“…things seem hopeless. But can Ryia get the gang back together for one last job?”
Thick as Thieves is the much-anticipated sequel to the dark heist fantasy Among Thieves, and closes out the Thieves duology with an absolute bang. It’s bigger, better, grittier, and more gut wrenching in every single way imaginable, making this the beautifully bittersweet finale that this series needed and deserved.
Our favourite motley crew of morally grey misfits made a bit of a mess of their last mission, and now they have to deal with the fallout of all their betrayals, screw-ups, and questionable actions.
Once again, they find themselves reluctantly having to work together to do some fucked up shit for a somewhat noble cause. Not really because they are heroes, but mostly because it just so happens that all their selfish ambitions align with their common goal. And with that recipe for disaster, we kick off another gritty heist adventure full of action, magic, secrets, betrayals, and plenty of dark humour.
I already really enjoyed the first book in this duology, but this sequel truly just took everything that was good from book 1 and cranked it up to eleven.
The pacing remains quick and engaging, but Kuhn also weaves in a lot more character development and skillfully expands the world in exciting ways, which makes this a very satisfying and perfectly well-balanced book.
My favourite part of coming back to this series was reconnecting with these endearing yet morally ambiguous characters who are way too cynical and sarcastic for their own good. We dive way deeper into their (often tragic) backstories, which not only strengthens the character development, but also expands the world as we learn about their different cultural backgrounds and upbringings.
I think Ryia still remains the true main protagonist of this story, but all the other POV characters, more minor secondary characters, and antagonists also get a lot more fleshed out. Each of them has a compelling journey to follow and I really liked how everyone’s morality and sense of loyalty is tested beyond belief in this story. They all make decisions that make you want to smack them in the face, but that is exactly why I love them so much.
The interpersonal relationships in this series are also so beautifully human and painfully messy, and I really appreciate how we get to explore sensitive themes of loyalty, trust, sexuality, and family through those complicated dynamics. Especially the slow-burn sapphic love story between Evelyn and Ryia ended up being one of my favourite dynamics in this series, and I totally wouldn’t mind an entire spin-off series just following them on whatever adventures they go on next.
I also liked that there are multiple surprising friendship/family reunions and some unexpected losses in this book that hit me harder than I was anticipating, which just goes to show how effective and emotionally engaging the character work is.
Now, one of my major complaints about book 1 was that I felt like the world building and magic system left me a bit wanting, but Kuhn absolutely delivered on that here.
I was so surprised to discover how well thought-out this magic system actually is and loved learning about all the lore and history behind the origin of the Adept magic.
Also, I think it was also a really smart decision to start the story off with the characters scattered all over the five kingdoms of Thamorr, as this naturally opened up the world and gave much more insight into the different political factions that are at play here.
This is not an insanely long book and there are a lot of moving parts, yet Kuhn somehow juggled them all masterfully and wove everything together into one satisfying and cohesive narrative. All the seemingly separate story threads end up being interconnected in some way and I loved how one minor decision could end up having major rippling effects throughout everyone’s lives and also the wider world as a whole. The stakes are truly sky-high, the tension is riveting, and all the (magical) action scenes are incredibly cinematic and thrilling, which made this book simply unputdownable from start to finish.
Overall, I think that Thick as Thieves is a very worthy and successful follow-up to an already incredibly brilliant debut. I like that this duology wraps up this main plot and gives the characters enough closure to satisfy the readers, yet also leaves open some threads to pursue if the author decides to come back to this world, which I would be 100% on-board for.
If you want an entertaining and edge of your seat high fantasy heist story with a cast of morally grey characters that you can root for, excellent banter, cutthroat political intrigue, brutal back stabbings and betrayals, a well thought-out magic system, some nice seafaring sequences, a touch of slow-burn (queer) romance, and plenty of bittersweet emotional gut punches, then you have to read the Thieves duology!