I often don’t get as far as buying books narrated by the author as they frequently let me down. I was a little unsure to start with Christopher Buehlman narrating his own work, The Blacktongue Thief, in a heavy Irish accent. All up, I think I listened to the preview three times before taking the plunge. It still took me a while to settle in with the accent, and I actually found speeding up the playback to 1.6x was my sweet spot for listening. Weird, as you’d think slowing down a heavy accent would be needed, but (for me at least) speeding him up made it easier.
Buehlman did a fairly good job of it, too, with diversity in characters to keep separate, I think there was a unique voice for each. Was it the best performance ever? Maybe not, and maybe someone else could have elevated it further, but I think overall he did a good job.
The story itself is engaging. Set a number of years after “mankind” has gone to war against goblins, with both sides suffering mightily. Kinch is a clever thief, in debt to his ears to the guild, he picks a target to rob and it goes awry. Needing to make some quick money to pay off his guild fees, he’s roped into a mysterious adventure across country with Galva, the woman he tried to rob.
Along the way, they pick up witches, assassins, and a blind cat. They have a run-in with whalers, krakens, giants and slavers, and are frequently in peril. The humour is dry and had me chuckling quite often. On occasion, the narrator busts into song, which I can live without in an audiobook. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve never been much of a fan of singing in books.
I didn’t realise this was book one of a series when I purchased it, and I found myself wondering how everything was going to wrap up by the end. Thankfully, it did have a satisfying ending without massive cliffhangers, but it left enough ground still to cover in future books.
I’ve added the author to my “Follow” list so I can grab the next book as soon as it comes out. I’ll definitely be giving this one another listen in the future. Well recommended.