Among Thieves is a gritty, gripping young adult fantasy featuring a crew of misfit criminals working towards their own agendas. The drama of having a group of found family who are simultaneously looking for opportunities to betray each other – unparalleled. Among Thieves is an action-packed, entertaining read for people who want a fast, fun story.
A high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice
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.
Ryia Cautella is deadly with a blade, earning her the nickname of The Butcher in the city of Carrowwick. For years she’s been hiding her real identity, jumping from town to town to stay ahead of the Guildmaster. He always tracks her down; it’s just a matter of when. She works for the head of the Saints, a criminal gang, and when they get news of a job that could change her life, she accepts. Working with a strange group of criminals, Ryia must travel into the heart of the enemies territory, the Guildmaster’s stronghold. Unfortunately for her, she’s not the only one with an ulterior motive.
This book’s writing was so riveting it was difficult to put it down. It’s fast-paced and action-packed, filled with compelling characters in a fun, gritty world. Among Thieves doesn’t necessarily bring much new to the table, but it’s so entertaining you can’t help but enjoy yourself. The use of multiple perspectives sped up the pace without making you feel like anything was being rushed. The worldbuilding was relatively simplistic, and that just made the book even easier to fall into.
The characters are the highlight of this book. M.J. Kuhn masterfully balanced the electrifying plotline while maintaining a strong character focus. Ryia, the main character, is the most well developed, but it’s easy to fall in love with the entire cast. The secrets they were keeping, the betrayals they were plotting – this book was deliciously dramatic. The flirtation between Ryia and Evelyn, a recently demoted member of the Royal Guard, was especially entertaining. The way Evelyn was disgusted by Ryia’s violent criminality, but also found her kinda hot? Perfection.
Overall, Among Thieves was an endearing story about a messy, backstabbing family of criminals. This book was incredibly compelling and entertaining. People who love fast-paced, heist books, filled with morally grey characters would have a great time with this read.
CW: depictions of slavery, violence, child abuse,
(Thanks to Gollancz and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review)
M.J. Kuhn is a fantasy writer by night and a mild-mannered university employee by day. She lives in the metro Detroit area with her husband Ryan, a dog named Wrex, and the very spoiled cat Thorin Oakenshield. You can find more information about M.J. online at MJKuhn.com.
Among Thieves is out now, so there’s never been a better time to grab a copy!
I’d recommend checking out your local indie bookshop! If you’re in the UK you can use bookshop.org!