I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn
Published by Gollancz on September 7, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Dark Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
A thrilling fantasy debut—a high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice, and perfect for fans of Six of Crows!
In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.
For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down...but even the most powerful men can be defeated.
Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.
Among Thieves is the Money Heist Vs Assasins Creed mashup that we didn’t know we needed. MJ Kuhn talks to her readers like they are in the room with her. She’s sitting them down and talking about an idea she has, an idea of stealing a powerful relic and convincing us all it’s a great idea. She shares her wisdom with us in a dark and hypnotic fashion. Whilst reading Among Thieves I had many “aha moments, damn this is good and how can I be a part of this amazing group?” A lot resonated with me – putting on a front to hide the inner despair of a broken past.
Among Thieves is a genre-bending tale of criminality and magic. An unlikely band of criminals with varied skillsets from basic thievery to a master of disguises operates under the name of The Saints run by Cal Clem take on an impossible heist. The only problem? Well the only problem aside from it pretty much is impossible – they are criminals and they all want to doublecross each other. Rhyia, the butcher of Carrowwick, is a badass woman who’s been on the run for the last six years to keep her true identity safe. She will do anything to keep The Guildmaster of Thammor off her back.
Outrunning The Guildmaster, his Disciples, Sensers and other rival gangs is no mean feat. So when she overhears a conversation between the rival gang, The Kestral Crowns, and Toliver Shadowwood she knows this could be her key to finally getting The Guildmaster off her back for good. This is an opportunity she can’t turndown. So The Saints develop a plan to steal this artifact, the most perilous part of the journey is sailing to the Island but Cal Clem has been arrested without sharing the plan with anyone else…
A story with gut and determination. A story about self-acceptance, betrayal, and recovery. Told from five alternating POV’s Rhyia, the butcher. Nash, Queen of the seas, a character who at over six feet tall gave me serious Brienne of Tarth vibes. She’s someone not to be messed with. Tristan is a mysterious character, he’s been making eyes at Rhyia from the start and has a past that he’s constantly running from. The baby of the group, a bit of a pickpocket extraordinaire. Ivan is an exemplary con man, a master of disguises, and a major flirt. He’s got no trouble with conning both the elite and those stricken with poverty. Finally, we have Evelyn, ex Needle Guard Captain. She was becoming something of a high-functioning alcoholic until Cal Clem offered her something she couldn’t refuse. Now she’s part of this crack-shot team and trying to capture the impossible.
Among Thieves is fully imagined and hopelessly makes your head spin. An original work of suspense, murder, and betrayal. A real generosity of female spirit and endurance resides within the pages.
ABOUT M.J. KUHN
M. J. Kuhn is a fantasy writer by night and a mild-mannered office worker by day. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, a puppy named Wrex, and a cat named Thorin Oakenshield.
Less than a year into her life as a full-time office-worker she began using her nights and lunch breaks to work on her first novel, and she hasn’t looked back since.
When she isn’t reading or writing you can find her playing the piano, weightlifting, or anxiously awaiting the next installment of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Find M. J. on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @mjkuhnbooks