For every book we release, we'll be sure to post a review of it during the week before the book comes out. Our next book, Skate the Thief by Jeff Ayers, comes out on June 2nd. This review comes from Greg Wright of The Godyssey Podcast.
Take it away, Greg. . . .
Skate the Thief is a fast-paced fantasy debut with heart, a story of found family amidst a cutthroat city of dark secrets and deadly intrigue.
Page one introduces the anchor of the entire story, the child protagonist Skate, on yet another job for a gang of the local thieves’ guild of Caribol, a city of hard truths that has shaped and hardened the girl into the titular thief. Experienced and with a good heart buried under lots of grit and quips, she quickly finds herself in over her head and within the first ten pages, we are introduced to the first in a whirlwind of mysteries that make up this tightly-packed novel.
It’s that detail that perhaps sticks with me most, post-read: that Skate the Thief hits the ground running and does not look back. Skate takes hold of your heart and keeps you interested throughout as her loyalties and intellect are tested time and again. Her circumstances, in addition to her personality, quickly draw you in and keep you attached for the duration: her journey is yours, and it is a good journey and companion for it.
Within those quick ten pages we also meet the wizard Barrison Belamy, the other half of the series’ namesake: Rag and Bone. From Skate’s first encounter with him, involving a knife, we are introduced to the great mystery of the man and his goodness, and soon he, Skate, and Rattle the . . . well, thing I won’t ruin for you, quickly make a tight-knit family. They form the center of all of this, and while not all questions are answered (as if the author wants to draw us in and keep us hooked for future books—HOW DARE HE), the mere asking of them is enough to give us a start. Skate the Thief is a world of questions that begs you to unravel them and keeps you guessing from top to bottom.
One of the hallmarks of classic fantasy is the speed of it all, and while the novel moves quickly and keeps moving, it is the little moments that really spoke to me, the moments our found family have to themselves—meals, lessons, laughter, and tears. Through all this Skate learns to be true to herself and be proud of who she is, at her core, rather than what others might want her to be. Her loyalties are tested, and throughout it remains unclear whose side she is on, other than her own: yet you love her nonetheless, forced to navigate hard choices and play the game very, very close to her chest.
This is a thrilling start to the Rag and Bone Chronicles, and Skate the Thief is a friend you’ll want to revisit again and again. I can’t wait to read more. No, seriously, Jeff, get to work.
Our thanks to Greg! You can read the first chapter of Skate the Thief free here.