In The Thief’s Gamble we face an engrossing plot, which might suffer from stereotypes of the fantasy genre but is presented masterfully, and all the prerequisites that should turn The Tales of Einarinn series into a solid debut have been met. For me, though, the main inadequacy of the book is the mixing of humorous scenes with unaccountable cruelty, like depictions of rapes and murders, which are definitely not suitable for all audiences. Nevertheless, violence in literature is nowadays largely regarded as normal, so this minor flaw cannot outshine the indisputable assets of the novel.
Fortunately, the protagonists are well-developed and likeable; only those few who join the group of companions later on lack decent background and motivation. Livak as a main character is an enigmatic figure, impulsive and entertaining in her somewhat ruthless and practical logic. In conclusion, The Thief’s Gamble offers a multitude of amusing characters, original manifestations of magic, a mixture of politics and intrigue, as well as a vast world yet to be discovered – thus, Juliet E. McKenna has every right to be considered one of the best adventure fantasy writers out there.