Reviewed by Nikyta J.
TITLE: Thick as Thieves
AUTHOR: Tali Spencer
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief. It’s lust at first sight for Vorgell—but honestly, he can’t help it. Unicorn horn is a potent aphrodisiac, and now he can’t stop thinking about sex. Luckily, Madd is one male witch who knows how to put Vorgell’s new magical body to good use when he tricks Vorgell into a kiss that helps them escape.
Vorgell may desire sex in general—and Madd in particular—but Madd has no intention of being screwed by a man twice his size. He has problems of his own, including an enchanted collar that causes him to desire his most hated enemy. He wants that collar off as soon as possible, but that requires stealing a basilisk egg from the castle they just escaped.
Drawn together by lust and magic, the two men join forces and soon find themselves up to their necks in witches, wizards, and trouble. Vorgell and Madd might just be perfect for each other, but first they have to survive long enough to find out.
When I read the blurb for this book, I knew right away it had the potential to be a wild ride. Any author that has the balls to have such an attention grabber for the start of a blurb was something that I wanted to read and I’m happy to say this book lived up to my expectations and more.
The story revolves around Vorgell, a brute of a man who unwittingly kills a unicorn, eats some berries and then becomes so horny he fucks himself with the unicorn’s horn. Now cursed with the unicorn’s magic, he’ll live the rest of his life unable to control his lust. Being jailed for his crime, he’s thrown into a cell with Maddog, a witchkin who’s forced to wear a love collar that binds him to the Baron. When they meet, Vorgell feels so much lust for Madd he’s willing to force himself on Madd but instead Vorgell settles for a kiss, turned bite, that Madd uses to tap into Vorgell’s new magic, allowing them to escape.
When their emotions settle down, they reluctantly decide to work together. Vorgell will help Madd break the collar while Madd will sate Vorgell’s constant lust. Unfortunately, to get rid of the collar, they’ll have to break back into the very place they just escaped from, steal an unhatched basilisk egg and do it all without getting caught. Madd attracts trouble, though, and things aren’t that easy. Now, they’re not just saving Madd from the Baron but trying to stop the wizards from increasing their powers through the Baron’s wife. With so many roadblocks, will they ever be able to succeed and gain their freedom?
I loved these characters. They were quite surprising from how they develop over the course of the book. Vorgell more than anyone because of his sexual appetites. Vorgell starts off as this mindless gigantic brute who will take what he wants and not care who he hurts in the process. He’s aggressive, forceful and quick to battle. He hates witches with a passion and vows to slaughter any he comes into contact with until he meets Madd. Madd is just the opposite, he’s small, determined and stubborn with no problems taking advantage of Vorgell’s magic. With his life, he needs to be in control. He’s a thief and has no loyalties to anyone, in fact, he pretty much hates everyone and couldn’t care less to help them.
As they work together, though, they form a bond that neither of them are willing to let go of. Now, Madd and Vorgell will do anything to stick together even if it means getting killed in the process. They develop a weird sense of honor but definitely form a bone-deep bond that allows them to trust and have faith in one another. It’s sweet, in a way, to see Madd go from something resembling a hissing cat to one who would do anything to keep Vorgell from getting used… at least from anyone besides himself. Vorgell is the same in that he won’t let anything happen to Madd. While they don’t necessarily love each other, there’s affection there and growing adoration that definitely could develop into love if their story were to continue further.
The world is quite amazing. I loved that it was so deep into the magical community centered on wizards and witches and the differences between the two while mixed in with an almost historical setting. The witches are women who believe that men are just tools to give them more magic and to create life while wizards are men who gorge themselves on all things related to necromancy, killing witches to strengthen themselves. Madd falls somewhere in the middle. He’s a witchkin which means he doesn’t practice necromancy but can’t necessarily create his own magic without refueling from an outside source, which generally means consuming living things. It’s a crazy world where magic is essentially part of everything. The journey Madd and Vorgell go on takes the reader deeper and deeper into the layers of witches and witchkin. It was fascinating for me because it provided enough information to stay interesting but not so much that it’s overdone and becomes too heavy in world building. It was a nice balance between adventure, affection and the overall world.
The only fault I found with the story was that some aspects of it are unresolved. Not majorly so but it’s left with a possibility of more to come for these two and I, for one, would be extremely happy if there were a sequel!
The book flows well from the start with an engaging first chapter that had me wanting to read more. The writing is smooth and has action interspersed throughout the whole story. When things would start to slow down, Madd and Vorgell would find themselves in another situation that required them to fight for their lives or go through dangerous territory. It’s filled with twists and turns but even while Vorgell and Madd develop, they never shed the criminal actions that got them caught in the first place. It was refreshing that they weren’t born again innocents but instead kept their gruff and dangerous exteriors. They’re completely hot together and I loved the ‘mastering’ (if you can even call it that) that takes place between the two. They’re very, very surprising characters and while I was afraid of the direction the story would take a few times, overall, I loved the way it was executed.
For someone looking for a true romance, you won’t find that with this story. This is pure fantasy with more of lust than love in the developing of feelings and companionship but you won’t find undying love in this book. It’s rich in a unique world, a fascinating journey and an interesting cast of characters and creatures. It was a fun, adventurous read that got intense at times but I’m so glad I read it because I loved it. I do sincerely hope there’s more to come of these two because I’d love to see what mischief Vorgell, Madd and Petal get into next. And if you want to know who Petal is… well, you’ll just have to read it and find out yourself!
PRE-ORDER LINK: Dreamspinner Press
Nikyta J. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
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