that there are no likable characters––there are many). There is a longer than usual resolution, but ...more
Stuffed with myth, love of language, and heroics. A mix of Chaucer, Homer, and Pullman.
Feb 06, 2021 marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2021, arcs, fantasy
thank you to penguinteen and netgallery for the arc!

DNF... yeah... this one isn’t going to work out. i’m suffocated by the info-dumping and wildly confused...
Jan 31, 2021 rated it did not like it
Overall, this book came down to a confusing tale that felt, well, half-baked.

Spoiler-free Review:

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.
Amber Wessies
City of Uncommon Thief is not my typical go-to-read or genre preference. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are several made up words that match the created world in this tale, which can make the reading challenging in the beginning. As you continue reading these words seem less and less important to directly translate to English.
In this book, readers meet Odd and Errol Thebes two cousins who are "runners" in an unnamed guild city. They seem content to race across the flies, tell st
Story Eater
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, arc-2021
A brilliant, sophisticated tale told from the perspective of one Odd Thebes, bard of Thebes tower, one mile-high tower in a city of a thousand towers that stand, lofty, above a mysterious surface that carries secrets no one could guess until the tale runs to its end. Odd tells of his cousin, Errol Thebes, and many others who make up the guild city of towers locked in a search for a set of guild spikes that are uncommon. How uncommon they are is for readers to discover once they crack open the pa ...more
Kimberly (novelhaus)
This concept was such an interesting one that called to me but it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Unfortunately, I found myself confused in several parts and had a little bit of a difficult time keeping up with what was happening. I thought the world-building was a bit complicated but overall pretty good. I could place myself in the world but, again, I think if I was in the world I would be completely lost as to what was going on and why I should care.

I didn't really connect with any of
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An amazing and well crafted tale

I came to this book after a positive Kirkus review, and I’m so glad I read it. It’s a rare book where plotting, characterization, and world building come together to create a thrilling, gorgeous story. This book deserves more readers—don’t hesitate!
Rachel Emily
I won't be rating this book as I did not finish it. The writing style, the language, everything just didn't work for me. Major info dump and just general confusion.

Based on other reviewers, I'm not the only one who thought this once starting this book.
Megan (inkand.imagination)
This book had so much potential! A thieves guild fighting for survival in a mysterious quarantined city…I was so excited for this one! Unfortunately the writing style and the worldbuilding really left me confused and wanting more explanations.

The characters were really interesting though, and they were what kept me interested in the book enough to want to finish it. Also, I listened to the audiobook for this one which made it a little bit easier to understand. I think if I’d been reading the bo
Nov 29, 2020 rated it liked it
one of the richest YA worlds/world-building I’ve come across. unfortunately, it was just a bit too confusing for me. rtc!

a huge thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I'm sorry...but this book is really why I don't favor traditionally published books. Penguin Teen picks this one up and claims to be a choosy publisher when there are thousands of well-written indies out there that wouldn't have been considered? Ugh. Enough with my rant on the publishing industry though.

I like the cover of this book. I really do. And some of the descriptions were nice. But this book traded in actual good writing/a developed plot for fluff and overly "big and fancy" words. There
Amanda (A Reader in Time)
Thank you so much to the publisher, Penguin Teen, for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

DNF @ 15%

I am unable to connect with this book for a variety of reasons. The characters are difficult to understand and connect with, the world is so complicated and not explained at all and I am simply not enjoying this story. I always feel super bad DNFing an ARC that I was sent to review but I feel like it is the best option rather than continuing and ending up giving this b
Lynne Bertrand’s debut novel would best suit a targeted audience, namely readers familiar with Norse and Greek myths and epics, linguistics, as well as those who enjoy epic fantasy and pastoral literature with its parodies.

This is a difficult story to envision. Readers are immediately immersed into an alternate reality—whether it takes place in a future world or part of a medieval world is not really known. It’s simply “other.” It exists, however, with some relation to our world’s past, as the
Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)
Take this review as you will considered I decided *NOT* to finish the book. But after getting to around the 40% mark, I realized I can't continue with a book when I have no idea what's going on, who's actually telling the story, or what even the main plot of the story is. I am generally as confused as all get out and do not want to continue to waste my time reading this.

I had generally hoped if I continued to stick with it I would at least comprehend the basic plot. So there's some "uncommon" (i
Megan Houde
*Thank you to Penguins for the advanced copy for my honest review*

Well this was definitely an interesting read. A fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece steeped in myths and legends. My only complaint is that it’s extremely tedious. From the get-go I have no clue who’s talking. Then context was a bit muddled. I get it’s an advanced copy so there’s going to be imperfections, but some sentence ended in weird spots or with a letter and I was like wait what does it say. There’s also, what I’m assuming,
Sarah Newman
I loved this. I liked the writing, and the fact that everything wasn’t spelt out straight away. The narrator was gloriously selfish and unlikeable at times, which again, I perversely liked.
David Bylenga
Read for work. Glad to be done.
Alyson Stone
May 21, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, how-about-no
Book: City of the Uncommon Thief
Author: Lynne Bertrand
Rating: 1 Out of 5 Stars

Wow…This just was not the book for me. This is one of those deals where the book sounds like it’s going to be a hit for me but ends up being the opposite. I mean, we have a group of thieves who live in this harsh world and a world that doesn’t exist anywhere. It’s like everything is invisible except to those who live in this city. This sounds, to me, like this, should have been a five-star book. However, it wasn’t.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
  • The Wide Starlight
  • How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)
  • Together We Caught Fire
  • Small Town Hearts
  • A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, #2)
  • The Wife Upstairs
  • Piranesi
  • Make Up Break Up
  • The Shadow War
  • Our Chemical Hearts
  • Northanger Abbey: An Audible Original Drama
  • Cat Kid Comic Club
  • Vulcans Are Hot (Anna and The French Kiss, #1.5)
  • Now a Major Motion Picture
  • A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4)
  • The Cousins
  • Betty
See similar books…

Related Articles

Regular Goodreaders will already know that, each calendar month, we generate lists of that month’s most anticipated books, including romance...
83 likes · 10 comments