The Thief Who Pulled On Troubles Braids by Michael McClung

Rating 8.3/10
Well paced, balanced and genuinely interesting and exciting

The intriguingly named The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble’s Braids is an entry into the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (or the #spfbo as it is better known). Two hundred and fifty titles originally took part in the competition, where they were read and reviewed by ten fantasy book review blogs, who each chose their winner, or champion, to battle forth into the second and final round. Michael McClung’s The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids is the champion of Elitist Book Reviews and a fine champion it is too.

When I received the ten finalists from author Mark Lawrence (who has arranged and managed the entire competition) I read the first chapter of each and every book and The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids was definitely my favourite. It was really nicely written, featuring an instantly engaging storyline not weighted down by world building or ridiculous naming conventions. The characters, the city they inhabited and the story all grew chapter by chapter, forming into exactly the type of book I enjoy reading. The most peculiar compliment I can offer the author is that he wrote an excellent book and kept it short. In a world of 600+ page fantasy epics that can take a long time to read it was a pleasure to read and enjoy a book so much in under a week. Perhaps less really is more.

So that is what I enjoyed about the book, here’s the synopsis to further whet your appetite:  

Amra Thetys lives by two simple rules - take care of business, and never let it get personal. Thieves don't last long in Lucernis otherwise. But when a fellow rogue and good friend is butchered on the street in a deal gone wrong, she turns her back on burglary and goes after something more precious than treasure: Revenge.

Revenge, however, might be hard to come by. A nightmare assortment of enemies, including an immortal assassin and a mad sorcerer, believe Amra is in possession of The Blade That Whispers Hate - the legendary, powerful artifact her friend was murdered for - and they'll do anything to take it from her. Trouble is, Amra hasn't got the least clue where the Blade might be.

She needs to find the Blade, and soon, or she'll be joining her colleague in a cold grave instead of avenging his death. Time is running out for the small, scarred thief.

If you are looking for a fantasy book - featuring a thief protagonist - which is well paced, balanced and genuinely both interesting and exciting then I am delighted to recommend The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids. It has a lovely, wry sense of humour and cleverly builds characterisation through dialogue. I liked the female lead, Amra, who was strong yet flawed - the type of lead I have always enjoyed in other works like those by David Gemmell. I was able to find empathy for Amra, and that is important. And if you’re quick, the Kindle edition is available for free on Amazon.co.uk at this moment in time.

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