I’ve mostly stopped reading new books by Mercedes Lackey, but Take a Thief looked like it might be acceptably mindless lunchtime reading, so I took it out of the library. When we first met Skif in Arrows of the Queen, there was a throwaway comment about his past that suggested there was more to him than was immediately apparent. Take a Thief tells that story, describing Skif’s life as a, well, thief, and his first experiences as a Herald-Trainee.
I actually finished this almost a week ago, but I’ve been very busy and haven’t had time to log it. Of course, that busyness is probably why I came home early with a cold (not an ear infection, according to the doctor, which is something at least). Anyway, this was almost a perfectly serviceable book. The first half or so is the sort of how-to that I find oddly soothing, even if it’s “how to survive on the street by stealing.” The second half is sort of a how-to as well, “how to seek revenge while starting at Herald’s Collegium.” And it’s less twee than much of Lackey, though the big temptation scene at the end is badly overdone.
However. I hate, loathe, and despise dialogue written in dialect. And almost every spoken line in the first half is, well, here’s a sample from a random page: “What’s doin’s?” “Dunno fer certain-sure. Summun sez a couple toughs come in an’ wrecked t’place, summun sez no, ’twas a fight, an’ ev’un sez summun’s croaked, or near it.” There’s more to that exchange, but I can’t bear to type it. If I wasn’t an accomplished text skimmer, I would never have made it through this, and I can’t say that I’d recommend it to anyone over the age of 13.
And now the cold pills are starting to kick in, so I think I’m going to go lie down and read something else.