Thursday 28 April 2011

Review: The Thief-taker's apprentice - Stephen Deas

Series: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice 1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 288
Publication: April 7th 2011 Gollancz (pb)

Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief. One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice. And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew.

My thoughts:
I don't know if I would have know this was YA if I hadn't read it somewhere, and because of that it works just as well for a young reader as for an adult reader.

The main character is a thief named Berren, he is somewhere between 12 and 15, an orphan and a tough young boy that has seen the city at its worst. I did like him, one have to, he steals to survive and he is smart enough to realize (after a while) that being an apprentice to a thief-taker could get him out of his old life. But he is also smart enough to see that his new life is pretty messed up too, he will surely have to kill someday. His new master Sy, is an enigma and I like those. Slowly we learn more about him and why he does the things he do. There are a few others we meet too but in this book young Lissiana stands out the most. Young heroes always have crushes.

The book was bloody too, perhaps that is what made it better for me. That might sound wrong, but life was harsh and I like it to show in fantasy. People do die, and here they did, and nasty things happened, lives were in put in danger. But it is never too violent, too bloody, and the main characters never get too hurt. There is always hope.

I quite enjoyed this tale about Berren, and the best part for me was also the part that makes me wanna read book 2. In the beginning Sy says that Berren looks like someone, then someone else says it too, and of course I am dying to find out what that is all about. Just as I wanted to know who Sy really was.

A good solid fantasy story for all ages. There is danger, adventure, that first crush and secrets, and those are always the best. It's not that long either so I read it fast. I do look forward to book 2 to find out more. Recommended.

Quick and fast.

Good, but I wish the fonts were the same

Source: The Publisher


  1. Interesting - I didn't notice the cover fonts initially, but I went back to look and... ick. Bad mixture.

  2. Chris
    It's easy to miss when you look at like that. It's first when you hold it you really see it, it's messy

  3. Not sure this one is for me but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Sounds good. Great review.

  5. This book is on my sister's TBR - she's a huge fan of fantasy novels.
    After reading your review, I am interested in this one too.

  6. Not my genre but I like your enthusiasm for this.

  7. Darlene
    A shame, but then fantasy is not for all.

    Thanks :)

    I hope she enjoys it. I am the same, I just love fantasy novels

    I do tend to like fantasy, lol

  8. I am sold. I would love to read it. Thanks for a good review!

  9. Finally! someone else who likes reality in books. If that time frames was common with death the books should read like it. Great review

  10. I wonder if it might be too bloody for me! Glad you enjoyed it though.

  11. I've seen this one around but keep stumbling on the same problem, I can't figure out what a thief-taker is exactly. A cop, maybe?

  12. Sounds good! And good thing that it wasn't too YA if it was supposed to be ;)

    Not fan of the cover, with or without the font...

  13. Oh now I really want to know who Berren looks like! I love when a book is so well done it doesn't matter who the intended audience is, it's just a great story regardless:)

  14. Ana
    Lol, when you say things like that I get scared. Yes it is very daunting, will you like it or not? Someday I am so gonna recommend a book to you that you like ;)

    I do like it, and to say that with fantasy might be weird, but mostly fantasy is very Medieval and those were brutal certain areas of a city

    Oh I should not have mentioned bloody! It wasn't. Sure some got hurt, but he does catch thieves and people to defend themselves

    I..oh how to explain this?
    He got hired to find out who had done something. So he tracked the person done and brought him to justice. So yes a cop, private detective kind of guy

    I liked that too ;) Cos sometimes YA fantasy feels just so YA. I guess I am so used to adult fantasy that I like my action and so on

    Not too YA, not too Adult. Just perfect for everyone :) And he did manage that.
    And sooo curious who Berren looks like, it did drive me crazy. I have ideas but..want to know!

  15. You've just made me realise I haven't read any fantasy for a while and this sounds like the sort of thing I'd enjoy! Will put it on my investigation list. :-)

  16. Sounds like a very interesting story and I like the YA novels that aren't completely geared toward young kids. I think the fighting and blood is a good thing in ceratin books, it really brings reality to life and gives us a bit of action. :-)

  17. Oh I think this one would be perfect for my cousin. I might pick it up and read it first. ;) Love it when you finish a book and immediately know you will read the second.

  18. I'm always up for a good fantasy so will have to look into this one.

  19. hmmm, one to consider. despite the fonts, the pictures is what i'm drawn to. i like the archway.

  20. I'm not sure about his one, but thanks for the introduction.

  21. Great review. Sounds like a good one, although fantasy isn't a favorite genre for me.

  22. Oh this is another one that is on my WANT list. But I didn't know if was YA either. hm, thanks! :) And so glad to see you enjoyed it.

  23. It's great that this one spans the ages!!

  24. I'm drawn to this is a bit reminiscent of Robin Hobb's Assassin series.

  25. It's surprising that this book was "bloody" as you put it for a YA; although I agree that in real life people do die and why shouldn't that be represented in books for teens?

  26. I have found several YA novels that worked for me too. This sounds like the start of a promising series!

  27. Good to know that it's a bit dark, but there's still hope for the people in the city. ;)

  28. It is kind of harsh, but like you said, that is just what life was like back then. The young and old had to learn to survive through everything, including the blood and guts stuff.

    I hadn't heard of this book before, but seems like it tells a realistic and good story.

  29. Mel
    No fantasy in a while, that you sure gotta change. Fantasy is a must :)

    In a book like this is sure is needed. No one would just come along happily to their death if they had been stealing.

    It sure is good when a book gets me curious and this one sure did

    Fantasy is awesome :D

  30. VVB
    The archway is nice, the fonts, eh, well one can't have everything :)

    You're welcome :) I do like to bring out new books

    What a shame, but yes fantasy is not for everyone

    I am honestly still a bit stunned about my head it will just be an adult novel ;)

    I like that too. And it feels so timeless

  31. Staci
    I looooove that series, awww, Fitz, sighs

    Ok it was not that bloody..but a tonuge was cut out so yeah. But it was a brutal time, I mean before people took their kids to executions and saw nothing wrong in that

    It works so well :)

    There are some rotten eggs, but every city has those :)

    And especially since he used to be thief. He would have gotten caught and beaten. Still it wasn't bad, just a bit here and there, to bring something more to it

  32. Sounds like an interesting YA fantasy read.

  33. I've read Stephen Deas' The Adamantine Palace and this author has the tendency to kill off beloved characters, it was irritating and frustrating... so I stopped reading his work even if I got more of his books in my TBR mountain... so, I don't know... maybe I'll pick up his work again... I do like his covers though. That was what made me buy them to begin with...

  34. Sounds like a solid win. Great review.

  35. Cherry
    Yikes! I am not a fan of that. It's like George RR Martins books. He just went and killed those I liked :(

    Thanks Juju :)



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