Page Count: 208
Release Date: October 8th, 2012
Series: Amra Thetys, Book 1
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars – Really Liked It!
Amra Thetys is a thief and a damned good one. She knows how to stay alive and keep clear of trouble. But her friend Corbin ends up bringing trouble to her door regardless. He’s had a client try to stiff him on payment, and he wants Amra to hold on to the last item he was supposed to deliver while he renegotiates the delivery price. But when Corbin turns up dead, Amra is stuck with item someone in the city is willing to kill for, and a city guard that is happy to pin the whole matter on her and call it a day. With only a recluse mage to turn to for support, Amra will have to find the killer before she ends up his next victim.
THE THIEF WHO PULLED ON TROUBLE’S BRAIDS is here to remind you that length is not directly proportional to fun and quality. For a book that clocks in under 200 pages (the last several pages are glossary materials explaining the world) TROUBLE’S BRAIDS gets a lot done, and is a complete, thrilling adventure. Amra deals with magic, demons, gods, and the average mortal adversary as she tries to untangle why everyone is after this statute she’s got. It’s one adventure after another without feeling rushed, and the book even has time for downbeats in between all the action.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this backwater town, that has a very late eighteenth century feel, with lamplighters and long coats and arquebus guns used sporadically (though this is very much a sword-using society). The story manages to lay out grim stakes without going grimdark; you’ll know some grisly things happened without excruciating detail. I also appreciated that by the time I realized there was a section in the back of the book that explained the world (which was after I finished the book), I didn’t feel like I needed it. The author gives you just enough information so that you understand the broad politics, geography, and religion, without it feeling like an info dump. By all means, if you want to know more about the history, it is there for the reading (and I’ll likely go back to it later) but it’s not at all a requirement for settling into the story.
We also get teased a larger setup for the series that’s one of my favorite tropes: the reluctant hero who is really annoyed at constantly being dragged into the affairs of higher powers. Amra’s first adventure is only the beginning, and despite her protestations, she is far from being done with the magical machinations of other beings. I’m so glad I had a chance to check this book out, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!