So I have this one friend who’s a really picky reader. When she suggested I read Among Thieves: A Tale of the Kin by Douglas Hulick, I was a little wary. You see, our tastes tend to differ a little when it comes to books, music, food…and well, everything. Nevertheless, I bought it online and started reading it.
There’s no mistaking it: this is a VERY good book. I was sorry that it ended, actually. But I didn’t always think so. You want to know why?
It’s simple. Until you reach page 101, it’s a difficult read. This is high fantasy, meaning it’s set in a world that isn’t our own. It’s the same genre that Lord of the Rings belongs to. The problem is that it’s just loaded with so much complicated information that you struggle to retain it all.
Until you reach the end of page 101, just before the start of Chapter Ten, none of this information you’re receiving makes any actual sense. It also doesn’t help that the words are a bit confusing. By which I mean ‘cant’ is used as ‘Thieves Cant’ which is supposed to be criminal jargon or something, and ‘Upright Men’ that are supposed to be Godfather-like crime lords. Plus, there’s a bucket full of tricky concepts like the incarnations of the king’s soul…? The reader knows that all this information is actually important to the story, but until page 101, you’re not sure how, and this is slightly irritating.
At the said page, one of the first connections is made. Suddenly, like Atlantis emerging from the sea, a plot appears in front of your eyes. There are connections, links, questions everywhere. You don’t know who to trust, you don’t know what’s going on…!!
…Which is not to say that there isn’t a plot before page 101. Actually, things start happening in the novel (and I mean this in the literal sense) immediately. From the second your eyes hit the page. My problem really is with the information overload we get before things finally start making sense.
Oh right! I forgot to tell you what the book’s actually about! Stupid me.
It’s about Drothe, who is part of the ‘Kin’. Which basically means he’s a criminal. He also has a gift that few others do: night vision. He works as a Nose, sniffing out information for his boss. He has a side job as a smuggler of relics. Lots of stuff happens, and yada-yada-yada, he ends up with a very dangerous book. He’s getting hunted. Plenty of assassination attempts. Tons of suspense and action. Thankfully, very little romance. Add excellent (if not tricky) concepts and plot twists (Gray Princes, White Sashes, Angels), and you have yourself a winner.
My favourite characters in the book are Drothe and Degan. They’re as thick as thieves. (Sorry, I just couldn’t help it). They’ve fought for each other and bled for each other. If I had to choose which one I liked more, it’s probably Degan. He has a lot of class, you see. Drothe’s more crass, a bit like Han Solo from Star Wars.
By the time I was done with the book, I wished I hadn’t finished it. I wanted to read more. My advice is, read this book. And to the friend who suggested this to me: YOU ROCK.