The Book Smugglers are having a Young Adult appreciation month and since I have a couple of YA titles in my to-read-pile, I decided to join in.

The Thief is also part of my 1st in a series challenge.

The Thief is a story about Gen who brags that he’s the best thief in all of Sounis and to prove it he steals the King’s seal. This lands him into the King’s prison where he suffers several months until the King’s magus has a need for him. Magus requires Gen to steal something that most people consider a myth. Gen has no real choice but to agree.

Gen, the magus, his two apprentices Ambiades and Sophos, and their protector Pol ride out from the capital to the neighboring country of Attolia. Too bad that Gen hates horses, doesn’t know how to ride, and is quite weak after months in prison. Apparently, the magus either didn’t think of that or didn’t want to be inconvenienced and so he tries to keep brisk pace. Still, they can’t travel quickly and have to stop often. On the way, the magus and Gen tell the other characters stories about the gods. When they finally reach their destination, the theft seems almost impossible even for Gen.

The pace of the story is first somewhat leisurely and isn’t very quick at all but that fits the story nicely.

I was delighted with the world because it’s not a medieval one. Instead it has a clear Ancient world influence and almost feels like an alternate history. The magus can’t cast spell; he’s a scholar. The King’s, and the Queen’s guards, use guns even though the guns aren’t in widespread use. The mythology of the world seems to flow quite clearly from Greek myths.

The characters are an interesting bunch. Gen isn’t necessarily a likable guy and the rest treat him like a criminal. I rather liked the efficient and professional Pol and the gentle Sophos is perhaps the most likable of them. The magus and Ambiades are the most grumpy and clearly think of themselves as far above Gen in status.

Overall: I liked it and will likely continue with the series. Loved the Ancient World feel!

Why is this book YA? Gen’s age isn’t established but I though he was a grown man and certainly the last chapter seems to give support to that idea. (He’s done more things during his life that a teenager should be able to.)