Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Sophos, the nephew of the King of Sounis, and rightful heir, tells his story in this fourth installment of the Queen’s Thief series. We are first introduced to Sophos in The Thief. Toward the end of The King of Attolia it’s mentioned that he’s been kidnapped and feared dead.

Here’s our chance to find out what’s happened to him.

I loved the beginning of this book. The action happens right away. I liked Sophos very much, though he doesn’t seem to like himself at all. In fact, he’s a great disappointment to his father banished him to an island hoping he'd improve his sword skills rather than his poetry reading.

After Sophos is kidnapped, he ends up as a slave working on the grounds of a ruthless Baron. Not ideal circumstances, right? But here’s the thing—he’s actually enjoying himself. Sophos works hard building stone walls during the day and recites poetry to the other slaves in the evenings. He begins to feel free from the burden of disappointing his family.

Then his life as a slave is disrupted with certain news and he's forced to decide whether he’ll keep his head in the sand or step up and claim his destiny.

It’s not an easy choice for Sophos. He struggles with the idea of bearing sole responsibility for his actions.

“Out among the olives…I thought, as if it were the first time, about what I wanted. All of my life people had chosen for me. My father of the king of Sounis, his magus, or the kings’ other advisors. All my life they had made choices for me, and I had resented it. Now the choice was mine, and once it was made, I would have no right to blame anyone else for the consequences. Loss of that privilege, to blame others, unexpectedly stung.”

What will he choose and what will be the consequences of those choices? Does he have the strength to make hard decisions? Will he always be plagued with self-doubt?

The first part of the novel is told in first person as if he’s writing to someone. I love the reveal of who he was relaying the events to. Next, it’s told in third person. I liked the switch. I think it works. Then it goes back to Sophos's point of view and then back to third person again. Turner is brilliant at keeping each novel fresh and interesting by offering different points of view.
So…now I wait for the next installments. I’m tempted to go back and reread The Thief. I admit I wasn’t that enthralled at the beginning of The Thief. However, near the end, I was hooked.

If I had to pick a favorite of the four I would have to say The Queen of Attolia is my favorite. However, A Conspiracy of Kings is growing on me the more I think about its themes of choice, destiny, and friendship. And of course, love.


  1. I loved the reveal of who he was writing to as well! :)

    And I have to say my re-read of THE THIEF after finishing the series was really fun. So much more going on there than you can possibly realize the first time.

  2. Angie--that's awesome. Can't wait to delve back in again. Don't you just love the end scenes between Sophos and Eddis? The love stories in these books are understated and subtle that it feels more profound, ya know? Turner is a genius. :)