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The Blacktongue Thief

(Blacktongue #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 ratings  ·  331 reviews
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 S
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 25th 2021 by Tor Books
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Kate Mooneyham Just started the ARC. Not YA. Adult for sure, with the humor Chris has in his Renaissance Festival gigs.
Katalin Illés Yes, but it's not on the forefront. …moreYes, but it's not on the forefront. (less)

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Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books & Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

4.5/5 stars

The Blacktongue Thief is an immense entertainment manifesting in a fantasy novel.

Christopher Buehlman is most often known for Between Two Fires and more horror novels; this is about to change very quickly. The Blacktongue Thief is the first book in Blacktongue trilogy by Buehlman, it is his first high fantasy novel, and fro
Robin Hobb
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The usual caveat: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book, for free, from the publisher. I do not know Cristopher Buehlman. I do not believe that receiving a free copy of the book has influenced this review.

Note to readers: While this book is the first of a trilogy, I found it to be a satisfactory stand alone read.

There is a standard list of things that make me enjoy a book: Good characterization, a compelling plot, a well developed setting, a system of magic that works, a minimum of plo
Nicholas Eames
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy hell this was awesome. So funny, so harrowing, so endlessly inventive. Almost every page made me laugh or wonder at some phenomenally clever turn-of-phrase. I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020s, fantasy, reviewed
Have you ever read a book that you enjoyed from start to finish, delighted in everything that happened, but as soon as you put it down thought "Huh… that actually has a lot of flaws and I don't know who to recommend this to."

Well, I have now.

I haven't done this in a long time, but it's time to break out my old friends, pros and cons:


1. First off, as mentioned above, I delighted in this. I had fun from start to finish and really that is about the highest praise I can really give a book like
James Tivendale
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Blacktongue Thief in exchange for an honest review. Thanks go to Christopher Buehlman and Gollancz.

I've had my eye on The Blacktongue Thief for a while, with friends referring to it as the book they were looking forward to the most in 2021, and the ratings by reviewers I trust all coming back extremely positive. When a review copy arrived on my doorstep I decided to try it next to see if it lived up to the hype. Although to me, it won't quite be a bes
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“No crown sits so sure that a knife in the dark may not topple it.”

I have seen the hype this book has been getting and after being done with it I can tell you that it deserves every ounce of hype it can get! I was lucky enough to be provided by an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss and as usual, that does not affect my opinions on this one.

The cover is the first thing that attracted me when it comes to this book and after
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
When Robin Hobb calls something “Dazzling.” I stop what I’m reading and pick it up.

This book was an absolute delight from start to finish. I laughed out loud so many times, it might now hold the record. It’s that dry, sardonic humor I always appreciate combined with a strong voice that carried the entire story. Definitely unconventional, it was funny without being stupid and animated without being overdone.

I was completely enamored until about the 80% mark, then my evaluation brain kicked on for
After recently finishing a re-read of The Lesser Dead, narrated by this author, I knew I had to get the audio of his latest book: THE BLACKTONGUE THIEF. I pre-ordered it so I could have it on release day, but then I found the audio available on NetGalley and here we are!

This narration is as great as I hoped and maybe even a little better. I already knew that Christopher Buehlman is a talented narrator, but here his performance is flat out phenomenal. Tackling several difference kinds of accents
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
A fantasy adventure story where a thief and soldier team up to quest together? Sign me and all my friends the heck up! But where this world of beasts and magic delivers a couple awesome moments, sadly, its very minimal character build up and constant thrown together scenes that left no air to breathe between and no motivation to continue, I feel as though it never quite rises to the lofty goals it sets for itself.
Full review to come on my YouTube channel:
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dark-fantasy, arc, tor
Christopher Buelhman is a favorite author of mine, but I've been caught up with his work for a while now. When I saw this was coming out soon, I jumped on the chance for an ARC and here we are. To be honest? I think this is the best thing he's written so far!

Kinch Na Shannack is a black-tongue thief. He's still in training, but for now, he's in debt, (we'll call them student loans), and if he doesn't pay up soon, his future is uncertain. Until he pays those debts, he's forced to wear a tattoo o
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve struggled with how to start this review of Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief because I want to give it the recognition it deserves. So I’ll just go with this: it’s damn fine reading. I loved it.

Kinch Na Shannack is a thief-in-training with a couple of tricks up his sleeve, which might not matter much considering how far behind he is in student loans. And the debtors just happen to be the most powerful, far-reaching organization in the world. But Kinch has a chance to dig his way
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Fun from beginning to end

Review to follow...
Nils | nilsreviewsit
“I’ll watch you while you sleep. Sleep while you watch. I’ll lie to you, but I’ll also lie for you. If you let me do the talking, I’ll make sure you miss the pennycock with the pizzle-itch and get the best wine in the merchant’s barrel. You’ll never again meet a door you can’t get through, nor a wall you can’t get eyes over. I need your arms, yes, but you need my nose. If you do the worst of the fighting, I’ll make sure you know where your foes are coming from and cull the weak ones. I won’t be ...more
Jun 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard about this book, my initial reaction was: Interesting … but weird. Christopher Buehlman is a consummate horror writer, well-known for classics such as ‘The Lesser Dead’ and ‘The Suicide Motor Club’. Fantasy – and grimdark, no less – seemed a bit of a sideways step.

Then again, SF writer Richard Morgan, best known for the Takeshi Kovacs cyberpunk noir series, did also try his hand at grimdark, and the result was the spectacular ‘A Land Fit for Heroes’ trilogy. On the other end o
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Rating: 10/10

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Blacktongue Thief ( #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

The Blacktongue Thief is… astonishing. Buehlman has raised the bar on what makes a special fantasy debut, and not since Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames have I been so enamored from cover to cover. Absolutely brilliant.

People. I literally do not know where to begin. I’ve seen this book talked about for almost a year
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Great character driven fantasy with a fantastic protagonist, hilarious prose and a satisfying arc.
Spencer Orey
Jun 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great magic and nonstop adventure. But mostly, what a voice.

Do we already have a name for this new funny strand of grimdark? I've been reading a lot of cynical fantasy about competent people in a world that's permanently effed, but I haven't known what to call it. Snark fantasy? Snarky grimdark? Grimsnark?

Even for funny grimdark, this one is especially fun. There's a clever mix of deeply serious worldbuilding, with the aftermath of a lost and horrific war and a diversity of cultures and kingdoms
Library of a Viking
“I was about to die. Worse, I was about to die with bastards.”

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman is one of the most anticipated fantasy releases in 2021. This book has almost been unanimously praised, and as of 07.04.21, has a staggering 4.58 rating on Goodreads! Seeing all the praise for this book made me excited! So did this book live to the hype? Well, let’s talk about it.

The Blacktongue Thief follows Kinch Na Shannack, who owes a fortune to the Takers Guild. Kinch is a thief with
Brian Naslund
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with Kinch on page one. He's a hilarious narrator and I was also touched by his sensitivity. Christopher's world building is unique, precise, and masterfully woven into a page-turning story. I couldn't put it down.

There's joyful mischief dripping off almost every page, but also darker elements. Many of the characters carry deep physical and mental scars from the hard-won goblin wars, and the consequences of those horrors are both tragic and heartfelt. Fans of Nicholas Eames and Jo
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Blacktongue Thief proves a thoroughly amusing dark fantasy adventure full of verve and humor. The protagonist, Kinch Na Shannack, a scrappy and clever thief with more to him than meets the eye, provides an exceedingly entertaining narrative voice that really buoys the story with his self deprecating, sardonic humor and sarcasm as he's flung from rock to hard place and back again. How apropos that he chooses to worship the god of mischief, who might just grant a bit of luck to those who can g ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 but I'll round it up.

I’ve read everything Buehlman had published and loved all of it. To say I had high expectations for his fantasy debut would be an understatement of the year. To my relief (and delight!), Buehlman has delivered. Big time.

The Blacktongue Thief follows Kinch Na Shannack, an indebted thief who travels through a crime-ridden world in the company of a veteran knight, a witch in-training, and a blind rescue cat. Decades-long war with goblins wiped out a significant part of h
Jun 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After struggling a bit with reading during the spring I had no idea what to expect from this, other than the fact that it was a highly anticipated, and highly rated, book about a snarky-witted thief and a death-loving knight. Turn out this was exactly what I needed. I had such a good time reading this book. The tone of the main character's narration, and the dry sort of humour, really hit home for me. Plus there's a magic cat, and who in their right mind wouldn't love that. ...more
May 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley, audio
Kinch Na Shannack is a trained thief who is forced to go on a quest with a knight, a witch and a blind cat. The book has the standard fantasy trope: go on quest, encounter obstacle (kraken, goblin), battle and defeat obstacle, repeat. This wasn’t a terribly long book, but it felt like it had a lot of filler during which Kinch just rambled on. I did like the world building in this book, but the rest of the book just wasn’t for me. There was a lot of humor that would appeal to 11 year old boys - s ...more
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Kinch Na Shannack is a thief but not your typical fantasy troupe for thief (you know, the kind who grew up in the gutter, had a bad childhood, became a thief due to circumstances and all that other tried and tested stuff). He's not that special (well...kind of, but I won't go into that) but he was smart enough to get into a true school (School for those with a eye for thievery run by the Takers guild), a school that teaches you to be the best thief you can be. And in a world where there's academ ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Blacktongue Thief was one eccentric little fantasy novel, and I mean that in the best way possible! Now, I’ve followed Christopher Buehlman for a while, and I’m a big fan of his horror novels. This one is my fifth book by the author, his first fantasy, and like so many others I was curious to see what he could bring to the genre.

The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a blacktongue thief who belongs to the Takers Guild in
Virginja ↢ 99% imp

I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quotes reported are susceptible to changes upon publication.

”My five Upstart sons have declared against you
Their tongues are as black as their promise is true
And they’re coming, they’re coming, whatever you do!”

The Blacktongue Thief (TBT) is a fourth-wall breaking high fantasy, set a world in vein with the trends of the 70s Sword&Sorcery. This book has been in my radar for moths no
Di Maitland
3.5*s. This is an odd book. I think the best word to describe it would be grimey: everything's a bit dirty and (intentionally) imperfect. It had potential but I didn't care enough about the characters to love it.

"I can see ya think yer clever, and props y'are, but by my lights, yer nothin' but a dirty, black tongue thief and will ne'er be more."

Kinch Na Shannack is an average to good thief, in debt to the Takers Guild for his training. In exchange for forgiving part of this debt, the Takers
David S Meanderings)
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Quick review - If high stakes action, an unconventional quest, an unusual trio, monsters, and a cat companion sound good to you, read this book!

Full Review:

Thank you to Tor books for this arc in exchange for an honest review. Quotes shared may be not in the finished copy of the book. The Blacktongue Thief comes out May 25 in the US and May 27th in the UK.

This is a book where the plot primarily revolves around traveling. Typically for me, a plot about a journey being undertaken is not really my
Jun 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
For me an outstanding fantasy. A Tolkienesque style adventure but with a much coarser, down to earth, tone.

I found it a nice update of old style fantasy - plenty of magic, goblins, long journeys, witches, plus thieves and assassins, both of which must vie with each other for the most commonly used ‘professions’ of fantasy series. But somehow I found this a fresh and original story. Not least because the main character, Kinch, with his first person narration, was quite in character with his humbl
Holly (The GrimDragon)
May 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi

This surprised me.

In a not-so-great way.


So.. I didn't love The Blacktongue Thief? Which surprises me just as much as it does you, I'm sure. It's always a bummer when one of your most anticipated books of the year doesn't pan out for one reason or another.

This was basically a book about a meandering "quest" with an irritating misogynistic protagonist named Kinch, who constantly comments on how *attractive* he thinks someone is & his unsuccessful attempts to be funny.

The shitty thing
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“Shall we journey East together?"
She considered me. "What will you do for me?"
"It's what we'll do for each other."
"So tell me."
"I'll watch while you sleep. Sleep while you watch. I'll lie to you when it doesn't matter, but I'll also lie for you when it does. If you let me do the talking, I'll make sure you miss the penny-cock with the pizzle-itch and get the best wine in the merchant's barrel. You'll never again meet a door you can't get through nor a wall you can't get eyes over. I need your arms, yes, but you need my nose. If you do the worst of the fighting, I'll make sure you know where your foes are coming from and cull the weak ones. I won't be your dog, but if you are half the wolf I think you are, you've found a fox to run with.”
“This heavy, grass-loving dog,” 0 likes
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