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The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
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The King of Attolia (2006)

by Megan Whalen Turner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Queen's Thief (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,364785,625 (4.45)153
  1. 50
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (mak_mohn)
  2. 10
    The Empty Kingdom by Elizabeth Wein (Maid_Marian)
  3. 00
    The Lymond Chronicles, Books 1-6 by Dorothy Dunnett (themulhern)
    themulhern: The books in the series have the same kind of arc. Lymond is small, irritating, and astonishing, just like Eugenides. And he has a tortured relationship with his one true love, just like Eugenides. The Lymond chronicles are for a more mature audience and are much better written, but the similarities are inescapable.… (more)
  4. 00
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Perhaps not as much of a master of wit as Gen is but certainly full of the same tense action-packed yet humorous style we all know and love
  5. 00
    Mistwood by Leah Cypess (cattwing)
    cattwing: I thought I'd never find a book worthy of comparing to anything with the Thief in it, but I think I finally have. If you enjoyed Turner's complex intrigues and plot twists, you may enjoy Mistwood as well.
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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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 |
(Originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com.)

We’re back for some more of Eugendides’ hi-jinks and even more fantasy political drama. After the shake-up with narrative style that came with the previous book (going from a first person narrative from Gen’s perspective in the first book, to a third person POV with multiple characters in the second), I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. How can an author keep her main character so tricky when readers are on to the cons after two books? Well, without spoiling it, Whalen Turner is definitely up to the task!

Our story starts with poor Gen exactly where he never wanted to be: ruling a country. Further, he’s now the King in a land ruled by a clear-headed, hard-handed Queen who rules over a land that was often at odds with his own native Eddis. I very much enjoyed the exploration of this relationship. This is by no means the happy, fluffy, “ever after” story that one is used to seeing after a royal wedding. Gen and Attolia have a complicated relationship, both in regards to their own rather, ahem, strife-ridden history, but also due to the aforementioned political power posturing that comes with a foreigner gaining a position of authority in a new land. Attolia is not the easiest woman to understand, as is made clear in the last book. And Gen plays his own thoughts and feelings close, for all that he seems so lackadaisical about everything. The exploration of this relationship was excellent.

Further, while the third person POV style was kept for this book, we are introduced to a new character, Costis, a guard in Attolia’s court. Costis is our eyes and ears representing both the feelings of many in the land of Attolia after Gen’s ascension to the throne, but also the necessary fop to be conned by Gen’s playacting. And while it is, of course, immensely enjoyable watching Costis’s eyes be opened to the true genius that is Gen, I continue to be impressed by how effectively Whalen Turner can still con the reader, as well. From the last two books, it is clear that Gen is the type of character who would chafe under the restrictions of royal life. This being the case, even I had a hard time knowing what was or was not an act on his part.

Other than Gen’s struggles at court, the larger plot of this story deals with the continued political turmoil going on in this region between the three main power houses: Attolia, Eddis, and the often-aggressive, Sunnis. Between this and the corruption in Attolia’s own court, the book’s plot is mainly political strategy and lighter on the action than both previous books (though after the action-packed “The Thief,” the previous book’s action was also much lighter). With this, the third in the series, it increasingly feels as if the first book stood alone in many ways, both in style, tone, and the type of story it was telling. These last two books seem represent the true direction that Whalen Turner is wanting to take this series. While I very much enjoyed “The Thief,” I’m loving these last two. If you’re looking for a series that doesn’t fall into any of the tropes or familiar storylines that are often present in fantasy series, definitely check out this series! ( )
  thelibraryladies | Feb 4, 2017 |
ugh what a minefield of feels. ( )
  Siransi | Jan 13, 2017 |
Caution: Spoilers for previous books in the series

Book Three, The King of Attolia, is told from an entirely different point of view from previous books, that of Costis Ormentiedes. Costis is in the Queen’s Guard, and like many others in service to the palace, thought of Eugenides as “a jumped-up barbarian goatfoot who abducted the Queen of Attolia and forced her to accept you as a husband and you have no right to be king…” As this third book begins, Costis has impulsively punched the new king in the jaw, and expects to be executed. Instead, the King comes to him and makes him a part of his own guard.

Costis is not the only guard member who has been acting out dislike for the new king. Eugenides has endured sand in his food, snakes in his bed, ink stains on his clothes, and other little acts of aggression from guard members. Once, hunting dogs were even released into the courtyard as he passed through. Repeatedly though, Gen pretended not to notice.

But Gen is no one’s fool, and there is always a reason behind what he does and does not do. In the course of this story, his motives become clear, as the Court finally figures out that he is a worthy King indeed.

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 |
Great Book!

I love the way the story builds. Since I read the prior books I know there is much ore to Eugenides than what Costis sees. But what is Eugenides up to? ( )
  nx74defiant | Aug 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Megan Whalen Turnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Natale, VinceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stengel, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This book is dedicated with gratitude to Elizabeth Cretti. Without her tireless effort, it could not have been written.
First words
The queen waited.
Quotations
"Will you serve me and my god?...Then come out knowing that you'll never die of a fall unless the god himself drops you."
"I could hang you," she said. Eugenides looked up at her. "You missed your chance for that," he said.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060835796, Paperback)

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Eugenides, still known as a Thief of Eddis, faces palace intrigue and assassins as he strives to prove himself both to the people of Attolia and to his new bride, their queen.

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