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City of the Uncommon Thief

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A dark and intricate fantasy, City of the Uncommon Thief is the story of a quarantined city gripped by fear and of the war that can free it. "Guilders work. Foundlings scrub the bogs. Needles bind. Swords tear. And men leave. There is nothing uncommon in this city. I hope Errol Thebes is dead. We both know he is safer that way." In a walled city of a mile-high iron guild tow A dark and intricate fantasy, City of the Uncommon Thief is the story of a quarantined city gripped by fear and of the war that can free it. "Guilders work. Foundlings scrub the bogs. Needles bind. Swords tear. And men leave. There is nothing uncommon in this city. I hope Errol Thebes is dead. We both know he is safer that way." In a walled city of a mile-high iron guild towers, many things are common knowledge: No book in any of the city's libraries reveals its place on a calendar or a map. No living beasts can be found within the city's walls. And no good comes to the guilder or foundling who trespasses too far from their labors. Even on the tower rooftops, where Errol Thebes and the rest of the city's teenagers pass a few short years under an open sky, no one truly believe anything uncommon is possible within the city walls. But one guildmaster has broken tradition to protect her child, and as a result the whole city faces an uncommon threat: a pair of black iron spikes that have the power of both sword and needle on the ribcages of men have gone missing, but the mayhem they cause rises everywhere. If the spikes not found and contained, no wall will be high enough to protect the city--or the world beyond it. And Errol Thebes? He's not dead and he's certainly not safe.


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A dark and intricate fantasy, City of the Uncommon Thief is the story of a quarantined city gripped by fear and of the war that can free it. "Guilders work. Foundlings scrub the bogs. Needles bind. Swords tear. And men leave. There is nothing uncommon in this city. I hope Errol Thebes is dead. We both know he is safer that way." In a walled city of a mile-high iron guild tow A dark and intricate fantasy, City of the Uncommon Thief is the story of a quarantined city gripped by fear and of the war that can free it. "Guilders work. Foundlings scrub the bogs. Needles bind. Swords tear. And men leave. There is nothing uncommon in this city. I hope Errol Thebes is dead. We both know he is safer that way." In a walled city of a mile-high iron guild towers, many things are common knowledge: No book in any of the city's libraries reveals its place on a calendar or a map. No living beasts can be found within the city's walls. And no good comes to the guilder or foundling who trespasses too far from their labors. Even on the tower rooftops, where Errol Thebes and the rest of the city's teenagers pass a few short years under an open sky, no one truly believe anything uncommon is possible within the city walls. But one guildmaster has broken tradition to protect her child, and as a result the whole city faces an uncommon threat: a pair of black iron spikes that have the power of both sword and needle on the ribcages of men have gone missing, but the mayhem they cause rises everywhere. If the spikes not found and contained, no wall will be high enough to protect the city--or the world beyond it. And Errol Thebes? He's not dead and he's certainly not safe.

30 review for City of the Uncommon Thief

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    DNF at 10% Unfortunately the writing style of this book was really not working for me. It seems confusing and needlessly complicated, at least in the first part of the book. It's unclear what is happening, who exactly this main character is, or why we should care about any of it, although the writing does become more understandable a chapter or so in. There are frequent references to Greek mythology, but without much context or established world-building which feels a bit pedantic. I like Greek m DNF at 10% Unfortunately the writing style of this book was really not working for me. It seems confusing and needlessly complicated, at least in the first part of the book. It's unclear what is happening, who exactly this main character is, or why we should care about any of it, although the writing does become more understandable a chapter or so in. There are frequent references to Greek mythology, but without much context or established world-building which feels a bit pedantic. I like Greek mythology, but the way this is being done I find off-putting. I also wasn't loving the crudeness of the character dialogue. I can deal with some of that if I'm invested in who the characters are, but it's never my favorite thing and this didn't hit well for me. I think if you can get on with the writing style and are really into stories about rough and tumble thieves, you might get on better with this than I did. I received an advance copy of this book for review via netgalley, all opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tiffani Reads

    DNF at 37% Thank you to Penguin Teen for allowing me to have an advanced digital copy of this book. Unfortunately, it was just not for me. I tried to push through but I was supremely bored while reading. At one point everyone almost starves to death and I was actually rooting for that to happen so this book could be done. The concept seems really cool but just not enough substance was there to keep me invested in the story. I also found all the characters to be extremely dull and self-centred wh DNF at 37% Thank you to Penguin Teen for allowing me to have an advanced digital copy of this book. Unfortunately, it was just not for me. I tried to push through but I was supremely bored while reading. At one point everyone almost starves to death and I was actually rooting for that to happen so this book could be done. The concept seems really cool but just not enough substance was there to keep me invested in the story. I also found all the characters to be extremely dull and self-centred which made it hard to root for them or read about them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    **Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin/Dutton Books for Young Readers for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my rating for this title** I consider myself a fairly well-read person in terms of High Fantasy books. I've read the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy AND The Silmarillion. I've read ACOTAR multiple times. I've read Game of Thrones. I do not give up easily when the world building is complex. This is a new level of nightmarish "world building" and for that reaso **Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin/Dutton Books for Young Readers for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my rating for this title** I consider myself a fairly well-read person in terms of High Fantasy books. I've read the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy AND The Silmarillion. I've read ACOTAR multiple times. I've read Game of Thrones. I do not give up easily when the world building is complex. This is a new level of nightmarish "world building" and for that reason, I couldn't bring myself to finish it. It was taking me an hour to read about 20 pages (that is very slow for me). From what I've gathered, our hero, Odd Thebes, accidentally stumbles upon a weird weapon with his cousin, Errol, that makes Errol a fugitive and puts them in danger from a rival guild. I made it about 100 pages in and there have been so many characters and so many guilds that Odd does not belong to that it's difficult to keep the plot straight. Bertrand front loads ALL of her world building onto the reader in the first 4 pages. There is a map of 50 guilds (which was drawn beautifully, but difficult to understand). In looking at a finished copy, they've included the rival guild that was not on the map in my ARC, so I had no idea why this VERY important guild was missing from the map of 50 other guilds. I had to redraw the map myself to understand how all the rooftops are connected. I also combined the page listing all the exports of the guilds onto the map so I didn't have to keep flipping between those pages to get all the information. Additionally, there is another page with slang terms used in the book. For example, there are different words for all 24 hours of the day (i.e. 7 AM has a different word than 7 PM), the days of the weeks, and the months. There are also slang terms that are not included in this semi-glossary, leaving the reader to intuit what they mean on their own. This made it INCREDIBLY difficult to stay in the story instead of feeling like I was studying for a college lecture. I'm okay with front loading the world building and explaining the rules outright at the beginning, but being given essentially an info dump in the form of four pages of notes and being expected to remember that information to proceed with the book is inexcusable. I honestly just felt barraged with information and it was written in such a way that you are almost constantly out of the action and puts all of the work on the reader. I feel like it's the author's job to explain the world and make me invested in it, not the reader's job to essentially force themselves into the world. I don't usually give a rating to books I DNF'd because I feel it's unfair, but because I'm DNF-ing SOLELY based on the insane world building issues which are keeping me from getting into the book at all, I feel okay rating this book a 1. There are so many problems with the way this is written that it will be a very persistent reader who refuses to DNF that will read this. Others will most likely be scared off by it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    “We’re at the mercy of a fleet of strangers from a world which walls us in.” This was a very hard read. The dialogue is a mixture of “languages” and “slang” that slow down the reading pace. It made connecting with the characters and understanding their persona difficult at best. There is an intricate thought process behind the world-building I found intriguing. A world of teen runners basically ziplining from errand to errand across vast abyss-like distances to meet quotas. I was drawn in by the “We’re at the mercy of a fleet of strangers from a world which walls us in.” This was a very hard read. The dialogue is a mixture of “languages” and “slang” that slow down the reading pace. It made connecting with the characters and understanding their persona difficult at best. There is an intricate thought process behind the world-building I found intriguing. A world of teen runners basically ziplining from errand to errand across vast abyss-like distances to meet quotas. I was drawn in by the idea of a quarantined city cut off from everything. I imagined this closed off world getting near the rationing stage of existence while raiders outside the massive walls caused chaos. But it wasn’t really that. I can’t exactly pinpoint what way the plot truly wanted to go. It veers in different directions pulling in ideas that didn’t always fit. I liked the tidbits pulled from old mythologies and the odd bits of humor splashed here and there throughout the read. There are some great quotable moments as well. I appreciate the unique atmosphere the author was going for overall. This isn’t a novel I was able to connect with and enjoy a much as I would’ve liked to. I think a specific type of reader will be drawn to the story in these pages and embrace the dialogue and plot. I thank Penguin Teen for the opportunity to read this gifted digital copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | nerdyabbie

    A new spell-binding fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece. Though confusing at times, the world-building in this story was so rich! I really liked the tone and atmosphere of the story. The plot was intriguing, and the writing. So many good lines. I'm a big fan of poetic but direct prose. However, it was a little too direct at points. I didn't feel like I was really in the thick of it with the characters, if that makes sense? And I feel like I would have enjoyed it more, had it been shorter. It was a A new spell-binding fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece. Though confusing at times, the world-building in this story was so rich! I really liked the tone and atmosphere of the story. The plot was intriguing, and the writing. So many good lines. I'm a big fan of poetic but direct prose. However, it was a little too direct at points. I didn't feel like I was really in the thick of it with the characters, if that makes sense? And I feel like I would have enjoyed it more, had it been shorter. It was also a little too thicc for the story it was trying to tell, in my opinion. All in all, this was a really interesting fantasy. Mark your calendars for February 9, 2021! A big thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an ARC of this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    ella

    thank you to penguinteen and netgallery for the arc! DNF... yeah... this one isn’t going to work out. i’m suffocated by the info-dumping and wildly confused...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kaya

    one of the richest YA worlds/world-building I’ve come across. unfortunately, it was just a bit too confusing for me. rtc! a huge thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Overall, this book came down to a confusing tale that felt, well, half-baked. Spoiler-free Review: https://amberinoface.wordpress.com/20... I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own. Overall, this book came down to a confusing tale that felt, well, half-baked. Spoiler-free Review: https://amberinoface.wordpress.com/20... I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Emily

    I won't be rating this book as I did not finish it. The writing style, the language, everything just didn't work for me. Major info dump and just general confusion. Based on other reviewers, I'm not the only one who thought this once starting this book. I won't be rating this book as I did not finish it. The writing style, the language, everything just didn't work for me. Major info dump and just general confusion. Based on other reviewers, I'm not the only one who thought this once starting this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alana

    I'm sorry...but this book is really why I don't favor traditionally published books. Penguin Teen picks this one up and claims to be a choosy publisher when there are thousands of well-written indies out there that wouldn't have been considered? Ugh. Enough with my rant on the publishing industry though. I like the cover of this book. I really do. And some of the descriptions were nice. But this book traded in actual good writing/a developed plot for fluff and overly "big and fancy" words. There I'm sorry...but this book is really why I don't favor traditionally published books. Penguin Teen picks this one up and claims to be a choosy publisher when there are thousands of well-written indies out there that wouldn't have been considered? Ugh. Enough with my rant on the publishing industry though. I like the cover of this book. I really do. And some of the descriptions were nice. But this book traded in actual good writing/a developed plot for fluff and overly "big and fancy" words. There was so much info-dumping and I felt like the author was just trying way too hard to be a writer that people think of and say "wow. I have no idea what half those sentences mean, but that just must mean the author is much more intelligent and eloquent than I, a lowly reader!" Gah, I sound so harsh, but I'm just bummed because I always look forward to newly released reads and jump right on buying them when I get the chance. Especially ones that look really cool, like this one. But sadly, because of all the ridiculous elements (info dumping, overly big words, odd style), I DNF @ around 40%. I just couldn't get into it... I felt like the story was going nowhere. I still to this day don't understand why some elitist readers will scoff at independent books when many traditionally published books fall way below the indies. But what do I know? I'm not a writer and I'm not a publisher, only a reviewer and reader who...very sadly...could not finish this one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (novelhaus)

    This concept was such an interesting one that called to me but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Unfortunately, I found myself confused in several parts and had a little bit of a difficult time keeping up with what was happening. I thought the world-building was a bit complicated but overall pretty good. I could place myself in the world but, again, I think if I was in the world I would be completely lost as to what was going on and why I should care. I didn't really connect with any of This concept was such an interesting one that called to me but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Unfortunately, I found myself confused in several parts and had a little bit of a difficult time keeping up with what was happening. I thought the world-building was a bit complicated but overall pretty good. I could place myself in the world but, again, I think if I was in the world I would be completely lost as to what was going on and why I should care. I didn't really connect with any of the characters that well either. I wanted to, as I always do when I read something, but it was just difficult. Overall I think this had such a cool premise but the execution wasn't quite there. There are a lot of references to various greek myths, which I am very familiar with, so that helped a bit but someone not familiar might be even more confused. E-arc was received by Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Penguin Teen!

  12. 5 out of 5

    A Reader in Time

    Thank you so much to the publisher, Penguin Teen, for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. DNF @ 15% I am unable to connect with this book for a variety of reasons. The characters are difficult to understand and connect with, the world is so complicated and not explained at all and I am simply not enjoying this story. I always feel super bad DNFing an ARC that I was sent to review but I feel like it is the best option rather than continuing and ending up giving this b Thank you so much to the publisher, Penguin Teen, for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. DNF @ 15% I am unable to connect with this book for a variety of reasons. The characters are difficult to understand and connect with, the world is so complicated and not explained at all and I am simply not enjoying this story. I always feel super bad DNFing an ARC that I was sent to review but I feel like it is the best option rather than continuing and ending up giving this book a poor rating in the end. I will leave this book unrated since I feel that I have not read enough to justify giving it a star rating. (Also the read dates for this book are in 2015 so it does not affect my reading challenge for 2021).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marija

    Lynne Bertrand’s debut novel would best suit a targeted audience, namely readers familiar with Norse and Greek myths and epics, linguistics, as well as those who enjoy epic fantasy and pastoral literature with its parodies. This is a difficult story to envision. Readers are immediately immersed into an alternate reality—whether it takes place in a future world or part of a medieval world is not really known. It’s simply “other.” It exists, however, with some relation to our world’s past, as the Lynne Bertrand’s debut novel would best suit a targeted audience, namely readers familiar with Norse and Greek myths and epics, linguistics, as well as those who enjoy epic fantasy and pastoral literature with its parodies. This is a difficult story to envision. Readers are immediately immersed into an alternate reality—whether it takes place in a future world or part of a medieval world is not really known. It’s simply “other.” It exists, however, with some relation to our world’s past, as the tales that have survived here are the epics and the myths, as well as our languages, both past and present: Latin, ancient Greek, French, Welsh and English to name a few. Readers will also find themselves trying make sense of these languages, with the use of common vocabularies in newly applied contexts that yield new meanings to these words and phrases. As well, the story is not necessarily told in a linear fashion—readers are introduced to a scene at the beginning, then find themselves in the past and back to the present. While these views of the past help readers gain a better understanding of how this world works as the story advances, some readers may find the progression a bit strange and at times frustrating. Also, when readers are at a point where they think that they’ve come to an understanding of the setting and the basic plot, a fantasy element is introduced, further skewing this reality. That said, the characters help redeem the story. The hero and his sidekick are unconventional and regularly find themselves in situations that offer a comedic turn. More than a few quirky vignettes play out. These scenes don’t necessarily contribute much to the main plot; but they offer a happy, and at times needed, diversion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    If this hadn't been quite as long (due to padding) it could have been a five star. Something has happened in this world, something that created a walled off city of mile-high towers, each tower belongs to a guild that makes some product eventually shipped to the greater world once a year. Teens can become runners, living on the rooftops for three(ish) years before serving as an apprentice to one guild or another. Ok, so far, so familiar, right? These runner love to play pranks on each other and o If this hadn't been quite as long (due to padding) it could have been a five star. Something has happened in this world, something that created a walled off city of mile-high towers, each tower belongs to a guild that makes some product eventually shipped to the greater world once a year. Teens can become runners, living on the rooftops for three(ish) years before serving as an apprentice to one guild or another. Ok, so far, so familiar, right? These runner love to play pranks on each other and one day one of them steals what look like iron knitting needles... and our adventure begins. Why would these needles be so important that the administrator and his goons are prepared to do almost anything to get them back? Of course there are deep, dark secrets about the city to be discovered, corrupt leaders and interesting side stories to be uncovered. Which we do, mostly. Sometimes things go a little too long (all the life on the roof could have been condensed), and there are things left unresolved, perhaps leading to a second book (it's unclear). eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Mitchell

    “𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤. 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐛 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐠𝐬. 𝐍𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐢𝐧𝐝. 𝐒𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐫. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲. 𝐈 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐄𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐝. 𝐖𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲.”—Lynne Bertrand Unique. Different. Fun. I wasn’t quite prepared for how much this story grew on me. In fact, I ADORED it! I was intrigued, curious, and fully entertained. We all have tales to tell, especially Odd Thebes, and what a tale he weaves! The world building is fascinating, centered around the runners wh “𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤. 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐛 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐠𝐬. 𝐍𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐢𝐧𝐝. 𝐒𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐫. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐯𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲. 𝐈 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞 𝐄𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐝. 𝐖𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐲.”—Lynne Bertrand Unique. Different. Fun. I wasn’t quite prepared for how much this story grew on me. In fact, I ADORED it! I was intrigued, curious, and fully entertained. We all have tales to tell, especially Odd Thebes, and what a tale he weaves! The world building is fascinating, centered around the runners who fly from roof to roof, carrying messages, supplies, and bridging the connection between each building. These dare-devils use zip lines to get around. They pull pranks, have contests, parties, and the weirdest customs! The world building was a little confusing at first because there are no info dumps. I believe this is why it got so many low ratings. But if you stick with it, the answers do come! And they are so satisfying! I loved the way it ended. Within every person lives a beast. Some are rats, birds, and cats. Others are stags, panthers, and even dragons. Only the people living on the streets have any idea of this. Those living in the guild skyscrapers have no idea whatsoever. They are too disconnected from the streets. When a pair of knotting spikes is stolen, it is discovered that these spikes split a person open, ripping out their soul-animal, which crawling out of their chests. Fascinating, right? “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫...𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐮𝐩𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫, 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐮𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐰𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐬. 𝐎𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐛𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬. 𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤, 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝.” This story is told by the bard Odd Thebes, who also happens to be the jealous cousin to Errol Thebes, the city’s hero. His jealousy comes between them a few times. But I liked this. It showed severe flaws on his part. No one likes a perfect character. His storytelling is bunt and open. He is intelligent, speaks some twenty or more languages, is familiar with all the city slang. The perfect storyteller. I really liked his character and struggles. There’s something dark happening in the city. What starts as a very tight scope, broadens. Everyone who lives in the city accepts things for the way they are. They have no idea of the darkness lurking beneath. They have no idea why they are quarantined for hundreds and even thousands of years. They know nothing of the world beyond. They live in mystery. But Errol Thebes rips everything apart when he finds himself on the streets below. He becomes the hero the city needs. I cannot believe how much I liked this book! At fist, I thought perhaps it would be a two star. I read some reviews and got a bad feeling. But it had something that kept me interested. And by the 20% mark I was so intrigued! The story got better and better, told in snippets that wove together. I wanted to give this five stars but I think the little bit of confusion I experienced in the beginning doesn’t allow it. MY RATING: 4/5⭐️

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)

    Take this review as you will considered I decided *NOT* to finish the book. But after getting to around the 40% mark, I realized I can't continue with a book when I have no idea what's going on, who's actually telling the story, or what even the main plot of the story is. I am generally as confused as all get out and do not want to continue to waste my time reading this. I had generally hoped if I continued to stick with it I would at least comprehend the basic plot. So there's some "uncommon" (i Take this review as you will considered I decided *NOT* to finish the book. But after getting to around the 40% mark, I realized I can't continue with a book when I have no idea what's going on, who's actually telling the story, or what even the main plot of the story is. I am generally as confused as all get out and do not want to continue to waste my time reading this. I had generally hoped if I continued to stick with it I would at least comprehend the basic plot. So there's some "uncommon" (i.e. very special??) knotting spikes, but... Why? The world-building is actually really good, but it's also complex and thank God for that index in the beginning because... Wow. But I think it's this very complex world-building that makes this book difficult to comprehend and follow. In this book, the characters live together in "guilds" and on extremely tall towers--we're talking hundreds of floors, or "stratas" as the characters say. There are no animals whatsoever and the people survive by storing the food and supplies that arrive once a year on multiple massive ships. But... why? Why is it this way? We've got a dialect with words and terms that I continue to struggle to understand, making this an overall unpleasant read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Megan Houde

    *Thank you to Penguins for the advanced copy for my honest review* Well this was definitely an interesting read. A fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece steeped in myths and legends. My only complaint is that it’s extremely tedious. From the get-go I have no clue who’s talking. Then context was a bit muddled. I get it’s an advanced copy so there’s going to be imperfections, but some sentence ended in weird spots or with a letter and I was like wait what does it say. There’s also, what I’m assuming, *Thank you to Penguins for the advanced copy for my honest review* Well this was definitely an interesting read. A fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece steeped in myths and legends. My only complaint is that it’s extremely tedious. From the get-go I have no clue who’s talking. Then context was a bit muddled. I get it’s an advanced copy so there’s going to be imperfections, but some sentence ended in weird spots or with a letter and I was like wait what does it say. There’s also, what I’m assuming, Latin words and I have no clue what they mean. So in a while it was a hard book to grasp. The world building was nice and the adventure was there for the fantasy aspect, but honestly it felt rushed and randomly thrown together.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Story Eater

    A brilliant, sophisticated tale told from the perspective of one Odd Thebes, bard of Thebes tower, one mile-high tower in a city of a thousand towers that stand, lofty, above a mysterious surface that carries secrets no one could guess until the tale runs to its end. Odd tells of his cousin, Errol Thebes, and many others who make up the guild city of towers locked in a search for a set of guild spikes that are uncommon. How uncommon they are is for readers to discover once they crack open the pa A brilliant, sophisticated tale told from the perspective of one Odd Thebes, bard of Thebes tower, one mile-high tower in a city of a thousand towers that stand, lofty, above a mysterious surface that carries secrets no one could guess until the tale runs to its end. Odd tells of his cousin, Errol Thebes, and many others who make up the guild city of towers locked in a search for a set of guild spikes that are uncommon. How uncommon they are is for readers to discover once they crack open the pages of the book. What makes this book brilliant is there is no world-building info-dump that usually accompanies fantasy novels. It puts the reader into the narrative and requires what anyone would need to learn when in any new place with new people and new language, and that is to pick up the language quickly to adapt to the surroundings and move through life there. The plot is a puzzle, laid out for the reader to solve. By the end of the book, the puzzle can be flipped over and reworked, for the back end of it is just as fun to put together. I can’t complain about the book at all. I absolutely loved it. My thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC, for which I give my own opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amber Wessies

    City of Uncommon Thief is not my typical go-to-read or genre preference. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are several made up words that match the created world in this tale, which can make the reading challenging in the beginning. As you continue reading these words seem less and less important to directly translate to English. In this book, readers meet Odd and Errol Thebes two cousins who are "runners" in an unnamed guild city. They seem content to race across the flies, tell st City of Uncommon Thief is not my typical go-to-read or genre preference. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are several made up words that match the created world in this tale, which can make the reading challenging in the beginning. As you continue reading these words seem less and less important to directly translate to English. In this book, readers meet Odd and Errol Thebes two cousins who are "runners" in an unnamed guild city. They seem content to race across the flies, tell stories, and play games that is until the iron spikes are discovered. Errol confesses to stealing the spikes which leads to secrets, love, courage, and fear being discovered. Bertrand does an excellent job with character development and world creation. Although many things seem similar to ours in this world, they are also vastly different. This books has similar vibes to The Giver and Hunger Games, but it is also uniquely its own story. It may be a benefit to the reader to know some epic poems like Beowulf and Odyssey. I would highly recommend this book and hope Lynne Bertrand will continue her tale of Odd, Errol, Jamila, and Leah.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Roanna25

    I really wanted to like this. The cover is great, the synopsis sounded amazing but I just couldn't. So much made up words for everything that it was hard to follow and nothing seemed to happen. I really wanted to like this. The cover is great, the synopsis sounded amazing but I just couldn't. So much made up words for everything that it was hard to follow and nothing seemed to happen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bookman

    As many other reviewers have noted, the language can be a bit challenging at first. However, many things worth doing (or reading) are not easy. It's silly to assume one should be able to visit another country with a different language and customs and feel at home right away. Similarly, it is the strangeness of the world that can be overwhelming at first in COUT; it is also what makes it so special. As I've been reading I've found that, with a bit of patience, the depth of the world brings great e As many other reviewers have noted, the language can be a bit challenging at first. However, many things worth doing (or reading) are not easy. It's silly to assume one should be able to visit another country with a different language and customs and feel at home right away. Similarly, it is the strangeness of the world that can be overwhelming at first in COUT; it is also what makes it so special. As I've been reading I've found that, with a bit of patience, the depth of the world brings great enjoyment and fascination. I feel totally transported and riveted by the amount of detail and the logic in the construction of this setting. The dialogue has also grown on me. There's a wildness and a swagger in these characters that has been quite fun as well. If you're willing to commit to a bit of a challenge this is very rewarding.

  22. 5 out of 5

    ♡Ellie

    Rating: 3.5 Review: This unique fantasy read super raw, and the world building was really out of this world. As I read, I pictured a lot of what The Matrix is like, and imagined a dark, unknown world, where there was life, and some hope. And let’s be honest, how many times did we have to watch The Matrix before we really understood it? Well I felt like that’s the case for this novel, It’s very intricate, lots happening.. BUT there’s something special there. The characters were unique, interesting Rating: 3.5 Review: This unique fantasy read super raw, and the world building was really out of this world. As I read, I pictured a lot of what The Matrix is like, and imagined a dark, unknown world, where there was life, and some hope. And let’s be honest, how many times did we have to watch The Matrix before we really understood it? Well I felt like that’s the case for this novel, It’s very intricate, lots happening.. BUT there’s something special there. The characters were unique, interesting, and complicated *for sure. I totally recommend this novel, to anyone who loves fantasy, and ready to read something different. Already looking forward to my reread of this novel. Pick it up today!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Raji

    Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own . 2.5 stars Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. In a walled-off city, people live in tall iron towers, each organized by a trade or craft guild. Once a year, the city’s gates are opened to receive a shipment of food and other essentials, and also ship out the products the guilds make to the world outside. Teenagers can opt t Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own . 2.5 stars Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. In a walled-off city, people live in tall iron towers, each organized by a trade or craft guild. Once a year, the city’s gates are opened to receive a shipment of food and other essentials, and also ship out the products the guilds make to the world outside. Teenagers can opt to become runners between the towers and spend a few years on the rooftops before taking up an apprenticeship with one of the guilds. New runners often play pranks and dare each other to complete tasks. When, during one of these dares, what looks like a pair of iron knitting needles are stolen, it quickly becomes clear there is something special about them as the regnat, the main administrator of the city, is willing to do anything it takes to get them back. Plainly put, this book is confusing. The premise sounded really fascinating, and the setting even more so. I have to compliment the world building in this book. It’s really creative and the amount of mythology, lore and history make it obvious how much effort has gone into it. However, as intriguing as the world was, it was nearly impossible to understand. There are a multitude of references to epics and legends – particularly Shakespeare and Greek mythology, and several languages like French, Latin and English, but none of it seemed to tie into either the plot or world building in any relevant manner. It’s never made clear if this book is set in an alternate reality or how exactly it lines up with our own – if at all. There is just way too much going on with barely any explanation and it felt like being tossed into the middle of a series without any context whatsoever. Of course this could be just because I was reading an eARC, but right at the very beginning there are several pages of very confusing terminology that are used liberally in the book right from page one – and there was no way I was going to remember that much information which makes it rather redundant. City of the Uncommon Thief is about Errol Thebes, narrated from the perspective of his cousin, Odd Thebes, a runner for Thebes Tower, as Errol gets caught up in the aftermath of the theft and goes on the run from the authorities. Now if the story had just focused on these two and the real plot, I could see this being a lot more interesting. While the theft of the mysterious knitting needle like objects is what the story starts with, it deviates unnecessarily (and lengthily) to other things such as what life is like for the runners, guild shipments and introduces a whole host of other characters. Secondary characters can be great for a story, but none of them felt substantially developed. The pacing was also too slow for my taste, and honestly, a book this heavy is what I might expect of the middle book in a series. Ultimately, it was the pacing and narration that caused me to lose interest before the quarter mark. I’ve spoken very little of the actual plot in this review, and that was intentional, because I’m not certain I’ve grasped the entirety of it myself – in fact, I felt lost for most of the book. Though this book did have a lot of potential, especially given how rich the world building is, it was far too confusing and complicated for me to fully enjoy and it just didn’t work out for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sifa Poulton

    1.5 stars I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. This book was so confusing. I simply could not follow what was going on in this book. The synopsis above is pretty unclear, and that's all I had to go into the book with - and that pretty much set the tone for the book. One of the issues was the fact that the focus was on Errol, but he was not the narrator. Instead the narrator was a character called Odd, who was a co 1.5 stars I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. This book was so confusing. I simply could not follow what was going on in this book. The synopsis above is pretty unclear, and that's all I had to go into the book with - and that pretty much set the tone for the book. One of the issues was the fact that the focus was on Errol, but he was not the narrator. Instead the narrator was a character called Odd, who was a cousin, I think? Not sure what Odd looked like, whether they were a boy or girl - or anything. Odd was just... there, narrating the story of his cousin, somehow getting all this info despite not being there. With so little info on Odd, they were not an interesting character. What was their driving goal? Why were they invested in all this? What were they *doing* for most of it? It was so hard to be interested in a character I knew little about and only seemed there to narrate someone else's story. Errol was also very confusing. I thought he vanished in the first few chapters, but then he just seemed to be there in and out with little explanation for the first 20%, and no one reacted other than "where have you been?" Eventually he was tossed off, and then there was a very confusing back and forth in third person and first person of Odd telling tales. It didn't get any easier to follow after that, as I didn't understand why Errol was gone, what Odd's stake in it all was, to the point that I ended up skim reading the book in case it made more sense once it was all resolved. It didn't. The only redeeming thing about this book, for me, was the world. The lines strung between the mile-high towers, and how that got them between was interesting. The food supply chain was also intriguing, however I couldn't work out the power structure in the city, which didn't make the plot any easier to follow.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vera

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this book! Unfortunately, I didn't particularly like it, mainly because it is extremely convoluted. I don't mind a story that is written in a fractured way, and that takes some thinking in order to fully grasp what is going on, but I felt that this one is unnecessarily convoluted. Even the world-building is a bit unclear. There's a city where people live in towers organized by some kind of craft guilds. Ther Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this book! Unfortunately, I didn't particularly like it, mainly because it is extremely convoluted. I don't mind a story that is written in a fractured way, and that takes some thinking in order to fully grasp what is going on, but I felt that this one is unnecessarily convoluted. Even the world-building is a bit unclear. There's a city where people live in towers organized by some kind of craft guilds. There are some kind of orphan people called foundlings who live in the guild towers but also don't really belong to the guilds. And there is also a seedy underbelly of the city down on the streets that exists outside the guilds (sort of). It is very unclear exactly why anyone is doing what they are doing, and then at some point in the middle of the book, animals start coming out of people's chests. Once that started happening, I completely lost the thread of what had been happening in the first half, and the rest completely fell apart for me. In addition to the extremely convoluted plot, the characters really didn't do much for me either. I struggled the whole time to figure out what anyone's motivation was and how the characters fit together, and I don't think the resolution particularly made sense either, probably because the whole build-up didn't really make sense. I think there may have been some flashes of something interesting here and there, but it was lost in the convoluted story-telling and the haphazard character development.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Thank you to Penguin Teen for allowing me early access to this book via NetGalley. Unfortunately, this is just not the book for me. However, I do want to preface this by saying take this review as you will considering I had to DNF this book. I was really excited for aspects of Greek and Norse mythology as those are two topics I think are incredibly fascinating but that fascination did not carry over. I found this book to be extremely hard to get into and to even understand. I had a hard time tel Thank you to Penguin Teen for allowing me early access to this book via NetGalley. Unfortunately, this is just not the book for me. However, I do want to preface this by saying take this review as you will considering I had to DNF this book. I was really excited for aspects of Greek and Norse mythology as those are two topics I think are incredibly fascinating but that fascination did not carry over. I found this book to be extremely hard to get into and to even understand. I had a hard time telling who was the main character or knowing what was going on at all.. The world building is complex but way too complex for my tastes as I would rather not refer back to the index at every page trying to figure out what the characters were talking about. I think a certain kind of reader could really enjoy this but at the end of the day it just wasn't something I could get into and I found it to draining to continue reading. I have marked the date with 2015 so it won't affect my books of the year and I originally gave this a 1 star rating but because I didn't finish it I will be removing my rating.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (readalongwithjess)

    Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for early access to the egalley for City of the Uncommon Thief by Lynne Bertrand. I’m very sad to say that I chose to DNF this book. The writing wasn’t bad, and I can tell the author put a lot of time & thought into building the world for this book, but I honestly felt like I was slogging through the story while hardly retaining anything. It may have been the very dense writing style & chosen perspective of the book, but I wasn’t able to connect with the c Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for early access to the egalley for City of the Uncommon Thief by Lynne Bertrand. I’m very sad to say that I chose to DNF this book. The writing wasn’t bad, and I can tell the author put a lot of time & thought into building the world for this book, but I honestly felt like I was slogging through the story while hardly retaining anything. It may have been the very dense writing style & chosen perspective of the book, but I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or care about the world, I found that the way we were introduced to the characters & this “City of the Uncommon Thief” in combination with the dense prose left me feeling lost, confused, and unable to keep the characters straight in my head. If you are excited about reading this book, please don’t let my review discourage you from reading it, as this writing & storytelling style may be very well suited to a different reader. *I will not be leaving a star rating for this book as I did not read the book in its entirety.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kera (featherboundbooks)

    While the world building was intrinsic and inventive, there were too many things going on that felt disconnected in this book. I went through so much of it confused and having to go back and reread passages. I liked the idea of this book: a group of teens living on rooftops and the intensity of their lifestyle. There was some romance and a lot of suspense. But there were too many characters referenced and they did not seem to be complete persons. It was more like just ideas of people and a shadow While the world building was intrinsic and inventive, there were too many things going on that felt disconnected in this book. I went through so much of it confused and having to go back and reread passages. I liked the idea of this book: a group of teens living on rooftops and the intensity of their lifestyle. There was some romance and a lot of suspense. But there were too many characters referenced and they did not seem to be complete persons. It was more like just ideas of people and a shadowed silhouette as opposed to detailed, fleshed-out characters. It is hard to summarize a book like this when I feel like I did not quite understand what was happening some of the time. And the length did not lend to that affect. While this book did not work for me, I would recommend it to others who are more versed in the high fantasy genre who have the patience to really dissect a book like this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elisa (The Overflowing Bookshelf)

    DNF at 58% This book was weird... The POVs alternate too quickly and it was hard to keep track of what was actually going on since the plot didn’t seem to have one straight direction. It instead felt like a bunch of moments in a world that I didn’t understand. Speaking of, the languages and words used in this book can be incomprehensible at times. I don’t know if it was just because I was reading an eARC or if the finished book will be just as confusing, but I had trouble figuring out the dynamic o DNF at 58% This book was weird... The POVs alternate too quickly and it was hard to keep track of what was actually going on since the plot didn’t seem to have one straight direction. It instead felt like a bunch of moments in a world that I didn’t understand. Speaking of, the languages and words used in this book can be incomprehensible at times. I don’t know if it was just because I was reading an eARC or if the finished book will be just as confusing, but I had trouble figuring out the dynamic of the setting and characters. And the plot summary didn’t really help all that much either... The book didn’t start to get interesting until about halfway through, but by that point I was so frustrated and tired of reading it that I just had to DNF it for the time being. I hope to finish this book eventually and give it a fair shot (especially since I’ve dedicated so much time trying to get through it), but for now I’m just not in the mindset to do so...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    Big thanks to the publisher and to Lynne Bertrand for allowing me access to this title in exchange for an honest review. At first the synopsis really called to me, a dark quarantined city? Count me in! But there were many parts that I felt like I was connecting dots due to confusion when I personally don't enjoy doing that when I read. I think the world building was complex and interesting, the character development was there, but I felt a lack of motivation to really get to know the characters a Big thanks to the publisher and to Lynne Bertrand for allowing me access to this title in exchange for an honest review. At first the synopsis really called to me, a dark quarantined city? Count me in! But there were many parts that I felt like I was connecting dots due to confusion when I personally don't enjoy doing that when I read. I think the world building was complex and interesting, the character development was there, but I felt a lack of motivation to really get to know the characters and the storyline overall. I definitely think that this book may be suited to younger YA and that may be a reason why I had a hard time connecting, nothing was problematic but it just didn't seem like the type of book for me once I got going. I also have a hard time with greek mythology and that's completely on my end and not the authors or this book. Overall rating is a 3.5 - maybe a 4 if I dig down and rate it as a 13/14 year old!

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