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I'll apologize for this being a vague description up front. I read a book about 8 years ago about a girl who could grow her nails into essentially razorblades or long enough that they could be used as razors. She travels to a city and either becomes an assassin or a thief (pretty sure it was a thief). I vaguely remember the book opening with her being chased by a mob. At some point during her thief training she realizes that the layout of the city is the key to some important plot device. I think she was given some scroll or cryptic image and then during her training she realizes that the layout of the city correlates to it.

Although I did read this 8 years ago I'm pretty sure the book was at least 5-10 years older than that, maybe even more because it was my mom who gave it to me and she said had read it when she was younger. The dust cover was missing when I read it so I have no description for the cover. I do remember that the author was male. It was a fantasy setting and there may have been vampires involved at some point but that part of my recollection of the book is even fuzzier than what I've already described. I've tried googling for this book but obviously my description is fairly vague. I will gladly answer any follow up questions that I can to try and help figure this out because it has been bothering me for years.

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God Stalk from Kensyrath series by P. C. Hodgell, perhaps?

"Girl who could grow her nails into essentially razorblades or long enough that they could be used as razors" - she has retractable claws, IIRC. "Book opening with her being chased by a mob" - book opens with her being chased by ghosts or monsters. "She travels to a city and either becomes an assassin or a thief" - she becomes thief's apprentice and joins Thieves' Guild.

"I do remember that the author was male" - well, this part does not match, but you probably assumed that author was male because there were initials only and no obviously female name.

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    I was just about to suggest that as an answer. It was a fantastic novel, though I didn't care much for the sequels. Also +1 for your answer about the author's gender. :) – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Aug 29 '13 at 13:39
  • Well the reason I thought the author was male was because I remember as a kid thinking that the book had to be written by a female and then when I got to the end of the book I saw a picture of the author and thought it was profoundly weird that a guy wrote it. Don't know why that always stuck out as a memory from when I was a kid. However since the other clues match up so well I'd be inclined to believe that I was confusing my memory of the male author picture with reading the book I described. Thank you for the help I'll have to check it out and see. – user1443362 Aug 29 '13 at 14:37
  • Also a good match, the layout of the city actually relates to the structure of her master's house, including that her master can jump across rooftops that aren't there anymore due to sheet power of belief. And at one point, she steals from a temple a scroll bearing a corrupted version of The Book Bound in Pale Leather, a sacred text of her people. – FuzzyBoots Feb 26 '14 at 16:07
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There is a trilogy from Pierre Bottero called "ellana", where the storie is about a young girl that become a "marchOmbre" ("shadow walker"), a kind of spy/thief. she's trained as such, and her final task before leaving apprentice is to go to a mountains where she will be tested, and get a personnal secret reward. In her case, this was some razor-like nails.

  • Unfortunately I remember that the character starts the series with the razor nails. – user1443362 Aug 29 '13 at 14:32

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