So The Thief is about a thief (yes) named Gen who we first meet in the king’s prison after he was caught stealing something audacious and then bragging about it in the pubs. Enter the king’s magus, who offers to get Gen out of prison if he will use his considerable thieving skills to steal something important for the king. The thief, the magus, and the other folks in their little party then ride around dodging soldiers, looking for this mysterious object, and trying not get killed by any of their enemies. The actual thing they’re trying to steal was a bit of a MacGuffin for me, but Gen is a smart, tricky character, and up until the last minute it’s never quite clear who’s using who and how much Gen is controlling the situation. It’s suspenseful with a dark edge (there are deaths along the way and prison is not sugar-coated), but Gen himself is very entertaining.
It’s the second and third books that take the action to a whole new level with intrigue and awesome characters and complexity. However, it’s challenging to talk about these, because you can’t even describe the most basic plot elements of any books past the first without ruining the fun of the first book. So I’m not going to say a word about what happens in the rest of this series–I’m not even going to write out the titles. You’re just going to have to trust me when I say that books get twistier and darker and better.
This is like when I owned paperback copies of the Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart books, a YA Victorian mystery trilogy he wrote before his famous His Dark Materials trilogy. They’re great books that I was constantly loaning to people, but reading even the first line of the description on the back of the second book just about ruined the first one, so I taped post-it notes over the back of the books so that I could hand someone the whole stack with spoiling them on the plot before the were ready. So consider this review a virtual stack of books with post-its taped on the back. I love these books. The third one is my favorite, but these are quick reads and fit nicely together as one whole story. I should have listened more carefully to Anna when she initially told me about these, since she’s always right these things. Don’t make my mistake!
You might also like: The Phillip Pullman books that I mentioned, actually, as well as a number of things that we’ve already raved about here: the Graceling books by Kristen Cashore, The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson, and the His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers (the killer nun books). You might also like
Yay! I am so glad that you enjoyed this series as much as Rebecca and I do, and I think you are giving me too much credit – it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I’d completely forgotten to let you know that the sequels are really where the series gets moving. It is really hard to recommend them, though, since you have to emphasize that the person really needs to avoid all descriptions of the subsequent books. I like your post-it idea, though!
Also, I’m definitely going to have to check out some of your “you might also like” recommendations – I don’t think I’ve even heard of Cinda Williams Chima before. (Oh, and also, as much as I love the Sally Lockhart books, that third book was such a nightmare situation that I can’t ever reread it.)
I loved these so much. And I think you’d like The Warrior Heir books–I read three, but just now looking at Amazon I see that there are now more. I don’t feel the need to go track the new ones down immediately, but the first book, especially, had some cool elements.
And, yeah, those Sally Lockhart books are not easy. I think Philip Pullman just likes breaking his readers’ hearts.