What if Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams had a baby in a magical universe? That’s THE ROSE THIEF!
Ned Sparks is the Thief Catcher of Roshaven—a town where magical creatures, controlled lawlessness, a complex bureaucracy, a mysterious Emperor (may he live forever and ever), and a large dose of whimsy, rule. Ned, along with a smelly sprite, a lighting bug (you really want to know how Ned communicates with him!), a grumpy maybe-warlock, and a wood nymph with some serious sex-appeal, is charged with finding out who is stealing the Emperor’s (may he… you get the idea) enchanted roses—and then the rose of love itself is stolen!
Let me admit a heresy: I do not like Terry Pratchett books. I’ve never been able to fully articulate why. Reading THE ROSE THIEF showed me why. Although Pratchett has plenty of humor, snide asides, witty snark, and magical hijinx, what he lacks is a depth of feeling. Love, you might call it. There is no depth of emotion behind his characters—they are 2 dimensional beings there to dance on the puppet stage. Claire Buss imbues each of her characters with a reason to love, to care, to really want to succeed in a world that seems entirely mad. You are pretty sure you’d rather these folks not pop into your world, but if you were in their’s, you’d certainly want to hang out with them.
This is a romp of a book with well-drawn characters, mysteries, romances, a quest, and dark forces. There are plenty of laughs of every kind to be had—from pure slapstick, to clever word play, and funny situations. Save THE ROSE THIEF for a day when you aren’t planning to do anything. You won’t want to put it down!
5 of 5 stars!