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)