It seems ridiculous now, but I sat on The Palace Job for weeks after being granted a copy of it via Netgalley. I thought it sounded a little too light-hearted, a little too cutesy for my tastes; my fear was that it would end up being The Lies of Locke Lamora-lite.
Sometimes it's good to be very, very wrong.
As far as debut fantasy novels go, the only two I can think that were better than The Palace Job were Legend by David Gemmell and the aforementioned The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Even Joe Abercrombie's first novel, The Blade Itself, did not grab me as effectively. And that's about as high praise as I'm capable of giving, because I love me some Abercrombie.
The Palace Job is much lighter in tone than Abercrombie's trademark grim-dark novels, but it still plays hard ball at times with some nasty ne'er-do-wells and rapscallions making life difficult for our fantastic bunch of central characters. Weekes gets everything right in creating a group of distinguishable rogues who are all likable in their own way and bring something unique to the table in terms of their part in the heist Loch has (sort-of) put together. The pick of the bunch for mine was Icy, a fantastic martial artist from the Empire, but Loch herself is also great, as is her off-sider, Kail, and the death priestess, Desidora.
The pace of this novel is lightning-fast, which is both its blessing and curse. It's great not to get bogged down in world-building, but at the same time, I was a bit confused as to whom was on what side and which characters I should be aiming to get behind. The way the world worked was also largely painted in broad strokes that took longer than I would have liked to make sense.
But aside from this - and perhaps one too many last second rescues of one character by another - The Palace Job is a stellar read and one I have no hesitation in recommending to lovers of the fantasy genre or heist storylines. I've already gone ahead and bought all three books in the series - including this one - so I can read it again in future and bring less technologically inclined family members into the Weekes-fold.
4.5 Battles Bigger Than a Simple Heist for The Palace Job.