Thief: Of Masks and Mirrors

You never forget your first. In 1998, Looking Glass released the original Thief game, and a little after that I got introduced to the world of one Garrett, Master Thief, and the City he roamed at night to fill his coat with shiny things.Capture

And we’ve got history. Garrett and me. The sort of history that shows, even to this day, with my online handle probably being the most obvious influence. It’s more than that though. He’s had lasting impact on my writing, helped define some of my favourite characters, and I don’t think I will ever forget how fond of him I was.

Which, I guess, should mean that I ought to be all over the Thief fandom, but as with all things that I treasure, I tend to stay far away from it. The times I tried I found anyone but Garrett in the fics, and after that I never bothered to return.

Well.   That’s changed now.  At least for the work of StopTalkingAtMe, who’s found her way into the Thief fandom and has given me a closure to Thief II that I didn’t even know I’d needed.

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7.8k words, complete @Ao3  by StopTalkingAtMe
Genre/What to expect: Gen.
Rating: Teen and Up
Suitable for fandom blind readers? While it will read well even fandom blind, the lack of context will make it difficult to appreciate it fully.

Six months have passed since the events at Soulforge Cathedral and the City is still recovering. No one’s too sure what counts as heresy these days. Karras has left his mark, not only on the City’s streets and sewers, but on Garrett too, and he’s not the only one.

Of Masks and Mirrors is how the epilogue to Metal Age should have played out. Or, far as I’m concerned, might as well have, because StopTalkingAtMe has done an incredible job at capturing ever facet of the original Thief series that I so unconditionally loved.

Garrett feels like Garrett. He’s the world weary thief that I remember. The jaded and somewhat defective individual that walks a lonely and oftentimes dark path. But he’s got that bit of snark too, and I love how she managed to find just the right amount without turning him into the joker he seems to have become in Thief 4, since apparently a lot of sass is what you need these days if you want to be an anti hero.

I digress though. Sorry.

So. She got Garrett right. But what about the rest?

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She got the city right, too. How it changed after Karras fell. How everyone’s still recovering. It’s in the details, in the people that Garrett meets in Of Masks and Mirrors, and it’s just as important as his own struggle to fit himself back into his life after the events at Soulforge Cathedral.

“Can’t blame ’em, to be honest with you,” the landlord says, scratching his balls through his pocket. “Bleeding nightmare, they were. ‘Praise Karras’ this, and ‘the Builder’ that, all the poxy hours of the night until the rain got into them, and then they was worse. Taffing things never bloody shut up.” He shoots a nervous glance at Garrett. “Not that I’m a heretic, mind you,” he adds hastily, in a way that suggests he absolutely is. No one’s quite certain what counts as heresy these days.

And as usual, her writing feels effortless in how it switches between beautiful descriptions and the intricate details needed to move the plot along. She gives Garrett time to reflect. To remember. With that, she builds him a little more still, adds nuances to his already pretty well layered character and reminds me why I adored him to begin with.

Oh, and by the by, she absolutely nails the speech pattern of every single one of the characters introduced. It’s like reading the Thief script, I swear.

I don’t really want to see much about the plot, since anything I might say could end up spoiling the experience. So please- please- if you like Thief, then give it a go. Have a read. Leave her a Kudos. Drop her a comment. She deserves both.

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