3.5 out of 5 stars
Cut to the Chase:
Giant Thief is a fun swords-and-sorcery fantasy novel centered on a thief and a giant that he ends up stealing. I think the author probably would have been better served if he had gone for a more whimsical tone, because while the premise is essentially kind of fun, the author consistently darkens it with people being kind of dour all the time and having fairly bloody battles with heads being chopped off and such. The setting is pretty much generic low magic fantasy. The giant, I think, is the only magical element in the book. In my thinking, if you are going to introduce magic, you might as well go about it wholeheartedly and throw as much fantasy as you can into the mix, but the more restrained approach works all right for this author even if it is a bit less imaginative and fun. I enjoyed myself while reading this book and didn’t at any point regret having picked it up, so I would recommend it as lite fantasy fare. You won’t find yourself thinking deeply about anything in the book, but it is a pleasant enough to read.
Easie Damasco is an incompetent thief who gets forcibly recruited into an invading army. Fearing for his life in his first battle, he inadvertently steals a giant. As the invading army attempts to recapture him, he is gradually drawn into a heroic scheme to defeat the invaders.
One of the overall constants in the book is that of movement, because the protagonist never really stays in one place; he is always in the process of rushing off to somewhere else. I guess this keeps the plot going fairly well, but it makes the book kind of exhausting without really contributing very much to the excitement. The characters are always bruised, tired, hungry, and beat up but since they are always beaten to mush, the emotional gravity of their suffering is pretty much removed, since there is no contrast of when they were all chipper, fed, uninjured, and happy.
The characters are decent. The protagonist is a bit one dimensional as a selfish thief, but the selfish thief archetype is fairly interesting so it doesn’t hurt the book. The other characters are a bit more varied and interesting. The antagonist makes a good implacable foe, and the giant is sort of monosyllabic but still fun.
I sort of feel like the author works against himself in the book. He comes up with a somewhat wacky premise then tries to make it dark and violent. He puts in a bit of fighting then decides the giant will be a predominately a pacifist, taking away all the fun of a giant going around stomping people flat. I still like the book enough to recommend it overall, but I am a little sad about the fact that if the author had just let himself go wild a little more, this book would have been better and more fun.
Comparisons to Other Authors:
Although it’s not my favorite of his works, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book The Color of Magic is fairly close to what I think this book should really aspire to be.