The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes A great book -- though, a couple heads-ups beforehand:

1) If you are planning to read this on the Kindle, be forewarned that there are quite a few formatting errors and typos, which the author explained to me over Twitter were introduced by the publisher's scanning software. Ultimately these errors weren't too bad, just mildly distracting, and I certainly can't fault Weekes for those.

2) However, I also found the writing to be a bit rough, though this might be attributed to the author's own unique style. The best way I can think of to describe it is it almost feels like Weekes wrote this book like he was describing a movie, one that only he can see in his head. There were parts where I found descriptions to be sorely lacking. Scenes with lots of conversation bouncing between multiple characters were especially tough on me, since these work well on a big screen when the audience can follow the speakers visually, but it doesn't fly so well on the written page. And in a book like this, there certainly were a crapload of characters to keep track of.

Those were the two main obstacles I had to overcome, but apart from them I have to say this was very enjoyable. I was sucked in completely somewhere between the first couple of chapters -- after prisoners Loch and Kail escape their sentences and start planning their heist by recruiting other thieves and other talented individuals to their cause. No shocker that this book has been described as Ocean's Eleven meets fantasy, as that's pretty much the whole story, with a magical twist.

The first quarter of the novel was probably my favorite part, as it comprised all the character introductions. We have two ex-soldiers-turned-thieves, a tinkerer/lock picker extraordinaire, one talented acrobat, a shape-shifting unicorn, a death priestess and her magical talking hammer, a wizard, and his young friend with a big secret. Like I said before, lots of characters to keep track of. With such a huge cast, I wasn't expecting much terms of character development which under these circumstances would be understandable, but I was nonetheless impressed given the restraints the author had to work with. Each character was unique, given an interesting background and an important role to play. Surprisingly though? My favorite character was the justicar Pyvic, the "inspector" in this story, and not one of the thieves.

One other thing about the characters: I find "group" heist stories are often sausage fests (I mean, look at Ocean's Eleven, Reservoir Dogs, etc.) so I have to say I feel like giving Patrick Weekes a big kudos for writing a book featuring an ensemble which includes quite a few females -- females who aren't there solely there for token purposes or to be romantic interests, I might add! In fact, not counting the talking warhammer, half the team are women. Anyway, this observation did strike me as I was reading, so I just thought I'd add the thought as an aside.

As I was saying, I realize a big cast necessitates taking away from character development somewhat, but I also want to note that it might have taken away from the world-building as well. Though don't get me wrong, what we are given about the setting and its background is adequate and more than enough to follow the book, but I wouldn't have minded a little more description. I gathered that we have a world here which is populated by humans, dwarves and elves. The humans are comprised of different races, defined by geography and history. There's an established political system in place. Multiple tongues are spoken by the people, but at some point one of the characters also spoke French, which was referred as an ancient language. I'm pretty much intrigued with all of it. Weekes obviously put a lot of thought into this world, and it's just a shame he didn't get a chance to fully flesh it out, but then again, I totally get that there's a story to be told and that takes priority.

And that is what drives everything in the end, after all. The story. Full of political intrigue, twists and turns, double crosses and hidden agendas, it's actually quite amazing to me how the author managed to cram all that goodness into this average-length book. It definitely makes up for everything else.

Bottom line: this book is clever, humorous and a lot of fun. If you're looking for a light read with a good action-filled and fast-paced story, you won't be disappointed.