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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon stop overcharging for Kindle e-books
Amazon you need to respect your customers - stop abusing your monopoly over Kindle e-book distribution by overcharging. It should NEVER be more expensive to buy the e-book version than a hard copy version. Can you imagine how galling it is to receive endless spam e-mails from you telling me that the hardback version of a book is cheaper than the electronic version. And...
Published 23 months ago by AJ White

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun volume, but more of a taster than the main course
The city of Deephaven is still recovering from a civil war that wracked it and the surrounding Empire several decades ago. The war left behind many orphans and unwanted children, some of whom have grown up with thievery the only option for survival. After unwisely making a thief-taker his mark, one of these boys, Berren finds his life transformed as he is recruited as the...
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by A. Whitehead


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun volume, but more of a taster than the main course, 18 Nov 2010
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The city of Deephaven is still recovering from a civil war that wracked it and the surrounding Empire several decades ago. The war left behind many orphans and unwanted children, some of whom have grown up with thievery the only option for survival. After unwisely making a thief-taker his mark, one of these boys, Berren finds his life transformed as he is recruited as the thief-taker's apprentice.

The Thief-Taker's Apprentice is the start of a new trilogy by Stephen Deas, author of the Memory of Flames Trilogy (The Adamantine Palace, The King of the Crags and the forthcoming The Order of Scales). It is set in the same world, apparently on a continent on the far side of the Taiytakei homelands, but a couple of mentions of the Taiytakei aside, there are no links between the two series (yet, anyway). It is also nominally a 'Young Adult' title, but Deas actually pulls few punches in the book to accommodate these younger readers. Particularly amusing (and actually effective) is the use of corrupted Cockney rhyming slang to get around restrictions on swearing, whilst the violence is not particularly sanitised (although not gratuitous, either).

The book is pretty traditional. Whilst Memory of Flames has the politics of the dragon realms and the use of dragons as horrendous weapons of war going for it, The Thief-Taker's Apprentice is much happier employing standard tropes. We have a young main character (albeit one whose morality is a bit greyer than the standard young boy cliche), an older mentor (a disgraced nobleman from a distant land), the romantic interest, the nemesis and so on. Those looking for something surprising and new might be disappointed here. However, Deas takes the standard material and infuses it with great pace and some impressive depth, given the modest page count. The city of Deephaven, with its myriad districts, street gangs, commercial interests, sense of traumatic history and politics (seen here only at a far remove), is depicted very well, whilst there's some good character moments, particularly with Syannis the conflicted thief-taker and some minor characters like Kasmin. Berren himself and romantic interest Lilissa are less surprising, but likable enough as antagonists.

Where the book falters is that it hints at some more interesting developments to come, but then ends just as the story gets going. Given the book's slight length, it feels like it could have been longer and pursued certain storylines further.

The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (***½) is a likable, enjoyable story but one that whets the appetite rather than fully satisfies. The sequel, The Warlock's Shadow, is due next year. The book is available now in the UK and on import in the USA.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon stop overcharging for Kindle e-books, 3 Dec 2012
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Amazon you need to respect your customers - stop abusing your monopoly over Kindle e-book distribution by overcharging. It should NEVER be more expensive to buy the e-book version than a hard copy version. Can you imagine how galling it is to receive endless spam e-mails from you telling me that the hardback version of a book is cheaper than the electronic version. And pay your taxes like everybody else.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great offering for the YA market, 21 Aug 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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Stephen breaks into the Young Adult Fantasy Market with this offering and to be honest its an offering that will soon win him some younger fans. The writing style is beautiful, the prose ideal and to be brutally honest one that really will help the reader imagine the city in which the tale is set.

Add to the mix great combat, some magical twists and an author who plays for keeps which makes this title a book that really was a real joy to read. Fans of Stephens adult titles will definitely want to recommend this title to younger family members and will enjoy this title just as much themselves. A great kick off to the Gollancz Young Adult publishing business and if the quality is kept will soon make them a serious name for Young Adult quality fiction.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (Paperback)
Boring story about a little coward boy who in the end still is a coward.
Way to much description of streets and not a very exiting story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really good, 3 Mar 2013
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This is a really good book for people who enjoy chases in alleyways and Gore . It's a really good book but not my favourite. I hope you find this review helpful
Max
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 7 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (Paperback)
Took me 2 weeks to read, looking fordward for next parts. could not put it down until I had no more pages to turn
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Thief Takers Apprentice, 23 May 2012
This review is from: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (Paperback)
A great start to an ongoing series. Quick light read that is very descriptive. Aimed for the young adult range but a very good read. Would recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wow., 20 May 2012
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One of the best books I've read in a while, read it all in a few days. I'll be getting the second book soon!
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4.0 out of 5 stars good characters and world-building; slim plot, 30 Jan 2012
By 
E. L. Woodcock "elwoodcock" (Derby, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (Paperback)
A good, short, entertaining read. The apprenticeship part of the story works very well, and is quite interesting enough in its own right. But the main mcguffin plot about finding the pirates seems a bit thin, and almost tacked on. The world-building is nicely done in small accretions, without any huge info-dumps. The main characters are well drawn. Only the token female remains a closed book, but I'm going to generously hope that she comes into her own more in subsequent books, which I will be reading.
I was surprised one of the other reviews said this was YA, but suitable for younger kids. I thought it was YA all the way through, but towards the end wondered if I'd got that wrong and it was an adult book. It is *very* unpleasantly violent towards the end. I don't say this in a disapproving way (I like Joe Abercrombie!), just slightly surprised.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of set-up and promise in this secondary world fantasy, 2 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (Paperback)
Berren's only ever known a life of crime. An excellent thief, he makes his living cutting purses and paying a percentage to Hatchet in return for his protection. But when he tries to steal money from Sy, a thief-taker, he gets more than he bargained for. Master Sy tracks him down and buys him from Hatchet to train as his apprentice.

Berren longs to be taught how to fight with swords. Instead he's forced to learn to read, write and basic manners. But there are some consolations, notably in Lilissa, the pretty seamstress who Berren protects. Soon though Sy and Berren find themselves caught up in an investigation into piracy, an investigation that plunges master and apprentice into a world of corruption that runs across all layers of society where everyone wants them dead ...

Stephen Deas's novel, the first in a new YA fantasy trilogy is a slow-burning but skilfully crafted affair.

Berren is a resourceful thief who comes to realise that there are other ways of living and who slowly decides that he wants to improve himself and his prospects. As far as he knows, he's an abandoned orphan but Sy seems to think that he reminds him of an old friend. Sy himself has a mysterious background - a prince who was usurped from his throne and forced to flee, he carries an old grudge against an unknown enemy and is cynical about those in power. In truth, Sy interested me more than Berren and I thought the book missed something when he was absent purely because Berren's story and character is such a staple in fantasy stories of this type. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Sy introduces Berren to his old friends and also his cynical reaction to both them and his own history.

There's a tentative romance between Berren and Lilissa, which is slow to develop and suffers from the fact that Lilissa doesn't appear very often. In fact, my main criticism of the book is that there's a dearth of female characters in this book other than prostitutes, which is a bit depressing.

There's a lot of set-up in this book, which affects the pacing but where there are action scenes, Deas handles these well. There's a relatively open ending, but I hope that the sequel will be a faster-moving affair and there was enough here to ensure that I'll read on.
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The Thief-Taker's Apprentice
The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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