Last Updated on December 30, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
Um, is it possible to give a book six stars?
Because holy shit, friends.
I have a feeling this review is going to be everywhere, so I do sincerely apologize for that. But I just…sorta…fell completely in love with The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn? And after walking for two miles during my lunch break, my mind going over and over the events that transpired between these pages (especially the last, eh, 300 or so), I’m still not sure exactly how to articulate how fantastic this book is. I mean, sure, I could just say, “Hey, holy shit, this book is pretty dang fantastic and you definitely want to read it if you like fantasy and heists and characters who feel like people instead of characters and such a complex, vibrant world with a new magic system and why haven’t you read it already, I need someone to talk to about this book, but especially page 627?!”
I mean, sure, I could write that and leave it at that.
But that doesn’t seem to truly do the book justice, you know?
An ARC copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: May 2018 | Pages: 784
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: ARC
“I’m hiring you to steal the king’s crown.”
Ardor Benn is no ordinary thief. Rakish, ambitious, and master of wildly complex heists, he styles himself a Ruse Artist Extraordinaire.
When a priest hires him for the most daring ruse yet, Ardor knows he’ll need more than quick wit and sleight of hand. Assembling a dream team of forgers, disguisers, schemers, and thieves, he sets out to steal from the most powerful king the realm has ever known.
But it soon becomes clear there’s more at stake than fame and glory -Ard and his team might just be the last hope for human civilization.
On the Page
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- Again, the worldbuilding. Every time I was forced to close it, it always took me a moment to orient myself and truly remember that I wasn’t actually within this world, trying to stay alive during the latest heist. From the little details to the high-stakes politics to the intensely fascinating religions, I was hooked and didn’t want to let go.
- Grit. I won’t lie. I’m still not entirely sure how the stuff works, but whoa is that just completely and totally and utterly fantastic. Do you love fantasy but you’ve been tired of the same old magic system book after book? Grit and it’s various uses, how it’s created and how integral it is to the plot is as unique as it gets.
- The relationship between Ardor Benn and Raekon Dorrel. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Megan O’Keefe’s duo in her The Scorched Continent trilogy, Detan and Tibbs. A fantastic duo in their own right, their relationship is one of the most organic I’ve read. Ard and Raek have the same kind of relationship that makes me want to root for them no matter what. I think their relationship being so real is why page 627 hurt so much.**
- Quarrah Khai. I want novels written about this woman. Seriously.
- Oh and how every single thing really had a purpose. There was never a throw away character, from side characters you wouldn’t expect, down to the freakin’ lizard.
- Speaking of additional characters, I honestly think my two favorite characters were Cinzia and Elbrig. I don’t want to describe them too much. You need to get an untainted introduction to them like I did, but hot damn. Those characters were so unique, so intricate and the things they can pull off? I can only applaud.
I’m not sure what else I could say to express my enthusiasm, respect, love and awe that I have for this story. Aside from maybe one additional thing:
Any word on the publication date for book two?