Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review: The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief #3)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Greenwillow Books
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides (yoo-JEN-ə-deez) 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.


This is a spoilery review. Read at your own risk!

Review:

Some time ago, I read Jennifer Nielsen's The False Prince. If you've read my review of that, then you'd know that my love for thieves started with this series. After reading The False Prince, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a strong feeling of longing for my favorite thief, Eugenides, so I immediately grabbed my copy of Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia and read them to my heart's content. And, oh lords, I loved these two when I first read them last year, but after the second read, I was madly, deeply and very, very much in love with them. And no, it didn't stop at the second read. I've read both four times now and I'm still rereading my favorite scenes from both books. I was surprised to discover things that I didn't notice on the first read, and on the second read, and on the third. The more I read, the more I understood and the more I enjoyed it.

In The Thief and Queen of Attolia, we witnessed Gen's superb ability to deceive and manipulate his opponents without them realizing it, so it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that his intelligence is in abundance in this book too, but oh Gen, you just never cease to amaze me. The King of Attolia is told in third person from the point of view mostly of one of the Queen's guards, Costis. The book starts a little while after Queen of Attolia, after Gen and Irene's wedding. I admit I was against Turner's choice of character POV the first time I read this. But as the story progressed, we get to see the transformation of Costis's perception toward Eugenides from disgust to utmost respect and trust. As the story progressed, I also learned to like Costis. In fact, it's actually hard not to like the guy. Those who've read the previous books know how deceiving and dangerous Gen can be, but almost all of the palace people, including Costis, don't know this and only know Gen as the goatfoot foreigner who stole their Queen. Gen is not also the type of person to prove other's ideas of him as wrong. Instead of acting like a decent King, he indulges people's perception of him. So it was only natural that people would think of him as the worthless person he'd always pretended to be. And whatever preconceived notions Costis had for Eugenides was pretty much justified.

This lacks a great deal of romance, but I can tell you that what little romance this has is as sweet as the sweetest romance you can think of. I am totally in love with Gen and Irene's relationship and the subtlety made it so frustrating (in a good way) for me. In spite that, The King of Attolia is a genuine work of art or a work of literature whichever your prefer to call it. The plot is solid, exhilarating, cleverly inventive and very much surprising, the writing is enthralling and the characters are the incarnation of awesome. After reading this, all other books suddenly paled in comparison. I actually got stuck for a week in this series because I kept rereading the books because after this, no other book had held my attention for more than a minute as I kept thinking back to the events in Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia. I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I looooooove thieves! (the fictional ones). And if I admired The False Prince, this book, I worship it. The moment I finished The King of Attolia, I wanted to build Gen a statue or a temple and then start a religion called Eugenidism. Who wants to join?

Rating: 

5/5 stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

(with gabajillions of exclamation points !!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

18 comments:

  1. AAAAA! This book sounds AMAZING, Chel! But I've never heard of it before. Maybe mainly because it's historical fiction and I rarely read them even though I know some that I really enjoyed! I definitely need to check out the first book in the series ;)

    Awesome review, Chel! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Celine, it IS awesome! I'm not surprised that many people haven't read this yet. It has a small circle of fans on LJ but even if the members are quite few, they are very active and passionate.

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  2. Why hello fellow MWT fan! I adored this book. The first one was just OK in my book but I loved Queen's and King's.. The audio versions are to die for.

    (isamlq)

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    1. Hey, you! Did you know I've dubbed you the "reading machine"? Lol.

      The first book was my least favorite too but it was still good. I'm not a fan of audiobooks, but I will definitely try some time.

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  3. Like you, I've always been interested in thieves! I feel like they have such big stories to tell and have such depth of character. I think the first book has been in my tbr shelf for a while now... maybe I should move it up ;)

    Great review, Chel!

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    1. Gellie, I am unabashedly demanding that you show me this thief-loving side of you.

      Yes, yes, please do that. I'll be waiting for your review.

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  4. You've read them both 4 times Chel? Well done you! That is super high praise for this series, as any book that inspires that kind of dedicated rereading is one I absolutely cannot miss out on. It's so much to find those books that will forever be favorites, ones you can go to when you're having a bad day and just read a few scenes and instantly feel better. Can't wait to try these!

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    1. Very well said, Jenny. That's why I feel so strongly about this book. Sometimes, I wish I haven't read this series yet so that when I get to read it, I'd feel that awesome feel again when I first read it.

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  5. I actually re-read very few books. When I have so many to get through, it's difficult to keep going back to old ones. Only when I really love a book series (like Harry Potter, for instance), do I re-read for pleasure and not just because I have forgotten parts. I think the fact that you've read these books so many times is telling me how great they are! I will need to try them asap. Brilliant review, Chel!

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    1. IKR! There's so many books to read and rereading them is like a waste of time, but it also makes you happy that it doesn't feel like waste of time at all.

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  6. Hee, I can tell how much you liked these books from the fact that you can easily re-read them SO many times! I haven't read much about them but you have convinced me that they are worth my time!

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    1. Ah lol you got me. I've scheduled another reread next year, actually. And maybe I'll listen to the audiobooks too. :)

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  7. Lol, I'll join! I love this series but still need to read A Conspiracy of Kings. I borrowed that from the library when I was first reading the series but my hold expired :(

    You can't help but feel sorry for poor Costis. He had no idea what he was getting into with Eugenides!

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    1. I bought Conspiracy months ago. I've skimmed it so many times but I can't bring myself to read the whole book. I think I just don't like Sounis. :(

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  8. *raises hand* ME! I'LL JOIN! :D I loveeed King of Attolia and I'm so glad you did too, Chel! :) It was my favorite of the series and like you said, the snippets of romance were so frustrating in the best way possible. I just loved this and I'm thrilled to see you enjoyed it so much too! :D

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    1. Yay! Another member! Maybe we should talk about writing His gospel now too. :)

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  9. I'll join too! And then I'll join Yatoism, too!!

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  10. Irene and Gen were so cute in this!! I was a little worried at the end of Queen, though I loved their banter but it wasn't too romantic ( or different than when they weren't engaged...though I loved the part were \gen proposes to have a mistress and Irene gets a little jealous

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