A Conspiracy of Kings

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen TurnerA Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen’s Thief # 4
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of pages:
352

My copy: paperback, ordered from Book Depository

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father’s villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus—and Eddis—sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.

* * *

One of the series that I really loved from my 2011 reads was Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. It took me a while to finally read them, but when I did, I was so glad I did. And I was so glad I had the first three books on hand because I don’t think I would have been able to wait for so long to read up to The King of Attolia. I had to wait a bit before I got to the next book, though because I wanted my books to match. :D In retrospect, it was a good decision since the next book in the series, A Conspiracy of Kings, shifted the focus from our favorite thief Eugenides to his friend and heir to the king of Sounis, Sophos.

Spoiler warning for the first three books in the series from here on out.

Sophos has disappeared while the events of The King of Attolia was happening, and Eugenides wonders where he is and how he is doing constantly. The Queen of Eddis wonders, too, but they hear nothing from him until one day, someone shoots a pea to the face of the King of Attolia. Here we find out what exactly happened to Sophos — from an abduction to escape, to being a slave and seeing his father, to making plans and meeting old friends and learning, just how it really is, to make the difficult choices for the good of the kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis and Sounis.

Going back into the world Megan Whalen Turner created was a mixture of relief and comfort — comfort because it’s become such a familiar place in my imagination, and relief because I know in my heart of hearts that this will be a good book. And it was. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sophos, and I was glad to read more about him in this book. A Conspiracy of Kings is really about how Sophos rose to power, and how he changed from a reluctant heir to a real king. This isn’t a fun, riches to rags to riches story, though. Okay, yes, it is fun because of all the banter and the jokes and the conversations, but this book had almost the same atmosphere of The Queen of Attolia: lots of inter-kingdom politics, threats of war and of course, conspiracies. Oh, there was some romance, too, which wasn’t as surprising because it has been hinted at since The Thief. A part of me squee-d when they finally talked about it here. :D

But don’t worry: Eugenides is still very much present in this book. There’s not as many Eugenides scenes, but he has a big influence over the major events in the story. In fact, Sophos often thought about his thief friend, and it was nice to see the thoughts of someone who actually liked Eugenides. I really liked how Sophos’ friendship with Eugenides has developed in A Conspiracy of Kings, especially their private conversations, almost like how brothers would address each other. Eugenides and Sophos may be kings, but they are still friends and this relationship was perfectly executed in this novel.

A Conspiracy of Kings is a very good follow up to the series, and like with the first three books, I was surprised at the turn of events at the end. I knew there was some kind of twist, and try as I might, I had no idea what it was until it was finally there. And that just makes this book a very good read and definitely an awesome reread too. Now since the is no word yet about when the next book is coming out, I think it’s time to read some of the recommended books (by MWT and other fans) that are similar to the series that we love. There’s a pretty long list on the link up there. :)

But please, please, MWT, don’t make us wait too long. :)

Rating:

I made sure to finish this book in time for Chachic’s The Queen’s Thief week. I liked the series, but if you want to see someone who is a BIG fan, then Chachic is your girl. Head over to her blog this week because it’s filled with so much Eugenides / MWT goodness. :)

The Queen's Thief week at Chachic's Book Nook

Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Janicu’s Book Blog
Book Harbinger
Angieville
The Book Smugglers

Reviews for other Queen’s Thief books:
#1 The Thief
#2 The Queen of Attolia
#3 The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen TurnerThe King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen’s Thief # 3
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of pages: 387
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king’s caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

* * *

I did say that when I finished The Queen of Attolia, I cannot not pick up the next book, right? And that is very true — soon as I finished that book, I immediately picked up The King of Attolia to know what happens next. Because really, after you’re done with Queen, how could you not want to know?

I’m going in circles, I’m sorry.

Spoiler warning for The Thief and The Queen of Attolia from this point forward.

Seriously, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you read on and haven’t read the first two books.

So there is a new king in Attolia after years of not having one. But the Attolians aren’t rejoicing because they do not believe in the king. The scheming people who want to remove the queen think it’s easy to get rid of the king, too, while the loyal ones to the queen believe that the king is a fool. Reminiscent of school bullying, the Attolian court make life for the new king hard with various pranks and mockeries. But those pranks are nothing compared to an assassination attempt at the king. In the middle of all of this is Costis, a simple guard who did the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. This makes him an unwilling companion to the king, and privy to his personal moments with the queen. His contempt for the king soon fades away, when he realizes what we readers have known or a long time: that the king, Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, is smarter and more cunning than everyone in the Attolian court combined. That, and he loves the Queen of Attolia and she loves him back.

Again, I must say: Megan Whalen Turner is a genius. Or a GENius, because Eugenides is a genius. After reading the first two books in the series, I already know what Eugenides is capable of, so it felt like I was in on a big secret as I read the book. I felt sorry for Costis, but I was amazed at how the events unfolded. MWT is amazing with hiding things from the reader, and making us wonder about the schemes and secrets of her characters. We know that Eugenides is smart, but why does it feel like he’s being beaten? What is the queen doing? Where is Eddis?

But as good as she is with hiding things from the reader, she’s also extremely skilled in revealing it bit by bit, and convincing readers of how it was all planned all along when we get to the end. It makes for a very, very satisfying read, and it made me fall in love with the series and the characters as I go on.

The best part of this book, IMHO, was the romance. The romance took me by surprise in The Queen of Attolia, and a part of me had a hard time believing it. In The King of Attolia, this romance was proven. I don’t think I fully understood how it came to be, but in the end, I was definitely convinced that these two people really love each other. My favorite scene (may be slight spoilery):

After one moment of gripped immobility, the queen bent to kiss the king lightly on one closed eyelid, then on the other. She said, “I love your eyes.” She kissed him on either cheek, near the small lobe of his ear. “I love your ears, and I love” — she paused as she kissed him gently on the lips –“every single one of your ridiculous lies.” (p. 218)

Ah. <3

I think this is my favorite of all the books so far. The King of Attolia had me snickering, sighing, giggling and sighing again with satisfaction when I was done. I think this may be my favorite book in the series. I can’t wait to get my hands on A Conspiracy of Kings. :)

Oh, and you know what? I think this book will also make for very good rereading. I look forward to that, too. :)

“Am I king?”

Rating:

2011 Challenge Status:
Required Reading – May

Other reviews:
Janicu’s Book Blog
Angieville
Book Harbinger
Fantasy Cafe
Stella Matutina

Reviews for other Queen’s Thief books:
#1 The Thief
#2 The Queen of Attolia

Want Books: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner


Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now.

So last week, I finished reading The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (review will be up this weekend!) and I couldn’t help but mutter, “Genius!” every time I think about that book. But now that I’m done with the three MWT books I have on hand, what do I do now?

Pine for the next one, of course. This is why I have another Want Books post. :D

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Greenwillow Books

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father’s villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the Magus and Eddis, sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.

After the greatness that is the first three books in the series, how can I not want the fourth? That, and I have been wondering what happened to Sophos, anyway.

This book has been available since last year in local bookstores, but I am only wanting it now. I could buy it, I know, but I’m kind of iffy because it’s still in hardback, and my first three Queen’s Thief books are in paperback! I want my set to match! :( I think the paperback will be out this year, though — I think I can still wait.

The Queen of Attolia

Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen’s Thief # 2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of pages: 362
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Revenge
When Eugenides (yoo-JEN-ə-deez), the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes’s Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered…she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.
…but
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.
…at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago…

* * *

They told me the real fun in The Queen’s Thief series starts with the second book. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened my copy of The Queen of Attolia, except that it’s not told in Eugenides’ point of view anymore. I was ready for that, but I wasn’t ready for the changes coming to Gen and the kingdoms he moves in.

Spoiler warning for The Thief from this point onward.

At the end of the first book, we find out that Eugenides is not just a simple thief, but the Thief of Eddis. After stealing Hamiathes’ Gift under the Queen of Attolia’s nose and escaping her clutches, the Queen was out for his blood. It didn’t help that Eugenides kept on taunting her by sneaking into her palace. When Eugenides is finally caught, the Queen carries out her revenge which starts a series of events that would change the kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis and Sounis.

I thought I would miss Eugenides’ voice here since he’s not the narrator anymore, but I was wrong. Eugenides was still as snarky, stubborn and cocky as ever, but he also starts growing up in this novel. I couldn’t blame him after what he goes through in the first part of the novel. Then I appreciated the third person switching point of views because it made me understand the story more. It was interesting to be inside the Queens of Eddis and Attolia’s minds in addition to Eugenides’. It shows how good Megan Whalen Turner’s world and character building is.

The Queen of Attolia is really one part fantasy and two parts political intrigue. The magical aspect doesn’t really show up until some time around the end. There were more talks of war and politics between queens and kingdoms, almost akin to how the latter part of the story was in Fire by Kristin Cashore. This makes the story unfurl a bit slowly just like how the previous book was, but I think the highlight of the book isn’t really the plot but the character development, specifically Eugenides’. His transition from the cocky young thief to a beaten-up, almost despairing and darker one was interesting and sometimes heartbreaking to read. I lost the number of times I found myself saying “Oh Gen!” — in amusement or sadness or both — as I read this book. I definitely loved the thief more in this book.

Oh, and I must not forget the most surprising part of this book: the romance. I knew there was a romance, but even if I was expecting it, it still took me by surprise. I was hoping for a specific pairing up to happen, but it didn’t. I had a hard time coming to terms with it after the reveal has happened at first, but the author gave me enough time to get used to it and accept it before the book ended. And while it hasn’t really convinced me to believe that just yet, I was curious to how it would be tackled in the next book.

The Queen of Attolia is a pleasure to read. It may be slow, but the gradual unfurling of the plot makes it such a yummy read. It’s a very good follow up to The Thief, and by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be so invested in Eugenides and his world that you just can’t not pick up the next book right after. :)

Rating:

2011 Challenge Status:
Required Reading – May

Other reviews:
Janicu’s Book Blog
Book Harbinger
Angieville

Reviews for other Queen’s Thief books:
#1 The Thief

The Thief

The Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen’s Thief # 1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of pages:
280

My copy: paperback, bought from Powerbooks

“I can steal anything.”

After Gen’s bragging lands him in the king’s prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king’s scholar, the magus, needs the thief’s skill for a seemingly impossible task – to steal a hidden treasure from another land.

To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.

* * *

So I’ve been hearing about The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner for the longest time, and all reviews I’ve read seemed positive. Back then I had a series compulsion, and I refused to start a book series when I know I don’t have all books with me. I had a hard time finding a copy of The Thief until someone pointed me to the right direction, and eventually I ended up acquiring the next two books in the series. That should have been enough to get me started on the series ASAP, but I waited a little while more for reasons that I can’t really say until I finally made myself read it for this month’s Required Reading.

Eugenides, also known a Gen, is a thief, and a loudmouthed one at that. After bragging about his thievery in the wrong wine shop, Gen ends up in the prison of the king of Sounis, where the story opens and he patiently waits for something to happen so he can escape. Before he can, though, the king’s magus comes to fetch him and includes him in a mission that requires Gen’s talents. He was to steal a hidden treasure that could possibly be just a fairy tale.

To speak more of the plot would spoil it, and the last thing you’d want to be with in this book is spoiled. I was drawn in the story immediately by Gen’s voice. I loved him from the moment he opened his mouth and spoke to the magus. Gen is snarky, sarcastic, and he got on everyone’s nerves by the way he complained and how he kept on asking for food. But even so, I never felt annoyed with him. Gen is charming in his own way, and I can see why people liked/loved him so much. :) The supporting characters were well-written, too, and I think I have a soft spot for Sophos. I would love to see more of him in the future books.

The plot seemed very simple at first, but when everything unraveled at the end, I had to stop myself from gasping and reading back to the other pages to see what I missed. In a way, this reminds me of how Jellicoe Road was written — you think you have the whole picture, then the author surprises you with a twist that left me gaping. I love how it took me by surprise and when you think about it, it all makes sense. I liked how everything fell into place without sacrificing any other element in the story.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan yet, but I really enjoyed reading this one. It starts a bit slow, but stick to it and you’ll be rewarded in the end. :) I am very excited to read The Queen of Attolia now. :)

Rating:

2011 Challenge Status:
Required Reading – May

Other reviews:
Janicu’s Book Blog
Angieville
Good Books and Good Wine
Presenting Lenore
The Book Smugglers
(review for the series)
Chachic’s Book Nook
(review for the series)