The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
(The Queen’s Thief # 3)
Greenwillow Books, 387 pages
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.
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)
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?”
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked
Cover and blurb: Goodreads