Thursday, January 20, 2011

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

So here's the thing. I'm in love. Serious, serious love. I'm not talking about the love for my husband sitting next to me watching Firefly (sidenote: also love Nathan Fillion), whom I happen to adore, but oh my word I am in love with this Queen's Thief series. To me it has everything I love in a book--intrigue, plot twists, kings, queens, love, cleverness, brilliant writing, etc. The list could go on and on.

One thing this series has going for it is its amazingly complex characters, namely Euginides/Gen/the Thief, and now the King of Attolia. He's witty, smart, an excellent liar(not that I'm condoning such behavior ;), a skilled swordsman (which given his circumstances is quite amazing), and a risk taker.

However, about a hundred pages into the book I started to worry about Eugenides. He wasn't acting like himself. Then I got to this passage and realized I wasn't the only one who thought so.

"Ornon had the great respect for the Thief of Eddis, much the way he respected the business edge of a sword. He wondered how the Attolians thought Eugenides had managed to become king if he was the idiot they assumed him to be. Perhaps because they had never seen him as the Thief, with his head thrown back and a glint in his eye that made the hair on the back of a man's neck rise up. The Attolians had only seen this new and uncomfortable king. Ornon himself wondered what had become of the Thief. Ornon had seen no sign of that character in Eugenides since the wedding."

Ah, but remember--Gen is a brilliant trickster and something is definitely going down. But here's the brilliant part--you really don't know what that is until the end. Turner truly is the master of showing and not telling. And you don't even realize she's been showing you clues or has she? I don't remember! That's why this series has serious re-read appeal.

The King of Attolia brings out themes of loyalty and compassion. Even for those who betray their loyalties there is compassion and even a chance for redemption. Just wait til you get to the part with the King in a cell with someone who's betrayed the queen--it's not what you'd expect and the irony of it all...just so dang brilliant!

The story is told through the point of view of a new character to the series named Costis. He gets into some serious trouble at the beginning of this novel. He's quite certain he's a gonner, but his unexpected promotion allows us to peek into Gen's reluctant role as King as well as an opportunity to learn about what it means to get a second chance.

As much as I loved this book, I did have one complaint. I sorely missed the Queen of Attolia. She still has a presence in this installment and an important one, but I wanted even more. And I wanted more scenes of her and Eugenides together. Ms. Turner can we please get the Queen her own series? Three or four books oughta do it.

I picked up A Conspiracy of Kings from the library yesterday. So excited. Plus, I just read somewhere that there will be two more books in this series. Score.

This is a world in which I've happily immersed myself. It's time for you to do the same!

1 comment:

  1. I really need to check out this series. I'm not sure I had even heard of it! Thanks for the recommendation :)