"The Blacktongue Thief" review


Title: The Blacktongue Thief

Author: Christopher Buehlman

Subgenre: High fantasy/Dark/Humor

2021 Bingo squares: First person, Published in 2021, Chapter titles

Recommend: Yes!

Stars: 4/5

A pretty dark story when all is said and done, but told by an engaging, hilarious narrator that it ranges from lighthearted to funny to bittersweet, and almost never feels as depressing as it should. We’re in a land that’s lost almost all of its male population and a lot of its female population to the Goblin Wars, and horses are all but extinct. Our narrator dodged the draft to join the Takers' Guild, and he’s teamed up with an honorable knight who of course fought in the wars. And now giants are attacking. Yeah, it’s a real pleasant place.

But…our narrator actually does make it a pretty pleasant place. He’s able to make light of almost every situation, and we really root for him even though he starts out as a pretty dishonorable, shitty person when you get down to it.

My favorite part of the book by far is the chapter called Towers. Hilarious segment, amazing narration, and perfect ending - it could make an incredible standalone short story even.

The thing that knocked it down for me a star is that the scatalogical humor and metaphor is way overdone for me. I could’ve done with about 1/10 as much as was crammed into the book - I get that it was in character for the narrator, but it was just not pleasant to read, not enjoyable, and not funny to me. I found myself trying to skip past several descriptive passages just to avoid it, but it was really quite constant. Funny once or twice, just gross the 20th time.

Cover of The Blacktongue Thief

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River is a MediaWiki developer and admins Leaguepedia. This blog contains her fantasy novel reviews.