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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.

54 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. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | abbie.ruis

    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!

  4. 5 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!

  5. 5 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.

  6. 5 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!

  7. 5 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.

  8. 4 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).

  9. 4 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.

  10. 5 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.

  11. 4 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cori McCarthy

    First of all, I would like to thank Penguinteen for sending me an ARC through NetGalley! I think what I really liked about this book was the writing and the world-building. It was rich in detail, and I felt that I could imagine every scene that was told in the book. The only thing that I wasn’t a big fan of was it got a little confusing at times, and I would find myself going back a few pages because I felt that I was missing something that was going on. Also, I would find that I would get a lit First of all, I would like to thank Penguinteen for sending me an ARC through NetGalley! I think what I really liked about this book was the writing and the world-building. It was rich in detail, and I felt that I could imagine every scene that was told in the book. The only thing that I wasn’t a big fan of was it got a little confusing at times, and I would find myself going back a few pages because I felt that I was missing something that was going on. Also, I would find that I would get a little bored during during some scenes. But other than that, I really liked the concept of this book, and the whole system. I feel that this is a book that I would like to revisit one day, and maybe it would make more sense. This book comes out February 9, 2021 so mark your calendars! It was truly an interesting fantasy, and I can’t wait to revisit it in the future! Final Rating: 3/5 Stars ⭐️

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kym's Open Books

    A city is completely walled from the outlying world. Within the city, mile high towers are built for each guild. Each tower ships their product out to the greater land. Teens are the runners between these towers and live a highly dangerous and precarious life around these towers. While the characters were interesting, I didn’t feel connected to any which made me care less for the story. A lot of time went into describing life on the towers for the runners and I feel a lot of it could’ve been cut A city is completely walled from the outlying world. Within the city, mile high towers are built for each guild. Each tower ships their product out to the greater land. Teens are the runners between these towers and live a highly dangerous and precarious life around these towers. While the characters were interesting, I didn’t feel connected to any which made me care less for the story. A lot of time went into describing life on the towers for the runners and I feel a lot of it could’ve been cut out. It was much longer than necessary. The writing was difficult to understand. It didn’t flow well and I had to reread many times to understand. The world building is rich and intricate but very difficult to imagine. Thank you to Penguin Young Readers (Penguin Teen) and NetGalley for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Margarita (margaritathedrink)

    I was really excited for this one but it didn’t deliver like i was expecting but overall a good read and still recommend. It was a little confusing at times (it was hard to envision some things) but i enjoyed the world building a lot along with the prose. Thanks penguin teen for allowing me to read this one!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alysa H.

    ** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley **

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marochka

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Teensma

  21. 5 out of 5

    becky

  22. 4 out of 5

    Louie Rendon

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jen Blair

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Karre

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa ♛Queen Alchemy ϟ Novel Nerd Faction♛

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caro

  27. 4 out of 5

    *mk*

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Clendening

  30. 5 out of 5

    여리고

  31. 4 out of 5

    Isabella

  32. 4 out of 5

    Rev

  33. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  34. 4 out of 5

    Korrina (OwlCrate)

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sara Wenschhof

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  37. 4 out of 5

    myriad obsessions

  38. 5 out of 5

    John

  39. 5 out of 5

    Lala

  40. 5 out of 5

    Sam Miller

  41. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  42. 5 out of 5

    Pie

  43. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  44. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  45. 4 out of 5

    Anette

  46. 5 out of 5

    Megan Weiss

  47. 4 out of 5

    Hyzie

  48. 5 out of 5

    Lila (Hardcover Haven)

  49. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  50. 5 out of 5

    Nikita Afsar

  51. 5 out of 5

    Runa

  52. 5 out of 5

    Shilo Quetchenbach

  53. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  54. 5 out of 5

    Sheree

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