The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids (Amra Thetys, #1)
*Winner of the Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off, Hosted by Mark Lawrence*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."McClung has an impressive ability to write compelling characters and a fast paced and action packed plot that never seems to let up." -Speculative Book Review"There are gods and demons and magic and better yet, it all feels refreshingly original." -Elitist Book Reviews"Michael McClung [...] writes excellent dialogue that keeps the characters engaging and the story moving forward." -Fantasy-Faction

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids (Amra Thetys, #1) Details

TitleThe Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids (Amra Thetys, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 28th, 2012
PublisherMichael McClung
Rating
GenreFantasy, Mystery, Magic, Fiction

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids (Amra Thetys, #1) Review

  • Mark Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    This is an overdue review. In 2015 this book, hereafter named: TTWPOTB, beat out 267 other self-published fantasy books to win the first Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO or Spiffbo to its friends), a contest I set up to discover the best of self-published fantasy.Anyway TTWPOTB doesn't really need any of that background info to support it because it's an excellent read that I would be reporting on in glowing terms had I just picked it up with no knowledge of it at all.This is a pretty shor This is an overdue review. In 2015 this book, hereafter named: TTWPOTB, beat out 267 other self-published fantasy books to win the first Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO or Spiffbo to its friends), a contest I set up to discover the best of self-published fantasy.Anyway TTWPOTB doesn't really need any of that background info to support it because it's an excellent read that I would be reporting on in glowing terms had I just picked it up with no knowledge of it at all.This is a pretty short book that moves swiftly and sucked me right it. It's told in the first person by the titular thief and she turns out to have bags of personality, also plenty of troubles.The world building is done on the hoof and for such a short, action-packed book it's testimony to the author's skill that the world feels real and fleshed out with its own history, geography, and mythology, for all that the tale is told entirely within one city.There's a vaguely noir feel to the book and plenty of gruesome violence but because the main character, Amra, is an upbeat sort with a good sense of humour it takes the edge off and the book felt quite "light" to me.McClung is a very good writer with some great turns of phrase and he injects not only excitement and pace but genuine emotion too. There's plenty of magic and lots of it is very powerful. Amra is not the one using it though and we don't get a magic system with a set of rules doled out, so if you're someone who demands that ... be warned.The book reads well as a standalone but there is a series that follows and a clear reason for it.I really enjoyed reading this and shouldn't have left it so long. Neither should you!If you'd like to try a self-published fantasy book, this is a great place to start.Read about the SPFBO competition herehttp://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2...Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes....
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  • ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
    January 1, 1970
    Previous rating: 4 stars.New rating: 5 stars. Because DUH and stuff.➽ And the moral of this reread is : I first told you Little Barnacles about this Most Deliciously Scrumptious Series (MDSS™) THREE YEARS AGO. And you are still NOT READING IT. What the bloody shrimp of the stinking fish is wrong with you, Puny Decapods? My original crappy non-review was way too crappy and you need more incentive? Would the sudden and totally unexpected unleashing of the murderous crustaceans on you help? I thou Previous rating: 4 stars.New rating: 5 stars. Because DUH and stuff.➽ And the moral of this reread is : I first told you Little Barnacles about this Most Deliciously Scrumptious Series (MDSS™) THREE YEARS AGO. And you are still NOT READING IT. What the bloody shrimp of the stinking fish is wrong with you, Puny Decapods? My original crappy non-review was way too crappy and you need more incentive? Would the sudden and totally unexpected unleashing of the murderous crustaceans on you help? I thought it might. Watch out, incoming!Note to self: why the bloody fish didn't I kidnap adopt Holgren the second I met him?! Because I'm a total nitwit, that's why. Good thing the Silly Arthropods have been reading crap instead of this series otherwise engaged these past three years, and never learnt of his existence. MINE MINE MINE! Holgren is MINE! ✉ A very private message from this Slightly Awesome Book (SAB™) to Clueless Barnacles everywhere:(view spoiler)[Oops, looks like someone is a little pissed off. (hide spoiler)]· Book 2: The Thief Who Spat in Luck's Good Eye ★★★★★· Book 3: The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow's Gate ★★★★★· Book 4: The Thief Who Wasn't There ★★★★★· Book 5: The Thief Who Went to War - to be released 2018.· Short stories: The Last God ★★★★★[Original review]Kerf's whithered testicles, where did you come from Amra Thetys?! I cannot, for the life of me, remember how I found out about you. I could kick myself when I think that I abandoned you in the cold, lonely depths of my Kindle for three whole months before giving you the attention you deserved. How could I forget about you? Damn. To think of all the crap I read while you were there, patiently waiting for me. Damn. To think of all the wow-yeah-this-is-so-cool stuff I missed. Damn. I'm such an idiot mostsometimes. But hey, it's never too late to fall in love right? And let me tell you, I am most definitely in love with Amra Thetys. Yes I am.►► Why am I in love with Amra, you ask? Because she's not feminine. Because she's not pretty. Because she curses like a sailor. Because she's straightforward. Because she's sarcastic and cynical. Because she's honest with herself. Because she doesn't take crap from anyone. Because she's a thief. Because knives are her favourite toys. And because she kicks ass. Oh yes, in love I am.Yeah, I know what you're probably thinking: "Blah blah blah blah, Sarah's fallen in love with yet another badass heroine, so what else is new?"►► Well I'll have you know that:① My DNF track record is much more impressive than my Damn-I'm-So-In-Love-Right-Now stats. And don't you doubt that for a second.② My beloved Amra is not the only reason I loved this story so much. No she's not. Cross my heart, hope to die and all that crap. What else did I LOVE about this book then? Apart from the entertaining, fast-paced, action-packed plot, you mean? And the shrimpalistic world building? And Holgren, Amra's sidekick? And the magic & sorcery bits? And the cool creatures? And the blood-and-gore-yay? And the humour? And last but certainly not least, the absolute, total, utter lack of freaking romance? Well, I'm afraid these are the only few things I LOVED about this story. That's not much now, is it? Right. But hey, you know me, I love to give high ratings to crappy books that don't deserve it ← that thing right there? It's called sarcasm ← just making sure everyone gets it ← just in case and stuff. ►► This is a novella. This is free. This is the introduction to one of the best series I've ever read in the entirety of my entire life. What more do you want? Nothing, huh? That's what I thought. Read this people. You can thank me later. And you might want to consider thanking Michael McClung, too. Maybe.Bye now. Pre-review nonsense :Fantasy, magic, very cool knife-wielding heroine, very cool magic-wielding sidekick, lots of action… This was pretty fantastic. Sigh. Yet another series to add to my to-read list. Double sigh.►► Crappy review to come. In a year or two. Maybe.
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  • ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating start to a particularly intriguing series.Q:I don’t believe in chance. I believe in cause and effect. (c)QOne of the privileges of being a mage, I suppose, is that you can be as strange as you like, and nobody dares comment. (c)Q:Magic is a rusty hammer with which to beat reality into different shapes. Philosophy, the true Philosophy, is a pen with which to alter, and hopefully correct reality. (c) Gee, I could have been living to hear it said in a fiction book. Q:…I’ll see what I A fascinating start to a particularly intriguing series.Q:I don’t believe in chance. I believe in cause and effect. (c)QOne of the privileges of being a mage, I suppose, is that you can be as strange as you like, and nobody dares comment. (c)Q:Magic is a rusty hammer with which to beat reality into different shapes. Philosophy, the true Philosophy, is a pen with which to alter, and hopefully correct reality. (c) Gee, I could have been living to hear it said in a fiction book. Q:…I’ll see what I can see… (c)Q:I had a drink in their beer garden and watched golden bees do their thing in the late afternoon sunshine. I let my mind wander. (c)Q:I had seen what there was to see, and knew better by now than to try and force any sort of plan. It would all fall into place soon enough. Theft is as much art as it is craft. Reconnaissance work was a big part of that art, that craft. (c)Q:But I figured stirring up trouble would help keep eyes off me. (c) Q:Every room in my house has easily accessible knives. I’d had a lover for a short time that found it off-putting. He went. The knives stayed. (c)Q:Kluge and company would be scrambling to find someone to pin his death on, before Corbin’s family came to town with blood on their mind. Heirus, I could safely assume, would still be looking for what he’d been willing to kill for. And of course some cold-eyed killers would be arriving in the next few days, come to collect their pound of flesh for Corbin’s old man. From every perspective, all roads could at some point lead to me. It was too late for me to back out, even if I wanted to. I didn’t want to.There would be interesting days ahead. (c)Q:I was planning a death, not a burglary, but in many ways that just made it easier. Taking a life was, in my experience, a damned sight less complicated than taking jewels from a hidden strongbox. (c)Q:And there was the whispering. Like he was trying to tell me things. Awful things. Terrible truths it was better not to know. Things that made my head pound and my chest constrict. (c)Q:Just seeing the outline of the thing made me want to kill it. (c)Q:If I had to guess, it was a sentry, making a circuit of the yard. But I didn’t have to guess. I had all night. (c)Q:And I think I should be half a foot taller, and rich as Borkin Breaves. Thinking something doesn’t make it so. (c)Q:Most of my peers wouldn’t think twice about breaking an oath. But why would you care about honor?”“If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand. (c)Q:We watched each other’s back, and bragged to each other about scores. We lent each other money and we bet on the horses, and the cards, and the dice. The day before he died, he asked me to look after his dog. And the morning he died, I had to pull that howling mutt away from the smell of his blood. I’m the one that got to tell his lover that he’d died, and how. But somehow I’m the one who’s chained to a floor, and you’re the one laughing when I say I’m going to kill the man who did it. (c)Q:Prison, I found, was wonderful for clarifying your priorities. (c)Q:You see that mausoleum, the one with the gargoyles doing unspeakable things to each other? (c)Q:Bath chose to share a secret with me. I think I can stand to keep a secret about him. (c)Q:In a place like the Cock’s Spur, they don’t even bother putting out chairs or benches that don’t face the door. Nobody wants their back to any trouble that enters. (c)Q:I have an idea,” I said. “Let’s put away the blades and do some business. (c)Q:Yes. I can see it escalating, people trying to outbid each other. And every one of them paying a ten per cent, non-refundable commission to you. All that gold piling up will be very messy indeed. (c)Q:News indeed travelled fast, but Holgren blew through the motley collection of murderers waiting for us outside like an autumn storm off the Dragonsea. Quite literally. It’s hard to stick a knife in someone when you’re rolling down the street, being pushed along by gale-force winds. Holgren was proving to be a lot more powerful—and versatile—than I’d ever imagined. And I have an active imagination. (c)Q:“What do you say?”“I say you talk too much.” (c)Q:“I don’t like him. He’s smelly and makes me feel like an idiot.”“He makes everyone feel like an idiot. He’s the high priest of the god of knowledge.” (c)Q:He was the high priest of Lagna, god of knowledge. Which meant he was a jumped up librarian, since Lagna happened to be dead. (c)Q:“You want to know about the Eightfold Goddess?”“No. I thought I’d ask just so you could feel superior some more.” (c)Q:Thus is truth distorted over millennia. (c)Q:And then the One Who Is Eight tore Shem to pieces with eight pairs of hands. They say that She made the Blades from his horns, his bones, his scales and claws and fangs.“She is terrible, and beautiful, and no god or demon fucks with Her, for She is as mad as they come and eight times as nasty.” (c)Q:“Why have I never heard of this goddess?”“You mean besides being generally ignorant? Probably because there aren’t many daft enough to worship Her. She might take notice. (c)Q:“Who is Kalara?”“The Eight-fold Goddess has, try to imagine it, eight aspects. Kalara, Goddess of Assassins, is one. Let me see if I can remember all the others. Abanon, Goddess of hate. Moranos, deity of desire, Ninkashi, worker of retribution, Heletia, font of true sight and clarity. How many is that?”“Five.”“Then there’s Husth, goddess of deception and shadows. Very popular with thieves in Bellarius.”“I’ve actually heard of that one. But go on.”“Xith rules death and rebirth. And that leaves Visini, goddess of decay, inertia, chaos and despair. That’s eight, right?”“Yes.”“Mind you, together they make one. The Eight-fold Goddess.” ... And given the choice I’d rather not be in the same country as any of them.”(c) Reminds of Kali.Q:They’re the tools of an insane goddess, forged from the body of a demon lord. What did you expect? (c)Q:You’re a thief, not a hells-damned knight of the Order of the Oak. (c)Q:True wisdom lies not in knowing the correct answer, but in knowing the correct question. (c)Q:I’m seventeen hundred years old. Older than the Cataclysm. I saw the fall of Thagoth, and of Hluria. I was ancient when Havak Silversword was imprisoned behind the Wall. You people are mayflies to me. (c)Q:Because of the curse laid on me, every moment that passes feels like a hundred. Listening to you talk bores me to tears. Listening to me talk bores me to tears. I’ve experienced this conversation as though it’s lasted all damned day.”“I’ll try and talk faster, ... (c)Q:I knew who he meant, but had no idea why he wanted to avoid a teenaged ascetic. It was a strange tic of character for the King of Assassins to have. (c)Q:“Do you remember the Cataclysm?” he asked.“Not really, no. It was a thousand years ago.” (c)Q:You can’t improve on perfection. (c)Q:It’s become fairly plain that you, Amra Thetys, given the choice between fighting and capitulating, will pick a fight every damned time. (c)Q:The question itself matters, not who it belongs to. (c)Q:So, Kingmaker, Godslayer, why not answer the question? (c)Q:And what is Apathy? Best I can describe it is fatalism mixed with utter indifference. Things are as they are. Things will be as they will be. No point thinking about them, much less worrying. No point doing much of anything at all, as a matter of fact. ... A mote of dust drifted into my eye and it was meant to be so. Blinking was futile. (c)Q:I am no one’s tool. (c)Q:Some secrets cannot be shared. Some secrets must be discovered. (c)Q:I felt I had to stay still, or I would burn the world down. (c)Q:Secrets have no power. Not by themselves. It’s the control of secrets that’s power. (c)Q:How could I trust myself? I was riding a dragon. (c)Q:“Blade, can you end hunger? Poverty? Deformity in children? Can you heal the sick? Can you do one useful fucking thing other than destroy?”Silence.“You’re bloody useless, aren’t you?”I am the hate of a goddess made manifest. I am a Power.“You know what I think? I think she discarded you because you were useless. No, more than useless. A hindrance. A liability.” (c)
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  • Gavin
    January 1, 1970
    I must admit that the only reason this book came to my attention was because it was the winner of the first Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off, hosted by Mark Lawrence. I like the idea of a competition that seeks to separate the wheat from the chaff in the murky world of self-published fantasy, so I decided to go ahead and read the book deemed the best of the best. I'm not super keen on the wordy title or the books cover, but did think the synopsis was quite intriguing. Was the story itself worth t I must admit that the only reason this book came to my attention was because it was the winner of the first Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off, hosted by Mark Lawrence. I like the idea of a competition that seeks to separate the wheat from the chaff in the murky world of self-published fantasy, so I decided to go ahead and read the book deemed the best of the best. I'm not super keen on the wordy title or the books cover, but did think the synopsis was quite intriguing. Was the story itself worth the reading? Definitely. It was not a rival for any of the books sitting on my favourites shelf, but it was a solid Swords and Sorcery fantasy tale. Amra Thetys is a thief with morals who finds herself on a quest for vengeance after a friend, and fellow thief, is murdered after a job gone bad. The story was quite enjoyable. Amra was not at all what I was expecting. She was tough, gritty, cynical, and kick-ass for sure, but she was not particularly bitter or angry at her lot in life. I found it easy to like her. The secondary characters were a likeable bunch. The best of the lot being the mage Holgen. The world was an interesting and fairly original one. We only got glimpses of it while reading this first instalment and I was left wishing for a bit more backstory long before the story concluded. As luck would have it that explanation arrived at the end in the spectacular form of a brief guide of Amra's World written by the hilariously cantankerous old priest Lhiewyn, the High Priest of the God of Knowledge. The story itself was a nice mix of mystery and action, the plot moved along at a nice pace, and the world was full of some cool magic and creatures. This was an enjoyable read. I'll definitely be reading the sequel as I think there is more interesting tales to be told in this world!Rating: 4 stars.
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  • Sh3lly (GrumpyBookGrrrl.com)
    January 1, 1970
    Buddy read with the MacHalo group.Amra is a thief. Her kinda-friend dies and she gets caught up in the who-done-it shenanigans. When you are a thief, you never really know who your friends are, and Amra discovers she has more than she thought. Which is helpful when an inspector is after you and people think you are guilty of not only thievery but murder.I really liked the magician/wizard guy. His name slips my thoughts, but he would definitely be a good one to have on your side in a brawl. This Buddy read with the MacHalo group.Amra is a thief. Her kinda-friend dies and she gets caught up in the who-done-it shenanigans. When you are a thief, you never really know who your friends are, and Amra discovers she has more than she thought. Which is helpful when an inspector is after you and people think you are guilty of not only thievery but murder.I really liked the magician/wizard guy. His name slips my thoughts, but he would definitely be a good one to have on your side in a brawl. This short (200 pages or so) book is rompy and misfity and well-written. It was very engaging and funny. It's got curses like:"Kerf's shriveled testicles!"Fantasy and humor is an awesome combo. Definitely continuing with the series. I need more Amra and crew in my life!
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    Who could resist that delightful title? This turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy romp with thieves aplenty, an interesting world and some really excellent magic going on. Holgren the Mage almost stole the show from our feisty heroine and I must admit it will be mostly for him that I continue the series. Fast paced, clever and always interesting - an excellent beginning.Hey ho - another new series - thanks Carolyn for recommending it:)
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  • Bob Milne
    January 1, 1970
    At just over 200 pages, The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is the perfect length for a revenge-driven sword-and-sorcery tale. It's just long enough to tell its tale, but not so long that it overstays it welcome. Like the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adventures of the 70s, Amra gets in, gets good, and then gets on her way with both charm and wit, before scurrying away with sarcasm and cynicism intact.Packed into those 200 pages is some great character building - Amra, Holgren, Kluge, and Bosc At just over 200 pages, The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is the perfect length for a revenge-driven sword-and-sorcery tale. It's just long enough to tell its tale, but not so long that it overstays it welcome. Like the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adventures of the 70s, Amra gets in, gets good, and then gets on her way with both charm and wit, before scurrying away with sarcasm and cynicism intact.Packed into those 200 pages is some great character building - Amra, Holgren, Kluge, and Bosch especially - and some solid world building. Michael McClung doesn't waste a lot of time setting the scene or building up the grandeur of Lucernis, but manages to establish it all through actions, observations, and conversations along the way. I came away from this with a fantastic grasp on the geography, the history, and the politics of the town, and I understood exactly how everyone fit in.This is a fast-paced tale with its moments of both magic and violence, starring a young woman who is very much your typical rogue - a foul-mouthed, rather plain, tomboy with a strong moral center. She's not a hero, but she's also not a victim. Amra is her own person, and with the help of Holgren, she's determine to do what needs doing, no matter what the larger cost may be. On that note, there are big stakes here, but not too big for the story McClung has established. I was growing a bit concerned at one point, as more characters came in and more plots became apparent, but every city has its share of stories, and ignoring that would have made this a one-dimensional tale.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the author in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.
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  • Kitvaria Sarene
    January 1, 1970
    Reread it, as I got the double feature audio book, and I think I loved it even more the second time around!I found this on the SPFBO list, bought it and then had it sitting on my ereadet for a while.Now I'm wondering why it took me so long to pick it up!It started of fine, but I fell in love with about 100 pages (about 50%) in.A short mage fight, with a gory end and a lot of humor thrown in has me shaking from laughter for quite a while! Afterwards it gets stranger and darker and more amazing ;) Reread it, as I got the double feature audio book, and I think I loved it even more the second time around!I found this on the SPFBO list, bought it and then had it sitting on my ereadet for a while.Now I'm wondering why it took me so long to pick it up!It started of fine, but I fell in love with about 100 pages (about 50%) in.A short mage fight, with a gory end and a lot of humor thrown in has me shaking from laughter for quite a while! Afterwards it gets stranger and darker and more amazing ;)I liked the main character, who defied any stereotypes, but just was herself!I also enjoyed the writing style and the side characters (and of course the dog. I always love the dog...)The plot was interesting and had some unexpected twists.I am going to buy the second one right away!
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  • mich
    January 1, 1970
    Thief fantasy adventure stories are kinda my thing -- I LOVE ‘em! And add revenge to the mix? Oh yeah, sign me the hell UP!Overall, I enjoyed this one. 3.5 stars!The good stuff:Amra Thetys. In the increasingly overflowing pool of snarky kickass heroines out there, she’s one of the better ones and I’ll even go so far as to say that she’s memorable. Her dry, sarcastic humor instantly endeared her to me and I have no doubt will pull in a lot readers. She makes this book.Action. Adventure. Fun. Chec Thief fantasy adventure stories are kinda my thing -- I LOVE ‘em! And add revenge to the mix? Oh yeah, sign me the hell UP!Overall, I enjoyed this one. 3.5 stars!The good stuff:Amra Thetys. In the increasingly overflowing pool of snarky kickass heroines out there, she’s one of the better ones and I’ll even go so far as to say that she’s memorable. Her dry, sarcastic humor instantly endeared her to me and I have no doubt will pull in a lot readers. She makes this book.Action. Adventure. Fun. Check, check and check! I found the action sequences in particular to be very well written. Good stuff, man!Could use some work:Plot and world-building. These two probably shouldn’t be lumped together like this, but *shrugs* Whatever, I’m feeling lazy. The plot left a bit to be desired, and the world-building - even more. (If you like these types of books like me, but prefer a more layered plot and richer world-building, check out Thief's Covenant - also a great series!) Although I felt these two aspects were a bit weak in this book, I'm definitely game to trying the next one to see if there's improvement. Editing. Sorry, but I'm not going to be nice about this. The editing is total shit. I read through this thing once -- just once! -- and the number of typos I saw was fricken embarrassing. Seriously, if I was the author, I'd be embarrassed. We're talking missing letters in words, missing words in sentences, past tense and present tense usage in the same goddamn sentence, and DON'T even get me started on that instance where the characters' names were mixed up. Lots of really obvious mistakes - it was just so sloppy! It kept jarring me out of the story. I don't like that.I hear this is being re-edited and thank god cuz it NEEDS it. I wish it had happened before *I* read it, but oh well. The lovely Sarah has been doing an awesome job of late in garnering interest for this series (and yes, put me down as stating that it is very well-deserved), however, I do hope this re-release happens sooner rather than later, before too many other people see this draft (yeah, you heard me, I'm calling it a draft. As a final product that I paid money for, this was just -- no.) Final thoughts:I'm excited to see where this series goes. There's lots of room to develop the supporting characters in interesting ways, and Amra herself is awesome enough to carry the series pretty far, I think.
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  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5Vrlo zabavno štivo sa odličnom glavnom junakinjom, interesantnom pričom koja drži pažnju i ide u neočekivanim pravcima posebno na kraju. Fin world building bez previše ekspozicije, stil pisanja koji nije zamoran sa previše detalja.Jedina zamerka je sam ton priče pošto stalno imam osećaj da pokušava da bude grim dark kada se pogleda sam svet i našta naši junaci nailaze a sa druge strane puno bantera, opasnih situacija koje se suviše lako zaobilaze i preživljavaju.U svakom slučaju preporuka i 3.5/5Vrlo zabavno štivo sa odličnom glavnom junakinjom, interesantnom pričom koja drži pažnju i ide u neočekivanim pravcima posebno na kraju. Fin world building bez previše ekspozicije, stil pisanja koji nije zamoran sa previše detalja.Jedina zamerka je sam ton priče pošto stalno imam osećaj da pokušava da bude grim dark kada se pogleda sam svet i našta naši junaci nailaze a sa druge strane puno bantera, opasnih situacija koje se suviše lako zaobilaze i preživljavaju.U svakom slučaju preporuka i nastaviću serijal dalje samo malo da se sve konsoliduje.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely wonderful work of fantasy fiction, with a plotted storyline which keeps you interested all the way the book. It’s got everything you need to have to enjoy the book.Heroic thieves, nobles and mages, evil and annoying gods these are excellantly brought to life by this author.Highly recommended for my goodread friends who love fantasy.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great start to a new sword and sorcery series with sassy, take-no-prisoners thief Amra Thetys, who has a knife for every occasion. When her friend and fellow thief Corbin ends up dead after asking her to look after a strange artifact while he goes to do business with a difficult client, Amra vows to find his killer. This leads her into all sorts of trouble with a bad bunch who will stop at nothing, including sorcery and black magic, to get hold of the artifact. This short novel (or lon This is a great start to a new sword and sorcery series with sassy, take-no-prisoners thief Amra Thetys, who has a knife for every occasion. When her friend and fellow thief Corbin ends up dead after asking her to look after a strange artifact while he goes to do business with a difficult client, Amra vows to find his killer. This leads her into all sorts of trouble with a bad bunch who will stop at nothing, including sorcery and black magic, to get hold of the artifact. This short novel (or long novella) is full of fun and fantasy as Amra tries to avenge the death of her friend Corbin. There is enough world building to give a strong sense of Amra's town and life and there are some great characters. Amra herself, a thief with a conscience who will always help those in need, her friend Holgren the mage who comes to her aid, Kluge the Detective who can also wield a little magic and Bosch a very evil, immortal villain. So good to know there are more books in this series waiting to be read! With thanks to Netgalley and Ragnarok Publications for a digital copy of this book to read and review
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  • Bill Door
    January 1, 1970
    I’m starting to go through all of the finalists from previous years, and I’ll probably be checking out many of the semi-finalists as well. This book won the first SPFBO contest with a respectable final score of an 8/10 from all of the bloggers so I was very eager to get started on this one. I actually read this one way back in March I think, but I’m just now getting around to the review. I listened to it on audiobook, and it was pretty decent if I recall.It starts out with a woman being visited I’m starting to go through all of the finalists from previous years, and I’ll probably be checking out many of the semi-finalists as well. This book won the first SPFBO contest with a respectable final score of an 8/10 from all of the bloggers so I was very eager to get started on this one. I actually read this one way back in March I think, but I’m just now getting around to the review. I listened to it on audiobook, and it was pretty decent if I recall.It starts out with a woman being visited by an old friend named Corbin, this is a guy that gets himself into trouble since he’s a professional thief. He asks her if she can hold onto a statue for just a little while, and that he will come back and get it after his ‘meeting’ with a client. He tells her that if he doesn’t come back within a day that he is likely dead and that she can keep the statue he gave her, but to also please look after his dog. That’s rather ominous, and he does indeed wind up cut to pieces. The police are looking at Amra as a possible suspect since she went to check in on her friend and found him dead just outside his house and was still there when they arrived.The detective is a mage, and pretty smart and intuitive – he knows that she didn’t kill him, but he also sees right through her carefully laid lies and knows that she’s holding back information. He puts a tracking spell on her, which she figures out because she’s also not an idiot. These two play mind games with each other and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. Amra has to find a way to clear her name, find out who really killed her friend, and stay alive while the finds out what’s so valuable about this stupid frog statue. She turns to help from an old mage who takes both the tracking spell and the dog from her to her great relief, she’s not really a dog person. She turns to an older mage for help, one with a well-known reputation and he agreed he would look into the statue’s origins and value while she figures out how to shake the cops from her tail, as well as track down a well connected and hidden crime syndicate that was responsible for her friend’s death.I liked her character, she wasn’t exactly a noble bright character, Amra is also a thief and would be considered by many to have a tenuous grasp on morals – but she had sympathy and loyalty enough to care about her friends and keep promises she made to them.Mages in this world are pretty removed from the general populous, people give them a wide birth and they can be very dangerous. Their power source is rumored to be draining, however, and they are one of the more rare types of magic users. Bloodwitches tend to be more common, and one stopped Amra in the street and went into a prophetic trance and told her about an “8 fold bitch” that’s going to cause trouble in the future. It was pretty creepy but there wasn’t a ton of magic in this book. It’s definitely high fantasy and magic is there, but if you want something in between low fantasy and magic packed fantasy this is that kind of book. There’s a third type of magic user, and I read it so long ago I can’t remember if they were really called necromancers or not – but they tend to try and open the gates to hell, so they’re hunted down and arrested or executed.The tone for this wasn’t dark, but it wasn’t exactly light either, it was more on the adventurous/mysterious side of things. I liked the writing, this isn’t a long book and the writing was clean and quick so I read/listened to it in one sitting. I don’t recall anything standing out as awkward or confusing and since it’s single POV it’s easy to follow the story.Overall I liked it, I thought the world building was neat and the characters were enjoyable to read about. The audiobook was decent as well, I hadn’t listened to anything narrated by her before, and audiobooks for indies can be hit or miss so it was nice to hit a good one.Audience:female povthief povhigh fantasysingle povancient artifacts of mysterious powersmages, witches, necromancersfast reads/shorter booksaudiobooksRatings:Plot: 11.25/15Characters: 11/15World Building: 12/15Writing: 12/15Pacing: 12/15Originality: 11/15Personal Enjoyment: 7.5/10Final Score: 76.75/100 – 3.83/5 stars on GR – recommended!
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  • Mihir
    January 1, 1970
    Mini-review over at Fantasy Book CriticThe Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids is a fascinating debut that showcases how talented Michael McClung is. I very much enjoyed this debut that is very reminiscent of the Lies Of Locke Lamora in its setup but less grimdarky and with a simpler protagonist. Amara Thetys is a thief who is forced to hide an artifact as her friend Corbin gets brutally murdered. She soon finds out why that artifact is such an important thing as she tasks a mage Holgren to fi Mini-review over at Fantasy Book CriticThe Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids is a fascinating debut that showcases how talented Michael McClung is. I very much enjoyed this debut that is very reminiscent of the Lies Of Locke Lamora in its setup but less grimdarky and with a simpler protagonist. Amara Thetys is a thief who is forced to hide an artifact as her friend Corbin gets brutally murdered. She soon finds out why that artifact is such an important thing as she tasks a mage Holgren to find out more. Things however are never crystal clear as Amara finds out and beneath the veneer of normalcy, there's a paranormal war brewing. Mixing sword and sorcery with streamlined pace, Michael McClung's debut is a terrific story that is very much in the vein of works by Scott Lynch, David Dalglish & Douglas Hulick. Michael has to be lauded for giving us a story that not only showcases the best of a sword & sorcery tale but also gives us a protagonist that we can root for entirely. Yes the protagonist is a grey one but Amra is written so well that I couldn’t stop reading about her plusI'm sure other readers like me will be left wanting more tales about her. The story ends with a revelation of an impending apocalypse; and yet the tale feels complete. I absolutely am stoked for the forthcoming sequels.
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  • Milo (BOK)
    January 1, 1970
    The Review Can Also Be Found Here. | The Full List of Finalists Can Also Be Found Here. | Follow Me On Twitter Here.And… we have a winner! The Great Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off has finished after a year and all the bloggers have provided their scores out of 10 and the highest ranked book was The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Blades. It’s an interesting book and it’s easy to see why it won, because I’m a big fan of Michael McClung’s novel, which was chosen to be the winner despite oddly not The Review Can Also Be Found Here. | The Full List of Finalists Can Also Be Found Here. | Follow Me On Twitter Here.And… we have a winner! The Great Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off has finished after a year and all the bloggers have provided their scores out of 10 and the highest ranked book was The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Blades. It’s an interesting book and it’s easy to see why it won, because I’m a big fan of Michael McClung’s novel, which was chosen to be the winner despite oddly not being the favourite finalist of all the bloggers involved, which was Ben Galley’s Bloodrush. Having been selected as a finalist from Elitist Book Reviews, The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Blades is a pretty impressive read.It’s a sword and sorcery novel driven by revenge. Focusing on Amra Thetys as the lead character, a thief who doesn’t steal form anyone poorer than her, something that is made easier by the fact that the poor don’t have anything worth stealing, we follow her character as she turns her back on thieving following the death of her friend, Corbin – with a greater goal in mind. Revenge. It’s great to watch how Amra’s character develops over the two-hundred odd pages that we’re given, with the book moving along very quickly indeed. I’ve read more than a few blog-off novels that have relied upon exposition and info-dumping to tell us more about the world which usually comes at the cost of the pace but The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Blades avoids that approach and establishes it over the course of the narrative, giving readers a sense of what it might be like to live in Amra’s world, fleshing out on details such as the politics and history.The characters are people who we can get behind and care about. As well as Amra, we also meet characters such as Holgren, a mage, and other interesting figures that keep the book fresh and full of variety. It’s interesting to note that Amra isn’t your typical fantasy protagonist and whilst you may be worried at times about whether the author can successfully juggle all the supporting cast well enough (because there’s a lot of secondary characters here), rest assured, they never overstay their welcome and Amra’s plot is always at the heart of the story.The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Blades moves pretty quickly, and the fast pace will make it easy to get through. After all, I read this book pretty much in two sittings. It’s an accomplished debut that will appeal to fans of authors like Paul S. Kemp, Scott Lynch, Douglas Hulick and more. I can’t wait to see what McClung comes up with next because I am invested in Amra’s storyline now and want to read the rest of her adventures, and it looks like the complete trilogy is already available so I’m going to have to get stuck into the sequels when I can, hopefully sooner rather than later.VERDICT: 8/10
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  • Alec Hutson
    January 1, 1970
    What a terrific read. I'd seen The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids kicking around Amazon and elsewhere, and despite enjoying the title immensely it wasn't until a few days ago that I decided to pick it up. Great decision. This is some of the most fun I've had reading fantasy in months, since I finished the most recent book in Will Wight's Cradle series. I really enjoy well-done sword and sorcery tales, and Mr. McClung delivers in every way: we have a compelling protagonist, Amra, a successf What a terrific read. I'd seen The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids kicking around Amazon and elsewhere, and despite enjoying the title immensely it wasn't until a few days ago that I decided to pick it up. Great decision. This is some of the most fun I've had reading fantasy in months, since I finished the most recent book in Will Wight's Cradle series. I really enjoy well-done sword and sorcery tales, and Mr. McClung delivers in every way: we have a compelling protagonist, Amra, a successful thief in a wonderfully drawn fantasy city; a plot that twists and turns, with a surprise I guarantee you will not see coming at the end; terrific writing - the prose is a solid level above most traditionally published fantasy, and in spots soars into Wolfe, Bancroft, or Mieville territory; and just flawless world building. I want to talk about the world building for a moment, as I really respect the way it is handled in The Thief Who Pulled. There's no long info-dumps, no strange soliloquies that seem horribly out of place - the (very interesting) world unfolds organically through the flow of the story. I'll be picking up the rest of the series, and I recommend it to all fans of fun, smart fantasy.
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  •  Simply Sam ツ
    January 1, 1970
    ***A solid 4 stars (maybe even 4.5)***This was a great start to a series. A female protagonist who doesn't piss me off, a mage who is more than meets the eye, giant metal spider villains, centuries old assassins, daemon houses. RTC when I have more time. For now it's enough to know that it's a really good book that I enjoyed the heck out of. If you like your fantasy fastpaced with a take-no-shit female character bent on revenge but without all the romancey stuff to bog it down then give this a t ***A solid 4 stars (maybe even 4.5)***This was a great start to a series. A female protagonist who doesn't piss me off, a mage who is more than meets the eye, giant metal spider villains, centuries old assassins, daemon houses. RTC when I have more time. For now it's enough to know that it's a really good book that I enjoyed the heck out of. If you like your fantasy fastpaced with a take-no-shit female character bent on revenge but without all the romancey stuff to bog it down then give this a try!
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  • Nickolas
    January 1, 1970
    THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAIDS by Michael McClung is what Mark Lawrence's Great Self-published Fantasy Author Blog-off is all about. This is the third book I read of the batch I was assigned. I saved it for last because I found the cover appealing, the title enticing, and the synopsis intriguing. The overall package is professional and marketable and because of that it stands out amongst the competition.THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAIDS is a little more than 200 pages long but i THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAIDS by Michael McClung is what Mark Lawrence's Great Self-published Fantasy Author Blog-off is all about. This is the third book I read of the batch I was assigned. I saved it for last because I found the cover appealing, the title enticing, and the synopsis intriguing. The overall package is professional and marketable and because of that it stands out amongst the competition.THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAIDS is a little more than 200 pages long but it's a satisfying sword & sorcery adventure that will appeal to fans of Ari Marmell, David Dalglish, Douglas Hulick, Brent Weeks, and Kelly McCullough.Here's the synopsis: 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.THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAIDS is told from the first person perspective of Amra Thetys, an ordinary thief in an unordinary world. In her own words she's not terribly feminine, she's got a scarred face, a figure like a boy, and a mouth like a sailor. She's always got a knife hidden somewhere on her body and knows how to use it. She's sarcastic and cynical and she knows her way around the streets of Lucernis. In other words she's the perfect narrator for this type of story.She's a bit cliche in that sense (the genre is full of similar characters) but I found myself growing attached to Amra as she stumbled from one misfortune to the next. It's hard not to develop affection for a character who shares nuggets of wisdom like this..."I figured stirring up trouble would help keep eyes off me. It's easier to swim unnoticed in muddy water..." and..."Demon crabs spin mucus webs, I thought. This is knowledge I could live my whole life without." The supporting cast is equally enjoyable. Amra's friend Holgren is a powerful mage with a hidden past. To my delight Holgren ended up taking a much more prominent role than I first suspected. Kluge is an inspector and a mage of lesser abilities, intent on pinning Corbin's murder on Amra. I doubt that we've seen the last of Kluge. Osskil, Corbin's brother, and Bosch, a fun villain, two more favorites of mine. McClung doesn't delve too deeply into any of these characters but they never felt flat. THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAID takes place in the city of Lucernis, largest city in the West. McClung has imagined a fascinating fantasy setting with its own colorful culture and weighty history. This is the novel's biggest draw. I found funerary practices in Lucernis to be especially interesting -- final meals with the deceased in attendance, professional mourners, and graveyard guardians. There are gods and demons and magic and better yet, it all feels refreshingly original. It's an investigatory sword & sorcery novel but there's a hint of epic fantasy running under the surface. I'm eager to read the sequel, THE THIEF WHO SPAT IN LUCK'S EYE, so that I can learn more about the world Amra inhabits. Amra's narration propels the plot forward at a brisk pace. There's a strong sense of forward momentum as McClung refuses to linger in any one area for longer than necessary. As a result readers get a grand tour of the city of Lucernis. And while sometimes I wished the story had stopped to smell the roses for just a bit longer it was only because I was keen to learn more. I did manage to solve the central mystery before the end of the book but that did little to diminish my enjoyment. THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE'S BRAIDS is a model of what self-published fiction can be. From the propulsive prose to the clean editing it is evident that McClung takes great pride in his craft. I am fortunate to have been assigned this novel and I will be reading the sequels and I intend to support it in the next phase of the Great Self-published Fantasy Blog-off. Age: 14+Language: MildViolence: A dude's body gets magically exploded. Sex: Prostitution is mentioned but there is no explicit sex. Nick SharpsElitist Book Reviews
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  • ElmoVsBibo2.0
    January 1, 1970
    I love it. It was a story I was into from the beginning until the end. I loved the characters and how well the book was writen. I'm usually not really a fan of storys that are told from just one perspective. But it just fit. I already bought the second part and am excited to read it.
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  • Joel
    January 1, 1970
    FULL REVIEW ON MY BLOG, TOTAL INABILITY TO CONNECTThe Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids came fairly highly acclaimed as an independent novel, even winning Mark Lawrence’s self-published Fantasy Blog-Off. I heard quite a bit of buzz about it in the last couple years, enough that I felt it must be added to the reading list. When I finally got a chance to read it, however, I found it didn’t necessarily live up to all the hype.Amra Thetys, a thief, finds herself in the middle of a quagmire, after FULL REVIEW ON MY BLOG, TOTAL INABILITY TO CONNECTThe Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids came fairly highly acclaimed as an independent novel, even winning Mark Lawrence’s self-published Fantasy Blog-Off. I heard quite a bit of buzz about it in the last couple years, enough that I felt it must be added to the reading list. When I finally got a chance to read it, however, I found it didn’t necessarily live up to all the hype.Amra Thetys, a thief, finds herself in the middle of a quagmire, after her friend comes to her following a heist. He’s been hired to steal a set of artifacts, but feels the need to keep one of these for himself, for reasons unknown at that time, and asks his friend Amra to help guard it, as he’s being hunted in order to recover it. Shortly thereafter, he turns up dead, murdered in cold blood in front of his house, and Amra is quickly swept up in the investigations, and the many layers of drama involved.While a bit on the sparse side, the worldbuilding in Thief is interesting enough, presenting an interesting city, full of vivid and unique characters and places, as well as some very interesting (and morbid) customs and supernatural problems. The characters are numerous, which can be a bit of a problem at times as there’s quite a bit to keep up with in a very short novel, but they are all distinct enough, with their own voices and habits, as well as their own ways of handling things.There are tons of twists and turns in the story, as Amra fights off various forces, incarceration, contracts on her life, supernatural monsters, and various other obstacles in her quest to resolve her friend’s murder, as well as gain the revenge against his killers that she so desires. She enlists the help of a friend, a powerful mage, who assists her in her struggles, while at times feeling almost too powerful.Wherein the crux of some of the book’s problems begin – Amra seems to be constantly in unbeatable situations, extreme danger, extensive bodily or mental harm, yet comes out just fine, often with very easy, simple solutions that seem too convenient for the situations she finds herself in. The main issue I had with the novel was essentially that – everything seemed so…underwhelming. So convenient. So undeveloped. The novel is short, yet a TON of things are wedged into it, so very little time and energy is spent on individual events.It ends up leaving an anemic feel to things – situations get built up quickly, then resolved quickly, and on to the next thing. Lather, rinse, repeat. And at the same time, the writing lack a very distinct something – I could only describe it as “soul”. Everything is so matter-of-fact, so “this happened, it was ok”. Amra goes through an amazing amount of trauma, and each is just presented as a thing that occurred, with very little insight into the effects, very little “feel” to it. The entire book felt like a casual storytelling, with no heart, nothing to make me feel for the characters, or situations, or drama. It just came across so bland in presentation.McClung’s writing and ideas are clearly good, but the execution in this novel is lacking. I found myself unable to “get into” the book very much, because it lacked anything to draw me in, any feeling to give to the story or characters. I love a nice short novel, but this book would have benefitted greatly from another 50 pages, wherein McClung could explore the emotions, and take some time to show some impact to events, rather than just saying “x happened”. There was a ton of potential here, but it just missed the mark for me. It was close to being a very good book, but yet very far away at the same time.Rating: 2.75 / 5
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  • P. Kirby
    January 1, 1970
    Never let it be said that I don't judge a book by its cover.I clicked over to the preview pages because the cover drew my eye. Okay, so the price--Free!--did as well. But, I'm all about covers. This one wasn't particularly dynamic, but the simple, balanced composition suggested "professional," as opposed to the badly Photoshopped (with ugly edge matching) disasters that still typify the self-pubbed market.So...the book's contents.The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braid's is an entertaining yarn. Never let it be said that I don't judge a book by its cover.I clicked over to the preview pages because the cover drew my eye. Okay, so the price--Free!--did as well. But, I'm all about covers. This one wasn't particularly dynamic, but the simple, balanced composition suggested "professional," as opposed to the badly Photoshopped (with ugly edge matching) disasters that still typify the self-pubbed market.So...the book's contents.The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braid's is an entertaining yarn. Amra Thetys is a thief, and "kick-ass" in a genuine, believable manner. In other words, she doesn't talk tough, but turn into a helpless ninny when the obligatory love interest arrives on scene. This is may be due to the fact that there is no love interest, which, coincidentally, may be the story's strength.I love romance. And a truly sexy sex scene. A good romantic subplot is almost a necessity for me. Unfortunately, the trend lately has been to take a perfectly good heroine (or hero), introduce her to the love interest(s), and immediately devolve her into an addlepated lust monkey. Which is why so many of the urban fantasies I've read recently have been a disappointment. This novel isn't urban fantasy, but the premise, structured around a mystery, is similar to a lot of urban fantasy. Too often romantic fantasy novels plots are a series of poorly conceived coincidences designed to get the couple together (and fucking at inopportune moments).Amra's goal is simple. To find the person who killed her friend Corbin and make that person dead. Though assassination isn't her M.O., makin' stealthy and creeping unnoticed into habitations is. Naturally, she assumes that killing Corbin's killer will be easy once she identifies the perp. The problem is Corbin's killer may be more than the usual tough guy.Finding that she's over her head, she enlists the help of her buddy, Holgren, a mage. The nifty thing about Holgren is that he isn't a Gandalf. Meaning he doesn't exist solely to issue cryptic-prophetic statements, but otherwise stand around with his thumb up his butt, only using his powers as a last resort. Holgren is more than happy to turn a baddy into a cloud of bloody mist. Or cook up a super-speed spell. Holdgren's the kind of mage you want to have on a quest.Other characters round out the plot, but the Amra/Holgren duo are at the core of the action. Amra isn't afraid to get her hands dirty, but she doesn't escape unscathed from her take-charge approach; instead she emerges from her adventures, bloodied, broken and scarred. Or, rather, more scarred, since she apparently carries some significant facial scars from events in her past. Which leads to another point in her favor; she's not particularly pretty. I.e., no blather about how hot she looks; or worse yet, descriptions of her makeup routine and wardrobe.As character arcs go, Amra's is pancake flat. She starts and ends the story as pretty much the same person; she never has a dark moment (e.g.,"fuck this shit, I'm retiring to a tropic island"). That degree of depth, however, would probably conflict with the story's light, adventurous tone. I'd imagine, if the series continues through several novels, Amara's apparently complicated past will give subsequent stories a darker tone.Recommended to readers in search of a genuinely kick-ass, capable heroine in a fast-paced, fantasy adventure.
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  • Tracey the Lizard Queen
    January 1, 1970
    Full review at: http://thequeenofblades.blogspot.co.u...Back in 2015 this book appeared on my radar as a serious contender for the title of Mark Lawrence's Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO). In early 2016, it was declared the winner. Fast forward 3 months later, I purchased a Kindle copy from Amazon at an exceptionally cheap 99p. A week later, it appeared on NetGalley, with a shiny new cover and publisher. So of course I requested a copy straight away! It's this edition I'm reviewing, the Full review at: http://thequeenofblades.blogspot.co.u...Back in 2015 this book appeared on my radar as a serious contender for the title of Mark Lawrence's Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO). In early 2016, it was declared the winner. Fast forward 3 months later, I purchased a Kindle copy from Amazon at an exceptionally cheap 99p. A week later, it appeared on NetGalley, with a shiny new cover and publisher. So of course I requested a copy straight away! It's this edition I'm reviewing, the Ragnarok edition.Quite often, these kinds of revenge tales have a tendency to take themselves way too seriously, everything is bleak and severe. It's a difficult ask to get it right. Too much deliberate hardship and readers will be put off, not enough and they think the author has wasted their time, and more importantly their hard earned money. It's a delicate balance to get the story to flow organically, and yet still lead where the author intends. This one does it perfectly. Everything about it feels completely natural, from the world we find ourselves to the terrifically written characters, everything felt just right. I don't have the proper vocabulary to explain it, not in any way that would do it justice. It was just right. And Amra, what a joy she is! I love first person PoV books, and this one is insanely good. Perhaps I just identify with her because I am also a stubborn cow. Well they say stubborn, I say determined. Anyway, to the plot! A colleague/fellow thief shows up at Amra's door asking her to hold a little bit of treasure for him - a hideously ugly golden toad - just 'til midnight. Midnight comes, and goes. Amra immediately knows something bad has happened to Corbin. This was a refreshing story with an incredibly well written world and inhabitants. A very fun read and I cannot wait for more!*I received an e-copy for the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Helene
    January 1, 1970
    GRIPPINGLOVE THIS BOOK !Superb fantasy story . Not weighty which is great ! Because it still maintains a solid multi-dimensional plot . Filled with mayhem , murder, and magic .STRAIGHTFORWARDLY and ENTERTAINING Amra is the main female character and she is written brilliantly! Gritty and awesome . She breaks the barrier in a badass way . Fierce not flowery. Strong and determined. Backed with characters that make this a memorable and awesome page-turner . PARAGON on what self-publishing fiction ca GRIPPINGLOVE THIS BOOK !Superb fantasy story . Not weighty which is great ! Because it still maintains a solid multi-dimensional plot . Filled with mayhem , murder, and magic .STRAIGHTFORWARDLY and ENTERTAINING Amra is the main female character and she is written brilliantly! Gritty and awesome . She breaks the barrier in a badass way . Fierce not flowery. Strong and determined. Backed with characters that make this a memorable and awesome page-turner . PARAGON on what self-publishing fiction can be . From the sweeping prose to the upstanding editing . It is evident the McClung has great passion, honor and dignity in his writing . Looking forward to reading more ...
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  • Francesco Lanza
    January 1, 1970
    This one's a doozy! Yeah, it's filled with fantasy thief stereotypes, but it has a sympathetic MC, a compelling and fast plot, is not too long, it has horrifying magic, not-so-immortal gods, and big plus, it's a revenge tale! Yeah, with a thief as a protagonist, you either get that or a heist.Amra Tethys is a rugged rogue, hiding knives in her boots and never trusting anyone. Can she avenge a murder and survive with an occult valuable equally coveted by men and sorcerers? I can say her inner dia This one's a doozy! Yeah, it's filled with fantasy thief stereotypes, but it has a sympathetic MC, a compelling and fast plot, is not too long, it has horrifying magic, not-so-immortal gods, and big plus, it's a revenge tale! Yeah, with a thief as a protagonist, you either get that or a heist.Amra Tethys is a rugged rogue, hiding knives in her boots and never trusting anyone. Can she avenge a murder and survive with an occult valuable equally coveted by men and sorcerers? I can say her inner dialogue sounds like a less dorky and far more badass Harry Dresden, and that she has some brilliant lines and a lot of courage.This novel is woundrous fun and can't be put down easily!
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  • Jason M Waltz
    January 1, 1970
    this was a delight to read! I fully enjoyed the heroine, the setting, the plot and the tone of the tale. good old sword and sorcery coupled with honorable traits of loyalty, integrity and vengeance. I'm jumping into book 2 immediately!
  • Miriam Michalak
    January 1, 1970
    Amra Thetys is such a great character who manages not to fit the main female fantasy stereotypes, which is refreshing! Enjoyed spending time with her and am looking forward to more of her adventures.
  • Vira
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve received the 2nd edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is a story of Amra Thetys, an honorable thief, seeking revenge for the murder of her friend and fighting ancient magic that becomes very interested in her. It’s a noir detective story mixed with fantasy, meaning that the general mood is rather brutal, dark and not at all glittery. Which I loved and found absolutely alluring.CharactersAmra is exactly the type of a her I’ve received the 2nd edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids is a story of Amra Thetys, an honorable thief, seeking revenge for the murder of her friend and fighting ancient magic that becomes very interested in her. It’s a noir detective story mixed with fantasy, meaning that the general mood is rather brutal, dark and not at all glittery. Which I loved and found absolutely alluring.CharactersAmra is exactly the type of a heroine this novel needs. She’s bold, brave, smart, loyal and honest, which has earned her a good reputation among people of her trade. She’s also very real - with a scarred face and a scarred soul, she has her flaws and weaknesses. Cynical, lacking any false pretense and free of Special Snowflake complex, she just does her thing and does it kick-ass style. There’s also her friend Holgren, a mysterious mage who Amra knows almost nothing about except that he’s rather good and that him being a mage makes their partnership rather flimsy. As he helps Amra, we see that there’s much more to his abilities and knowledge that he cares to show - which, together with his courage and a free will to assist Amra in her quest, makes him an intriguing and promising character.There’s also a variety of supporting characters on both sides, who make the story richer and more exciting - from madams and handlers to elites and Gods.WorldAmra lives in Lucernis, a city where common people live side by side with blood witches, mages and other kinds of magical creatures. Long time ago there also were Gods, but most of them are dead or have disappeared after the last War of Gods, so the only thing left is numerous temples with priests. I really enjoyed the world, it draws you in from the very first page, although I can’t say I’m totally satisfied. Most of the world-building is carried out through its inhabitants - who they are, what they do and how they do it. Magical, wicked, ambiguous or simply evil, the characters turn the world into something real and tangible. I would prefer to know more about traditions, cultural peculiarities and rituals - such as the creepy yet fascinating funeral ceremony, that has made a great impression on me. So I have high hopes for the next book in the series.Plot and WritingBefore getting killed, Amra’s friend leaves her an ancient statue and asks to keep it safe. After he never comes to claim it and Amra finds out he’s dead, she makes a promise to avenge his death. But as soon as she starts her quest for revenge, she also finds herself hunted down by powerful and dangerous forces that desire the statue. Needless to say, the book is packed with mystery, action and unexpected twists. I enjoyed the rather fast paste and the rhythm of the narration. The story is told from Amra’s POV and she’s a great narrator - never rambling, always on point, giving enough insight into both the emotional and physical. I’ve noticed several typos, which seems rather unprofessional for a 2nd edition of the book. Hopefully, this will be amended. VerdictThe Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids has really surprised me and I’m definitely going to read the next book. Strongly recommend.
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  • Courtney Schafer
    January 1, 1970
    I read this one because it won Mark Lawrence’s Self Published Blog-off. It’s a fun, fast read–I enjoyed the protagonist’s voice (I always love a snarky thief), the writing was fairly smooth, and the plot kept me interested. Definitely one of the better indie books I’ve read.
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  • Lanko
    January 1, 1970
    Creative, funny book title. Gorgeous cover. A book about a thief. I'm in!Amra Thetys is our eyes in this world and we get into the cause of Amra's actions throughout the book right away: the murder of her friend Corbin. This is good for the pace, but actually terrible for the character's motivation. Because even if for her it could have been decades of relationship, for us readers it wasn't more than 10 pages or so. And there isn't any flashback of anything special revealed later about them eith Creative, funny book title. Gorgeous cover. A book about a thief. I'm in!Amra Thetys is our eyes in this world and we get into the cause of Amra's actions throughout the book right away: the murder of her friend Corbin. This is good for the pace, but actually terrible for the character's motivation. Because even if for her it could have been decades of relationship, for us readers it wasn't more than 10 pages or so. And there isn't any flashback of anything special revealed later about them either. They didn't even loved each other or were relatives, so I really couldn't buy why Amra was doing and risking so much for the guy. The book is written in first person, so the major thing is gonna be Amra. She is witty, funny, cynical. She really steps up on that. Another big plus of the book: there is no cheesy romance. In a certain scene Amra thinks about a family and feels a hole in her heart. Later she meets honest noble guy. I thought "here it comes".Nope, doesn't happen. Thankfully. Neither of them fall for the other. Well, at least in this book, who knows.However, one problem for me is that Amra is a thief, but never felt like a thief to me after the beginning of the book. She attempts to invade a villa and we get detailed descriptions of characters routines and the setting. It was really good, a thief would really see every detail of everything and everyone. Her thoughts on how to invade the villa were awesome as well. The character got some really good, cold, calculated thinking. In another moment, in a tavern brawl, she manages to trick her pursuers and still get a mage from behind. Awesome.But it stops right there. Never again we get this full descriptions of characters and places or Arma goes sneaky mode. Imagine you are playing Metal Gear Solid and then the game suddenly changes to Call of Duty. Worse, it's not even her going guns ablaze, but her sidekick.She stops planning and sneaking. She gets every ally she needs and they mostly react to what her enemies are doing. When that doesn't happen, she is guided or given something by Holgren.Speaking of Holgren, he was extremely overpowered, even Arma recognizes that. Maybe there's more to him to find out in the next books, but he just reduced a lot of tension by being there to save Amra multiple times. This reduced a lot of "kickass" from Amra, as she is the heroine who is saved multiple times and most of the job is done by Holgren, directly or indirectly.While Amra shows some admirable traits, this is overused and becomes another problem with Amra, Corbin and her companions: They are too honorable and honest.We are told many times how bad life in certain parts of the city is, how crime runs rampart, and so on. But aside from swearing now and then, this didn't seem to have affected her much. It's not just Amra herself. She tells us Corbin was even more honest, even naive, specially regarding people, which is surreal considering he is the best thief around, have deals with plenty of fencers, risks his life in dubious enterprises for dubious people and is a very wanted criminal. Her mage friend, her fencers, her contract brokers, everyone is also super honest. I was wondering why all these people lived in the shadow of the law, sleeping with one eye open every night, considering their honest behavior and hard working skills. Like her super talented mage friend.Even the honest noble and the police simply cooperate with Amra in the end and are even honored to know her! For a thief in the slums, Amra, companions and setting lacked mistrust, mischief, people taking advantage of one another, backstabbing, and such. They seemed all good, trustworthy people. I really didn't buy why she, and later Holgren, were risking their lives, being wanted by both authorities and criminals to avenge a guy they barely knew or, frankly, seemed to care.When they find out who killed Corbin and why, I actually didn't care. Corbin already didn't have buildup time with us. And the "villain" even less.Adding insult to the injury, there's a scene where Corbin is "reanimated". I thought then some secret or amusing conversation would happen between him and Amra, but... absolutely nothing.Considering her background in thievery, she actually doesn't do anything morally questionable to get the "villains" or something like. Sure, we have to like the protagonist, but sometimes this "likeable protagonist" strategy isn't used well and actually detracts from a story.Even a character points that out:(Amra)"I may have got the wrong villains. May have. But they're still villains, Fengal."(Fengal) "Since when is it your job to deal with evil, Amra? You're a thief, not a hells-damned knight of the Order of the Oak. And consider this, please; while you're keeping the world safe from these very bad men, it's more than possible that your friend's real killer is out there, safe, satisfied."Was also strange Amra always walks with half a dozen knives and has another two dozens or so around her house in strategic places. But she doesn't like to hurt/kill people, specially cold-blooded murder. But's her whole motive in the story: avenge Corbin by assassinating whoever killed him. The magic: the magic in the book was way overpowered. Felt like whoever could use it, could do anything and I kept the whole book wondering why they would live in poverty or not dominate the city with all that power anyway. Her enemies even killed gods.Worse, this affected Amra as well. There's an assassin who can kill dozens in the blink of an eye. Some mage who can mutate into a big monster. Her sidekick is pretty much magical Rambo. It's ok that Amra didn't have overpowered abilities. But then we would expect her to deal with her enemies with wit, deception and traps. She apparently forgot everything about being a sneaking thief.It was strange to see Amra facing a big enemy and then we learn that while she was trying to stay alive her partner obliterated a dozen monsters outside, then comes inside and deals with that enemy as well. And adding to that the fact that Amra instead of trying to sneak into that building simply mindlessly charged through the front door.The world setting and myths have a lot of potential. The Necropolis and burial ritual were very good.There is a weapon that needed to be contained and Amra actually did really well in this part. It was pretty mischievous.If she couldn't contain it, imagine her fate similar to something that could come out of a Diablo game. Really loved this part.It may look like I'm bashing Amra, but it's not true. Her dialogue is very good. She is likable (perhaps a little too much with too much authorial manipulation), she swears and she looks dangerous. I enjoyed reading this.But she forgets she is a thief and her motives to start the whole story never convinced me. She wasn't even being mercilessly hunted. I'm ok with more characters being decisive in the story and stealing the spotlight now and then, but Holgren does this in pretty much every decisive moment (and a gargoyle later too) and shoves Amra away (except the "contain weapon part").If you don't mind that, you will probably rate it much higher. Amra does shine in a lot of parts. She is a likable character (maybe just too honorable). It's fast paced, doesn't having boring moments, the dialogue is pretty good.
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  • The Nerd Book Review
    January 1, 1970
    Since I’m sitting with a sick kiddo on my lap at the moment typing is hard so I’ll give a more thorough review laterThis one started fairly slow for me, and isn’t quite as refined editing wise as most high end self published books written today and that stopped me from getting into that movie in my mind early on. I really enjoyed the middle part from about 40-85% but I felt like the ending was a slight bit anticlimactic. The big action scene took place before the real ending, something that I ac Since I’m sitting with a sick kiddo on my lap at the moment typing is hard so I’ll give a more thorough review laterThis one started fairly slow for me, and isn’t quite as refined editing wise as most high end self published books written today and that stopped me from getting into that movie in my mind early on. I really enjoyed the middle part from about 40-85% but I felt like the ending was a slight bit anticlimactic. The big action scene took place before the real ending, something that I actually enjoy if done correctly, but I didn’t feel like it was quite as action packed as I would have liked. I honestly never thought that any of the MC’s were in any real danger. I can understand why this book did well In SPFBO 1 and it would probably be a finalist this year but if I was a judge it wouldn’t challenge the last 2 winners in my mind.
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