In a nutshell, “The Gentleman Thief” is about a chimney-sweep who is far too old (re: full grown) and is therefore desperate to enact his dream career: being a thief with a prominent street gang. Joe knows he has one chance at this, so he jumps at the opportunity to take charge of a heist that could be the biggest score of this gang’s career. Except it all goes awry (because obviously it does), and Joe ends up with a cursed coin that he needs to give back to the rightful owner. What ensues after is a humorous and quirky fantasy, action-adventure novel that is pretty tongue in cheek about the tropes that run rampant in that genre (but never in a mean way!). It’s a silly and quick thrill ride that I vastly enjoyed being on, for the most part.
You have to go into this book and story knowing that nothing is taken seriously, not the characters, not the setting, nothing. It’s all kind of an over exaggeration of these tropes surrounding a competition to win a princess’s hand, of what knights are, adventurers, and thieves. I like the narrative voice for that very reason. But just because things are all rather silly, that doesn’t mean there weren’t moments of seriousness. At one point, Joe really lays into someone who pretended to be just like him, poor and scrapping by through any means necessary. I loved the points Joe made in those moments! I just wish that the character who he was dealing with seemed more remorseful, or that Joe didn’t really forgive them until they apologized or something, but that would have changed the tone of the story. While I appreciated that, I still wish that point would have been really understood by the offending character as I think it’d been a great opportunity for character growth.
This book is honestly a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed all the absurd magical twists and turns it took as Joe stumbles his way through the competition on this magical island. The plot is loose, the quirkiness of the narrator the epicenter of what this book will offer. It’s what made this book such a fast and easy read; like cotton candy for the brain. That being said, the last 30% feels like it gets wrapped up too fast. Things just start resolving themselves at breakneck speed that left me a bit more confused than entertained. I liked the actual ending of the book, but I honestly wouldn’t have minded if this story ended up being a bit longer so that final resolution would have felt less… convenient? Which is why I am giving this 4 stars. The author clearly had a lot of fun with their writing and characters, so I honestly would have loved more! This was a fun, standalone adventure that is perfect for readers looking for something that does not take itself seriously, but is a seriously good time. And thank you to the author for sending me a copy for an honest review!
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