Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Book Review: The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1)

Release Date: October 1, 1996
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Length: 279 pages
Source: Audible Audiobook

Nothing is overdone and not a word is out of place in this auspicious debut," wrote Kirkus in a starred review of Instead of Three Wishes, the first book by Megan Whalen Turner. Her second book more than fulfills that promise.

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Megan Whalen Turner weaves Gen's stories and Gen's story together with style and verve in a novel that is filled with intrigue, adventure, and surprise.



Protagonist: Once claiming to be a thief who can steal anything Gen is now rotting in prison in Sounis when the King's magus comes to retrieve him for a mission where he could gain fame and fortune or a knife in the back. Joining Gen and the magus on their journey are the magus's apprentices Sophos and Ambiades, as well as a soldier and bodyguard named Pol. On this journey, Gen often butts heads with his companions, but along the adventure, he proves to be a capable and cunning thief. I love that Gen's flaws don't come from his profession, something that has been established he excels at, instead, his faults come in his pride and, like most fantasy heroes, his stubbornness. Over the course of the story, I loved seeing Gen come out of his shell as well as learn more about where his true motives lie.

World Building: My favorite thing about this story is that throughout their journey the magus and Gen trade stories about the gods of this world, gods that are very obviously inspired by the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods. The stories are a joy to behold in this tale, while I was a little anxious as I wasn't sure if the stories would be based on Greek and Roman myths or if the stories would be brand new, while most of the stories are original there are of course bits and pieces that are pulled from Greek myths. The stories in this book deal mostly with the creation of the world as well as tales relating to a specific god and the item that our group seeks. There isn't a whole lot of development of this world in the story beyond setting up the three kingdoms that we see, however, there are five more books in this series so there's a whole lot more to explore in the future. As for any romance in this story, well, there isn't any, however, I did think that Gen and one of his traveling companions had slow-burning romance, but by the time the story was over, I realized just how wrong I was.

Predictability: This story isn't particularly long and while there are a fair number of twists, I felt like the characters pointing said twists out in the book lessened some of that gut punch that a good twist will give you. For most of the story, I had a vague idea of where everything was headed but was stumped on how it would end, which we'll get to in a second, the end had the most twists and turns and it was during the cooldown period where I was the most blown away with how everything ended up.

Ending: The final climax of this story is excellent. As the story winds to close things get crazy as our group of adventurers and treasure seekers find themselves in a few sticky situations and they are forced to navigate their way out. I don't want to say too much but there is at least one action scene and there may have been a plethora of emotions unleashed on me as this story not only overcame the final climax but came to a close during the "cooldown" period, I put cooldown in quotes because there are plenty of twists during this point and they didn't exactly cool down the story. The story doesn't end with a cliffhanger, and in fact, you could probably read this as a standalone if you didn't enjoy it, but for me, I can't wait to explore more of this world and the mythology the pulled me in in the first place.


I loved this story and the only thing I feel I can complain about is that it's too short, but again, there are more books and more to explore and when I can I'll be diving right back in!


1 comment:

  1. I just bought this! This is so weird/cooincidence. It sounds amazing.