Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm like the last person on earth...but...

People kept talking about The King of Attolia. Before it even came out it was a huge deal in the circles I run in. Everyone was mad excited. Then it was published, and people read it and endlessly extolled its virtues. Maybe it's just the listservs I'm on...

Anyway, when we turned the Cybils short-list in at the end of December, I was ready for a serious genre binge. I had been reading realistic fiction until my eyes bleed for over two months (which, hey, don't get me wrong, I totally loved. I just needed something a little different). First I read Life as We Knew It, then, needing another world, I thought I'd find out what all the fuss was about. Three books in a lauded fantasy trilogy? Just the thing.

Eugenides is famous for his thievery, but his pride and boasting that he "can steal anything" gets him shackled in jail. Eventually, the King figures out a way to use Gen and promises him his freedom if he steals one last item.

The Thief is very clever. The plot is a meticulous adventure, but really, since it won a Newbery Honor back in 1997, I hardly need to sing it's praises. Gen's voice is charming and impish and I was at a complete loss; I couldn't help but totally fall for the character. He was flawed and made roads to fix some of those flaws.


Ah, the formidable, frightening, forceful Queen of Attolia. A truly worthy opponent to the too-smart-for-his-own-good Eugenides. Showing off, Gen gets caught by Attolia and pays a very dear price for the Queen's revenge. War starts between Eddis and Attolia with Gen in the very center. I missed Gen's first person voice, but it was very compelling to read the point of view of the other characters. This was much larger in scope than the previous novel and the multiple points of view served it better. Again, the highest of standards.


This was NOT the book I thought it would be. I was anticipating war, fighting and intrigue. Instead I get psychology and introspection, doubt and fear. Which is why Megan Whalen Turner is an awesome author and I'm happily doing what I'm doing. It wouldn't have been as true to character for Gen to go from Thief to the King of Attolia without any stumble or adjustment. There is still scheming and spying (also known as intrigue), but the focus is on how poorly Gen is taking to his new role. It's character driven and wonderful to have watched Gen and the rest of the cast grow in a realistic manner. These people seemed real as they struggled with their lives.

Am I alone in thinking that Turner left the door open for another title in the series?

5 comments:

Erin said...

These books are genius.

Which was your favorite of the three? Mine was The Queen of Attolia.

Jackie said...

Wow. That's such a hard question as they are each so different. I think that I may agree with you - I kept missing Eddis' voice in the third. But then, the first was plotted so darn well. And I did really like our guard (what was his name?) in the third....

Liz B said...

I adore these books; Gen is my book boyfriend.

I love how on reread one discovers so much more; I love how while I can guess some of what is happening, I can never figure out the whole durn thing.

I think each book stands alone; are better when read together; and gosh golly, there better be more!!

Barb said...

I love this series. The King of Attolia is my favorite, but I don't think it can stand alone. We need the first 2 to love the 3rd.

Leah said...

Turner is actually working on a fourth book in the series, but she really takes her time so I'm not expecting it for the next couple years.

I really loved this series. Since Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, good fantasy finds are few and far between.