Can a rogue really escape her thieving ways and even find love? Tools of a Thief by D. Hale Rambo is a fun, quick read exploring a dungeons and dragons style adventure through the eyes of a gnome rogue named Zizy.
Title: Tools of a Thief: A Series of Decisions on Kairas
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Author: D. Hale Rambo
Length: 166 pages
Thank you to Books Forward for providing an advanced readers copy of this book
Tools of a Thief: A Series of Decisions on Kairas is the first novella in a new series by D. Hale Rambo.
A gnome rogue named Zizy is trying to escape her past and the life that she was born into. After stealing from her very powerful aunt, Emba, she tries to find her own freedom. Unfortunately for Zizy, her aunt has a way of always finding her and will not let her possess independence until she does one last mission. Emba keeps a watchful eye on Zizy to ensure that she stays focused on the goal, and Zizy is in constant fear of her aunt's wrath.
Before Zizy can start her travels for Emba's quest, Zizy meets a beautiful and charming bookworm named Laysa. Possibly as a warning from Emba to Zizy, the library that Laysa works in is burned down by a magical spell. Now Laysa must travel to find copies of rare books to rebuild the library. Traveling together, Zizy and Laysa find themselves growing closer as a budding romance takes shape. Along the way, they meet up with Pace, a kind and strong man who is searching for his sister. The three of them fight their way through woods and dungeons as they learn more about each other and what they are capable of.
During their travels, the group finds themselves fighting off magical statues and amber scorpions. They have to solve the puzzle of a magical home which is bigger on the inside and holds dangerous secrets. Poisons, traps, and powerful spells all threaten to destroy this party of heroes. Will they be able to make it?
In any game, my favorite characters are always gnome rogues. Whether it is my main in World of Warcraft, or my character in my weekly D&D group… I choose gnome rogues wherever I can. My title for most of my online presence is even The Crafting Rogue. Therefore, this book immediately piqued my interest.
Rambo does a fantastic job with her characters. The main protagonist, Zizy, has a deep backstory with relatable (or at least understandable) reasonings behind choices she makes. Her romance with Laysa is sweet, however quite rushed. Laysa and Pace both feel genuine, and the gradual trust that is formed between Pace and Zizy is subtle.
The world building for Tools of a Thief is expansive. It is clear from the start that the author has created an impressive world with multiple deities and intertwined storylines. However, this is not necessarily a positive reflection for a novella that is only 166 pages. Much of the worldbuilding, especially where the deities and history are concerned, is overwhelming and hurried. Because of the limitations of such a short book, the story simply was not able to explain everything effectively. The multiple arcs which were built up throughout the book were mostly left unresolved, including new arcs which had just been created in the final chapter. Essentially, the book felt as though it ended quite suddenly and without any real satisfaction or climax.
Should you read it?
Despite all this, Tools of a Thief was a very quick and enjoyable read for me. It was easy for me to get lost in the story. Admittedly, I was confused by a lot of the rushed worldbuilding. However, depending on what Rambo does with the future stories in this series, it could be a wonderful anthology. I only wish that this book had been more fully fleshed out, preferably making it into a full novel rather than a novella.
Ultimately, for a quick dip into a fantasy world, it is a very enjoyable diversion.
Geek to Geek Rating: 2.5 out of 5