Customer Reviews for

The Good Thief

Average Rating 4
( 97 )
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(49)

4 Star

(22)

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(15)

2 Star

(4)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

The Good Thief

Ren is an orphan who does not know his age, last name, who his parents are or how he lost his left hand. With that important limb missing, he is routinely passed over by the visitors to Saint Anthony's orphanage, who come seeking to adopt a son or hire a worker. But the...
Ren is an orphan who does not know his age, last name, who his parents are or how he lost his left hand. With that important limb missing, he is routinely passed over by the visitors to Saint Anthony's orphanage, who come seeking to adopt a son or hire a worker. But then handsome Benjamin Nab arrives one day and claims Ren is his brother. The boy cannot believe his luck, even when Nab - clearly not his brother - turns out to be a silver-tongued man with a grave-robbing sideline. 'This is not a child,' he tells his alcoholic friend Tom after showing him Ren's stump. 'This is a gold mine.' It is impossible to read Tinti's first novel, set in the sinister town of North Umbrage in 19th-century England, without continually referencing Dickens. The Oliver Twist grimness of the orphanage soon gives way to a Great Expectations-style adventure with larger-than-life characters. These include Dolly, a giant murderer that Ren befriends, and McGinty, the menacing owner of North Umbrage's huge mousetrap factory. But Tinti also brings her own skills to the table: brevity of languageas well as a masterful ability to marry terror and humor. She also crafts her characters with such humanity and sympathy that their lack of morality just seems like good business sense. 'No heroics,' Tom says to Ren as they set out for their first con job. 'If something goes wrong, I want you to run.' Ren is himself a good thief, in both senses of the phrase: a deft purloiner, as well as a kind fingersmith. Like all of Tinti's other characters, he is an interesting study in amorality: Even as it chills him to stand next to a murderer, he cannot help wondering what it would be like 'to have no feelings, no guilt. To never say penance again'. The novel takes a slightly surreal turn in the last half when Ren is persecuted by McGinty over a dark secret. But it remains a shining example of that rare breed of book: a good, solid read.

posted by Anonymous on September 17, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Odd book- not recommended

The story seemed interesting and the other reviews proclaimed The Good Thief to be such an excellent read, so I ordered the book. I found it to be okay, hardly excellent. The characters were memorable to a certain degree but the story itself was just odd. Digging up bod...
The story seemed interesting and the other reviews proclaimed The Good Thief to be such an excellent read, so I ordered the book. I found it to be okay, hardly excellent. The characters were memorable to a certain degree but the story itself was just odd. Digging up bodies for medical knowledge may be a fact of the past but its weird to link a story about a child without a family and a mysterious past to that. Every character had some bizarre characteristic. Ren didn't have a hand. Dolly, who was a large man killed people for a living and slept all the time... added nothing to the story. The dwarf, yes dwarf, on the roof added nothing to the story. Mrs Sands screamed everytime she talked. The villian had a speech impediment and owned a mousetrap factory -of all things - which ultimately saved the town. Hairlip- the heroine if you will, didn't have to have a hairlip. Tom had a drinking problem. It was all so out there that it was almost stupid. The ending was disappointing. Would not recommend this book.

posted by 1273948 on December 29, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    The Good Thief

    Ren is an orphan who does not know his age, last name, who his parents are or how he lost his left hand. With that important limb missing, he is routinely passed over by the visitors to Saint Anthony's orphanage, who come seeking to adopt a son or hire a worker. But then handsome Benjamin Nab arrives one day and claims Ren is his brother. The boy cannot believe his luck, even when Nab - clearly not his brother - turns out to be a silver-tongued man with a grave-robbing sideline. 'This is not a child,' he tells his alcoholic friend Tom after showing him Ren's stump. 'This is a gold mine.' It is impossible to read Tinti's first novel, set in the sinister town of North Umbrage in 19th-century England, without continually referencing Dickens. The Oliver Twist grimness of the orphanage soon gives way to a Great Expectations-style adventure with larger-than-life characters. These include Dolly, a giant murderer that Ren befriends, and McGinty, the menacing owner of North Umbrage's huge mousetrap factory. But Tinti also brings her own skills to the table: brevity of languageas well as a masterful ability to marry terror and humor. She also crafts her characters with such humanity and sympathy that their lack of morality just seems like good business sense. 'No heroics,' Tom says to Ren as they set out for their first con job. 'If something goes wrong, I want you to run.' Ren is himself a good thief, in both senses of the phrase: a deft purloiner, as well as a kind fingersmith. Like all of Tinti's other characters, he is an interesting study in amorality: Even as it chills him to stand next to a murderer, he cannot help wondering what it would be like 'to have no feelings, no guilt. To never say penance again'. The novel takes a slightly surreal turn in the last half when Ren is persecuted by McGinty over a dark secret. But it remains a shining example of that rare breed of book: a good, solid read.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Very Gratifying Read!

    I really didn't know what to expect from this novel and I was very surprised. I found it amusing, entertaining, poignant, and scrappy. I believe it it would make a great movie and to see this book on the screen would be so much fun.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    unputtdownable!

    Almost quite literally impossible to put down and even if your mother steals your copy for a week or so (as mine did), you live with the characters in the meantime and pick right up with them after you get it back from her. Especially nice to read a novel that takes place in the past but doesn't have 'research' screaming from between the lines. As you read it you just feel like you're back there, then, with this boy and these con artists--and that there and then is where you want to be. It had been quite a while since I'd gotten this lost in a book--took me back to those great reading days of childhood and adolescence.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    Odd book- not recommended

    The story seemed interesting and the other reviews proclaimed The Good Thief to be such an excellent read, so I ordered the book. I found it to be okay, hardly excellent. The characters were memorable to a certain degree but the story itself was just odd. Digging up bodies for medical knowledge may be a fact of the past but its weird to link a story about a child without a family and a mysterious past to that. Every character had some bizarre characteristic. Ren didn't have a hand. Dolly, who was a large man killed people for a living and slept all the time... added nothing to the story. The dwarf, yes dwarf, on the roof added nothing to the story. Mrs Sands screamed everytime she talked. The villian had a speech impediment and owned a mousetrap factory -of all things - which ultimately saved the town. Hairlip- the heroine if you will, didn't have to have a hairlip. Tom had a drinking problem. It was all so out there that it was almost stupid. The ending was disappointing. Would not recommend this book.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2010

    One of the best books I've ever read--magical!

    I read a great deal of contemporary fiction and this was one of the best books I ever read. The characters were well drawn and I was pulled helplessly into the life of Ren, the main character, just as he is pulled helplessly into the adventures that befall him. The plot is exciting and filled with surprises. The writing is excellent and I couldn't wait to enter the world that Hannah Tinti created.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    The Good Thief

    Ren had no memory of his life before St. Anthony's. The only clues to his past is the initials REN sewn into the collar of his nightshirt and his missing left hand. One day a stranger, Benjamin Nab, comes to St. Anthony's looking for him, claiming to be his older brother, and reeling off a story of high adventure that explains both how Ren lost his hand and the reason he was left at St. Anthony's. However, Ren soon discovers that Benjamin Nab is not at all who he claims to be, but instead is ...more Ren had no memory of his life before St. Anthony's. The only clues to his past is the initials REN sewn into the collar of his nightshirt and his missing left hand. One day a stranger, Benjamin Nab, comes to St. Anthony's looking for him, claiming to be his older brother, and reeling off a story of high adventure that explains both how Ren lost his hand and the reason he was left at St. Anthony's. However, Ren soon discovers that Benjamin Nab is not at all who he claims to be, but instead is a smooth talking con man that hopes to use Ren's disability in order to pull off more lucrative cons. When Ren decides, against his better judgment, to throw his lot in with Nab, he realizes that his life is never going to be the same again. This contemporary book is a classic adventure story with the literary style and singular characters that will remind the reader of the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, and/or Mark Twain. It is a well-written, fast-plotted, thoroughly enjoyable read that holds up very well to these hefty comparisons.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Dark and Light

    While usually I try to stay away from books that are dark and disturbing, this book drew me in and I just couldn't put it down. I even woke up early to finish it this morning and I'm not a morning person. While the details are gory and often times unpleasant, Tinti composes her prose in a way that is honest and tugs at your heart. Some authors add gore as shock value but she used it to further the plot and make you care for Ren. This book is a true mix of fantasy and reality that will make you cringe, smile and possibly cry. Tinti has such a flare for writing. I haven't seen this quality of work in a very long time. Her literary skills could set her in the ranks of the classics. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with next.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Good Read

    If you were to mix Dickens with a shot of Twain, and economize the amount of words, you would get something like this. It is, oversimply, a gothic tale of an orphan searching for answers to his mysterious past - most notably, his missing hand. On his journey, he encounters con men, petty thieves, grave robbers, and a mousetrap factory. It is a joy to read, a treasure of the best kind.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pointless!

    Well written but pointless. I really didn't get it.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    A good book that's well worth reading.

    Recommended.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great New Story!!!

    For a while there, I was in dire need of a new book. That's when I found the Good Thief! For me this book was a breath of fresh air. I became fascinated with the characters as they traveled from one adventure to the next. This is definitely one of those books that can trasnport you back in time. You can't help but to fall in love with all the characters and be intirgued with the plot. A great gothic type novel for a wide range of readers!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    Loved every minute of it!

    Loved her first book, Animal Crackers, so I knew I couldn't wait to read this one. She made me love all the characters despite their flaws. This novel has an old world feel. i devoured this book in only a weeks time. If you are looking for a book to take you away this summer -this is the one for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2008

    I absolutely loved this book!

    I think this book is fantastic! The main charatcer Ren, is so lovable, it was really hard for me to put this book down. I would reccommend this book to anyone! I hope she writes a sequel!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    An engaging historical

    In New England at Saint Anthony¿s for Boys orphanage, twelve years old resident Ren wonders how he lost his left hand and who his biological parents are. He has tried to solve both puzzles for as long as he can remember, but has made no progress on either of his inquiries. He especially would like to find his family as he fears the Brothers who run the facility will soon toss him out into the real world.----------------- Adult Benjamin Nab arrives at Saint Antony with an astonishing claim that Ren is his younger brother. He backs his declaration by explaining how the preadolescent lost his hand and ended up in an orphanage. The Brothers feels good for Ren that his older sibling has come to take him home. However, Benjamin and his partner Tom are con artists whose newest ploy is to use a young angelic looking cripple to expedite the swindle. This proves quite lucrative as Ren takes to a life of crime as if he was born to it Benjamin and Tom are family to him until they reach North Umbrage where everything unravels.------------------- This engaging historical stars three fascinating crooks with radically different personalities whose adventures in con crime is somewhat abated. Readers especially the young adult audience will relish Ren¿s escapades but also undertsanbd his obsessive need to belong to someone who cares about him even if that means criminal activities this is similar to youngsters joining gangs. Hannah Tinti provides a deep look at THE GOOD THIEF whose psychological relational needs are the driving elements to this enjoyable nineteenth century character driven thriller.------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Fun Book Club Read

    Reading it for a book club and really enjoying it! There are a couple of mistakes in the eBook, but nothing to bad where it hinders reading. Glad this was our book club pick. It is a book that anyone who likes fiction, its hard to find a book that a group of girls who read a lot have never read and on that fits all of our styles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    WORST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book is the worst book I ever read. I have no idea how this book ever got published. It is a book for my book club. It has taken me a month to read 120 pages of it. Can't bear to read more than a few pages at a time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    LOVE

    This book is really awesome. I read it cover to cover in one day. Highly recommended!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    A new favorite

    Engaging characters, great narrative voice and an amazing story make this book a genuine masterpiece. I genuinely pity anyone who doesn't 'get' it. Read this book!!!

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Read

    An excellent adventure story - somewhere it's compared with Stevenson and I think it does have many elements of his writing. there is something mysterious about Benjamin Nab and charming. Ren is an endearing and lovable character. His plight and that of his friends is terrible - and the tension of not knowing what indeed will happen to this good little thief and the mystery surround him are what make the book so difficult to put down. A very good read - and not just for young adults but any age.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A classic tale

    I bought The Good Thief for my 14 year old nephew for Christmas. I was attracted to the cover and the story outline on the back. I started reading it to see if it would keep my interest and I was hooked. It takes place in Colonial New England and the world Hannah Tinti creates has fantastical characters and dreadfully sinister settings. It is a fantastic adventure novel with characters you root for and characters you hate. Ren is a boy of courage. His friends can't be trusted and he doesn't trust them, yet he must. His life depends on it. Who will turn on him for a buck to be had and who will be there to save him in the nick of time? This would be a great book for middle school and high school reading. Don't get me wrong. It's a great adult read too. It's well written. It's mature. It's colorful.

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