A minor flood of reviews in for Giant Thief over the last couple of weeks, and most of them offering a considerable thumbs up...
In fact, Marc Aplin's over at Fantasy Faction comes close to being a rave. He awards four stars and, despite a few reservations about the possibly-too-action-packed first third, prophesises that "I truly believe that this book will be one of the finest débuts of 2012," going on to add that "Although [Giant Thief] is not flawless, it introduces a damned fine, unique narrative style and a couple of characters that could go on to have some truly epic adventures."
Actually perhaps even more positive is Elloise Hopkins's review at her blog Writing, Design and Life. Elloise writes, "Tallerman has great command of language and phrasing and the witty tone of this book makes it a thoroughly enjoyable read. The pace is fantastic and the action takes off right from the start tracking Easie’s misadventures from one theft to the next. An endearing protagonist, a host of excellent supporting characters, a less than communicative giant, and most importantly a unique story, are just some of the elements that make this book worth reading."
Lastly on the good news front, there's Ros Jackson's (also four star) review at Warpcore SF. Ros says, "Easie's adventures are fast-paced and enjoyable, as befits a gambler with a past that always threatens to catch up with him. In some ways he's a stock fantasy character, the incorrigible thief and rogue, but he remains fun and interesting because it's hard to predict what he'll do next," and concludes that, "Wherever Easie Damasco goes he leaves a trail of destruction and angry people eager to lynch him. Fortunately I felt just the opposite, and I hope this charming lawbreaker will be back for some sequels."*
So those are the positive ones. Then, on the "Oh God what is this horrible crap?" front we have blogger Voxael, who has very specific ideas about what he wants from his fantasy books and clearly feels that Giant Thief doesn't stack up. Amongst other criticisms, he notes, "The main cast features heavily on the standard Dungeons and Dragons character sheet with protagonist Easie Damasco fulfilling the wily thief archetype while his (mostly unwilling) allies are Saltlick, a stupid-but-loyal giant, a stubborn female politician and a taciturn city guard," (which brings back fond memories of all those D & D campaigns I played through as a stubborn female politician.) In fairness, though, Voxael's summation is kind of a back-handed compliment: "When I started reading fantasy I certainly didn’t start with the cream of the crop but what I did start with acted like a gateway into the genre and for all my personal issues with it, there’s absolutely no reason that Giant Thief won’t function in exactly the same way for other people." So ... the gateway drug of the fantasy genre then? I can live with that.
Lastly, and somewhere in between the two extremes, there's Owlcat Mountain, website of ... um, someone who hasn't filled out the "About Me" section of their website. *Does quick research.* Which is, of course, the website of Tenaya, who may or may not be the last of his-or-her ninja clan, hiding out upon the aforementioned Owlcat Mountain (so named for the mysterious and biologically unlikely Owlcats that are said to prowl its heights) waiting for the prophesied final showdown with the ninjas of nearby Eaglebadger Mountain. Or I could have made that up in the absence of - y'know - actual facts. Either way, Tenaya sort of liked Giant Thief, but overall was put off by Damasco's sheer, unbridled obnoxiousness: "Frankly, I wanted to punch him in the nose more than once," Tenaya says, "and although I may not like it, I have to admire the author for getting me to react with such depth of annoyance."
Anyone who's been following this blog will probably have realised by now that I consider Damasco a reprehensible cockroach of a human being (I even said as much in the interview I did with Mur Lafferty today for the Angry Robot podcast!), so of all the possible reasons for marking down Giant Thief, this is the most acceptable. Future reviewers please take note!
* He will.