Lackey, Mercedes: Take a Thief

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.


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  1. Did he get a magic soul horsie? Did he slowly come to realize that he really could trust the heralds, and didn’t need to be as tough and hardened as he was before? Please, don’t leave us in suspense like this!

    (I’d be more comfortable mocking this book if your review didn’t make me think, “Huh, that might be fun to read.”)

  2. Srnk. Suspense? What’s that?

    And really, the dialect–very bad. Horrible. No good. If you do read it, please don’t say it’s because of me.

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