Skip to main content

A high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice

Six of Crows meets Gentleman Bastards in this character-driven heist story full of action, magic, secrets, witty banter, and brutal betrayals. And I realise that those are big series names to live up to, but M.J. Kuhn quickly proves that she can do so, and really damn brilliantly at that. Among Thieves is the multi-POV grimdark heist fantasy of your dreams.

Now, we are all familiar with the typical heist stories where a motley crew of misfits band together to obtain a powerful magic object. But what happens when every single one of the treacherous bastards has their own hidden agendas and is ready to royally fuck all the others over? That’s right, everything goes to shit, but in the most entertaining way you could ever imagine.

The highlight of this book is without a doubt the brilliant cast of characters and their incredibly compelling interpersonal relationships. I have made it no secret that I love me some good foul-mouthed morally grey characters, so it is really no surprise that I immediately latched onto all these miscreants and broken souls who have just enough devilish charm and redeeming qualities to be entirely too endearing (though I doubt they would like me saying that).

Ryia, the Butcher of Carowick, is arguably the main protagonist of this story, but we actually get POVs from all of the other crew members as well and they all have their own compelling journey to follow.
I am quite impressed with how the author managed to establish such vivid and three-dimensional characters with such emotional depth, while also keeping them largely shrouded in mystery. They all have quite a tragic backstory that we slowly get to see unravel as the story progresses, and that only made them more intriguing to me.

Also, I was nervous that the multi-POV storytelling would hinder my enjoyment and emotional investment, but Kuhn absolutely nailed it in my opinion. It did take me a while at the start to really find my footing, but once all their paths crossed I was fully hooked.

I think the sarcasm, snark, and witty banter is absolutely top-notch and I loved the reluctant and tentative alliances that slowly started to develop over the course of the story. There is so much tension and distrust between all of these characters, which is only enhanced because we as the reader know what their real intentions are, and I absolutely loved that feeling of suspense. There are also some very minor dashes of romance and hints of sapphic sexual tension, which I was completely on-board for.

The heist plot itself is very clever and I thought all the intricate schemes, elaborate traps, and brutal back stabbings and betrayals were very well written. I do think I could have enjoyed this book even more if it had been a bit longer or if it was slightly slower paced, because the characters (and readers) can barely catch a breath and there were so many intriguing aspects of this world that we only got glimpses of.
The magic is an integral part of the plot, but I personally never fully grasped its workings and that made some of the supposedly big reveals fall slightly flat for me. Also, while I loved the dark and seedy atmosphere of the criminal underbelly of the city, I found the political machinations between the major gangs a bit hard to follow at times.

That said, I am mostly a character-driven reader anyway and the quick moving plot did keep me super engaged, so in the end I still had an absolute blast with this story. This book ends with a bang and leaves these characters off in a very interesting position, so of course I am dying to see what other shit they can get themselves into next.
I would highly recommend this story if you are looking for an engaging dark fantasy with an endearing cast of morally grey characters, a dangerous heist, jaw-dropping plot twists, intriguing magic, excellent snark and banter, and some surprising emotional gut punches. Simply said, Among Thieves is dark heist fantasy done right.

 

 

Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Among Thieves
Esmay Rosalyne

Esmay is a self-proclaimed professional book devourer from The Netherlands. While (dark) fantasy will always have her heart, she is also a big indie/self-pub enthusiast and will probably read anything if the premise sounds intriguing enough. Or, you know, if it promises complete emotional destruction. When not reading books, she is probably reviewing books, talking about books, or watching videos of fellow bookworms talking about books.

Leave a Reply