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The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
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The Queen of Attolia (2000)

by Megan Whalen Turner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Queen's Thief (2)

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1,535854,784 (4.25)1 / 177
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Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
Ohmygosh, I love this series so much. So. Much. ( )
  scaifea | Jun 18, 2017 |
It’s easy to find something to say about a thing you hated, because usually you hated one particular thing or another. It’s also easy to talk about things you liked, because you usually liked one particular thing or another.

I’ve always found it hard to say something about things that I truly, deeply love. Things that have no faults in my mind. Things that don’t have a favorite part, because the whole thing is my favorite part. My favorite books are always the ones I have the least words for, and it never ceases to frustrate me.

But, having finished the four books that are currently out, and having found a new favorite series and author in the process, I felt I needed to say something.

This review covers my thoughts on every book in the series, because for some strange reason that felt like the right way to do this, even though that’s not something I’ve ever seen anyone do before. I’ve been sure to include spoiler tags though, so don’t worry.

The Thief (4.5/5)

The first book is a cute little fantasy story about a thief and an artifact as old as the gods themselves that he’s tasked with stealing in order to gain his freedom after he’s caught bragging about a royal seal he stole right from under a king’s nose.

It draws heavily on Greek mythology and culture, and the setting is directly inspired by Greece, as said by the author herself. It’s an interesting aesthetic that you don’t see a lot in fantasy. It also has a great plot twist at the end that makes you rethink everything you’ve just read.


The Queen of Attolia (5/5)

In book two Megan changes it up. Instead of a first person narration from the point of view of our thief, Gen, it’s switched to third person. This was a smart move, because the second book is deeper and wider than the previous. Focusing on complex political situations between the three countries introduced in the first book and a potential invader from outside their borders.

This results in multiple viewpoint characters such as the queens of Attolia and Eddis, and all are equally interesting. The main character, Gen, suffers the loss of his dominant hand early on and it takes him a while to work through, but his character arc is both magnificent and enthralling. He basically accepts his handicap and the fact that there’s always going to be certain things he can’t do, but realizes that his mind is his greatest asset, and so goes from, “I can steal anything” to, “I can plan anything” and becomes a general and tactician without compare. In the end he comes up with a plan to steal the queen of Attolia herself, right out from under the noses of her guards in her own Megaron. So freaking cool.

In order to provide political stability and stave off the threat of the Mede, Gen gains the queen of Attolia’s hand in marriage, creating an alliance between Atollia and Eddis. He does this first through cunning, then through honest, heartfelt love. It’s a romance that’s unique, complex, and doesn’t feel tacked on as so many romance subplots in books often can.


The King of Attolia (5/5) (Personal Favorite)

I think the thing I like the most about this series is how each book continues Gen’s story, but doesn’t repeat it. The second book completely switches the point of view it’s told in, because that was the only way it could work. That’s how different it was. While the third book isn’t quite that different, it does feel almost like a different genre. Gone is Gen’s angst and military strategies. Instead we get courtroom conspiracies and assassination attempts as a kingdom rejects its new king and the king strains against his new responsibilities, all the while fixing the country’s biggest political issues the only way he knows how—by being clever, ruthless, and a better liar than everyone else.

The most interesting thing about this book is that we, as readers, are mostly viewing events from the point of view of a guard named Costis. Early on he punches Eugenides in the face in a moment of anger and rather than executing him, Gen makes him one of his personal guard.

Costis, of course, doesn’t know that Gen and Attolia really love each other. He doesn’t know Gen isn’t as incompetent (quite the opposite, in fact) as he appears, or that he’s fixing Attolia’s corrupt government in his own, secret way. He finds out slowly, just like us, and the way his view of the king changes over the course of the book is fascinating.

One of my favorite things in fiction is when somebody is underestimated, and then that moment when the person who did the underestimating sees how wrong they truly were. That happens constantly in this book, as Costis and the rest of the Attolians get small glimspes behind the mask of an incompetent, flippant king that they despise and see the real man underneath—the cunning, ruthless, former Queen’s Thief of Eddis. The man who can steal anything, even a queen and a country. Even political stability. Even the hearts and minds of a people who hated him since his first day on the throne.


A Conspiracy of Kings (4/5)

Remember Sophos? That timid kid that joined Gen for his first adventure with the Magus, way back in book one? Yeah, I kind of forgot about him too, seeing as how he made no appearances past the first book, but Megan wanted to make sure we didn’t forget about him for too long. He is the heir to Sounis, after all, which is I guess kind of important.

This book is more similar to the first book in the series in both story and structure than the previous two books were. It’s back to first-person perspective instead of third (technically three small portions of the book at the beginning, middle, and end are written in third), as we, the readers, as well as Gen are told Sophos’ story from his own lips (you may remember some off-hand comments about him disappearing during the last book The King of Attolia. Well now you get to know exactly what happened, starting with his kidnapping, the death of his entire family, and a beating to the face so bad it permanently disfigures him. Yay?).

Unfortunately Sophos is not as interesting as Gen, and I found the beginning of the story (which deals with his kidnap, escape, and time serving as a slave) to be pretty boring. About a hundred pages in things finally start to pick up and from then on it becomes a pretty good book. The first-person switches to third when we catch up to Sophos in the palace of Attolia as he tries to get Gen to agree to help him take back his country. Unfortunately Gen isn’t as helpful as he expected, and he makes him pledge his loyalty to Attolia. But nonetheless he does give him some soldiers, some advice, and sends him on his way. The book then switches back to first-person from Sophos’ perspective again and becomes mostly a military strategy book as Sophos recounts how he managed to win the loyalty of his barons and drive back an army of ten thousand Medes. It was pretty cool, if a bit too drawn out and technical for my taste.

In the end Sophos marries Eddis, thus joining the three countries together so that they can finally be united against a potential Mede invasion (which will probably happen since Sophos shot a Mede ambassador).

All in all it was a solid book. My only major problem with it was that Sophos wasn’t as interesting as Gen, so writing a book from his first-person perspective was, in my opinion, a poor choice. The switches between first and third person were a little jarring as well, and I found myself wishing the entire book was written in third, because that’s what Megan is best at, regardless of who the point of view character is. Ultimately though its worst problem is that it was a follow-up to two flawless, amazing books.

( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
The saga centers on Eugenides, or Gen, named after The God of Thieves. Indeed, he has been trained, and has trained himself, to steal anything and everything in service to his cousin Helen, Queen of Eddis. Eddis is one of neighboring countries frequently at war, including Sounis, Attolia, and the Medean Empire. The countries surround a sea, much like the world would have been near the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times. Gen often helps Eddis realize their political aims (his father, it should be noted, is the Minister of War), but as The Queen of Attolia begins, it is the Queen of Attolia who "steals" Eugenides by having him captured.

Irene, the Queen of Attolia is beautiful, but keeps a rigid countenance at all times, and her emotions at bay. She cannot show fear or revulsion or weakness; she felt she needed a stone-faced mask to rule.:

“Surrounded by people who hated or feared her, she trusted no one and told herself that she didn’t need to.”

How heart-breaking it is when she shares her thoughts about love!

Something then very bad happens to Gen, something that makes him question his gods, but it seems the gods have long-range plans for him that unfortunately included some suffering, and ironically add a welcome and touching note of reality to this fantasy.

The book ends though on a charming note.

Evaluation: This is a terrific series. For those who fear the steep learning curve of many fantasies, these books won’t put you off at all. Most of the complexity is in the characterization and relationships. The writing and pacing are excellent, and there are plenty of twists that aren’t “artificial” but rather reflect the ongoing political machinations of the actors. Female characters tend to be stronger than the males, but the males won’t disappoint you. The romances are some of the most nuanced and realistic you’ll find in YA books. Prepare to have your heart stolen! ( )
  nbmars | Aug 28, 2016 |
I didn't like the Thief very much. It was kinda boring, not very original, etc. This book came as a very pleasant surprise, and I agree with all the people who say the Thief was just an introduction for the real books.
This book has it all. Humour. High stakes. War. A strong female protagonist (or two). Friendship. Romance, with a few scenes that made me bury my head in my pillow, but still well-managed and very satisfactory.
Definitely read this, everyone. And if you really can't stand The Thief, then for goodness' sake just skip it and read this one. It might be a tad confusing, but you'll catch on quickly enough to how things go.

EDIT 5/5/13
I just finished re-reading it for the first time (besides reliving a few favorite scenes from time to time) and I still enjoy reading it. Some of the longer explanations may be a little excessive, but certain scenes are very fun to read in hindsight, especially ones with a certain person. *wink* ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
This is insanely good. The craft with which this is written is just unbelievable. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
Fantasy succeeds to the extent that it creates a deep, totalizing world, one that invites us to suspend disbelief. For the most part, Megan Whalen Turner succeeds in ''The Queen of Attolia,'' the sequel to her Newbery Honor book, ''The Thief.'' ... ''The Queen of Attolia'' is a book to turn children into readers -- bound, one hopes, for richer fare.
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Megan Whalen Turnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Natale, VinceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stengel, ChristopherDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Susan Hirschman
First words
He was asleep, but woke at the sound of the key turning in the lock.
Quotations
"Nahuseresh, if there is one thing a woman understands, it is the nature of gifts. They are bribes when threats do not avail."
"Steal peace, Eugenides. Steal me some time."
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Someone slid a tray of food through the slot in the bottom of the cell door. "I heard she was going to hang you but she changed her mind." said the keeper. "Don't worry, lad, she never changes it for the better."

Rotting in an Attolian prison, the Thief awaits his fate. For Eugenides has taunted the Queen of Attolia one time too many, and now he must pay.

Has the Thief's chaotic reign been cut short, or is there one more thing Eugenides can steal - this time for himself?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060841826, Paperback)

In the firelit torture chamber the executioner's sword descends--and the Eugenides--the Thief of Eddis--no longer has his clever right hand. The Queen of Attolia sits calmly and watches the dreadful amputation behind her carefully cultivated mask of coldness, but later agonizes over what she has done to him. At the same time, she rages at herself for not hanging her captured prisoner outright.

Readers who first met Eugenides as the rascally teenager Gen in the Newbery Honor-winning The Thief will find that in this sequel he deepens through suffering and loss, but keeps the same witty talent for elaborate, crafty schemes of espionage and theft. Caught between two rival queens in a landscape based on that which surrounds the Mediterranean Sea, Eugenides is loyal to Eddis as her Queen's Thief, but in love (despite himself) with the beautiful and seemingly ruthless Attolia. In her small mountain country, Eddis controls the only bridge between the valley nation of Sounis and the coastal kingdom of Attolia, while all three are threatened by the ships of the powerful Medes. As the web of intrigue and shifting allegiances expands, and war is imminent, the Queen's Thief risks everything on an audacious and cunning military strategy to bring the two queens together--and to steal Attolia for himself. This remarkable fantasy, with its appealing characters, emotional intensity, witty dialogue, and inventive plot, will have teen fans panting for more. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:32 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Forsaken by the gods and left to his own devices, Eugenides, Royal Thief of Eddis, summons all his wit and wiles in an attempt to conquer the rival Queen of Attolia.

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