Giant Thief review

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Giant Thief is the first Fantasy novel by David Tallerman.  His debut in Fantasy was released earlier this year and is already followed by Crown Thief, which came out in September 2012.
Meet Easie Damasco, rogue, thieving swine and total charmer. Even the wicked can't rest when a vicious warlord and the force of enslaved giants he commands invade their homeland. Damasco might get away in one piece, but he's going to need help. Big time.
A plentiful supply of heart of gold or conscience challenging thieves or assassins stories crowded our shelves in the last couple of years.  Who doesn't love scoundrels who turn out to be ready to save the princess while they lift her purse from her dress with a smirk?

So, what is Mr. Tallerman bringing to the table?  A failing and oblivious thief by the name of Easie Damasco, who has a knack for trouble.  The tale of Easie is told in the first person perspective with humor and action underlying a clumsy storyline.  I'm often highlighting the fact that in this narrative choice, the paramount element is the importance of the main character since everything falls on his shoulder.  The ground for a story may be grandiose, if the one living it and recounting it isn't up to his game, it can fall short.  For me, that's what happened with Giant Thief.

Easie is not the sharpest tool in the shed but he still can come up with interesting reasoning and witty remarks that more often than not, bring a smile to my lips.  However, his way of over describing and assessing his situation, always with many assumptions can get on nerves. He finds himself at a lost in nearly every situation.  For a thief who got a reputation spanning so large a territory, you ought to wonder what he did in the past and why anyone would rely on him.

Easie doesn't take a great deal seriously and it shows not only on his demeanor, which creates a lighter tone, but on the tale itself.  The thief's course is always driven by someone else or by a life-threatening situation, speeding up the pace, where he's not sure what is really happening.  After the initial thieving that gets him in the company of Saltlick, a giant who would have profited from more exploration, and makes him a runaway, the plot comes noticeably undone.  Easie is going with the flow but that flow doesn't feel right. The narrative takes us from one point to the next without cohesion.

My feeling is that even the new-found nemesis of Easie, the warlord Moaradrid, felt as confused as him as the story went further. Hopefully, some scenes are more entertaining, mostly when Easie is having a break from his running and gets the conversation going.  The author should focus more on this aspect and take more time to define the other characters through the eyes of the narcissist cheat.

I think that Giant Thief would have been an interesting prelude to a more cohesive and lengthier meta story for Easie and his friends, more specifically the Giant Saltlick.  The story of how they met would have been the kind of light and complaisant tale I would have wanted. The narrator would be more at home in a setting and circumstances where his craft and banter found better uses.

David's writing is simple, clear and straightforward but it works well enough.  The world he created, with the giants and cities that seem, but essentially seem, to be populated with diverse and sometimes singular people can use more work but serve the story right for the most part.

Giant Thief should please those who love thieves with a sense of humor in a sword and sorcery/adventure novel. Easie is no Locke Lamora and even if on an epic scale it's smaller, readers of Michael J. Sullivan Ryria Revelations series should find their share of entertainment in the book, as is the case with Paul S. Kemp's The Hammer and the Blade.

Technically, I'd say that the Angry Robot cover is nice enough, representing two of the main protagonists. The paperback edition of the book stands at 384 pages and no map is included.

Giant Thief review score :

Characterization............. 6.5 /10
World building............... 7 / 10
Magic system................. N / A
Story.............................. 6 / 10
Writing........................... 7 / 10

Overall (not an average) 6.5 / 10

David Tallerman page


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