The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue, #1)

by Christopher Buehlman

Set in a world of goblin wars, stag-sized battle ravens, and assassins who kill with deadly tattoos, Christopher Buehlman's The Blacktongue Thief begins a 'dazzling' (Robin Hobb) fantasy adventure unlike any other.

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 Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva's. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

'The Blacktongue Thief is fast and fun and filled with crazy magic. I can't wait to see what Christopher Buehlman does next' - Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of the Lightbringer series

Reviewed by Quirky Cat on

4 of 5 stars


The Blacktongue Thief is Christopher Buehlman's latest novel, combining fantasy, science fiction, and horror into one neat bottle. That sounds like a perfect recipe in my book. Let us dive in.
Kinch Na Shannack has gotten pretty used to the idea of owing a life's worth of debt to the Takers Guide – a thieves guild who was so generous as to give him all of his training. Still, all debts must be paid, and this one will require drastic measures to get free of it.

In desperation, Kinch Na Shannack may have just picked the worst mark possible. Or, perhaps not the absolute worse, since he survived the encounter. Barely. Now his fate is tied to Galva, a knight, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. Yeah, that might have been a mistake.

"If you've never fallen hard in love and lost your heart's sovereign, go on and laugh at me. If you have, have a drink and dab an eye."

I went into The Blacktongue Thief expecting a high-stakes fantasy. What I got was even better. Everything about this novel was fast-paced, intense, and thoroughly entertaining. It's the rare sort of book that made me wish I could sit down and watch a video version. Or play a game like it...that would be a blast.

I think what really sold me on the read, other than a combination of my favorite genres, is the sense of humor that Buehlman infused his novel with. Kinch is a hilarious leading character, one that isn't afraid to speak his mind. Or fill his sentences with loads of swears.

It actually was perfection for releasing the constant build of tension. It worked nicely with the tale being told, especially from the perspective of a guy seriously in debt with the local thieves guild. Needless to say, Kinch was a treasure, and the highlight of the novel, at least for me.

"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."

Another highlight for me, and this one won't come as a surprise to anybody that knows me: there are magical tattoos! Yes! Plus giants, witches, goblins, and lots of other supernatural goodness (or badness, depending on your perspective).

If you're looking for a riveting fantasy read that is laced with humor, please consider giving The Blacktongue Thief a chance.

Thanks to Tor Books and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 31 May, 2021: Finished reading
  • 31 May, 2021: Reviewed