Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

When his small, mountainous country goes to war with the powerful nation of Attolia, Eugenides the thief is faced with his greatest challenge. He must steal a man, he must steal a queen, and he must steal peace.

But his greatest triumph – as well as his greatest loss – can only come if he succeeds in capturing something the Queen of Attolia may have sacrificed long ago.

Authors take note: this is how you write a sequel. What makes this series so successful is that Whalen-Turner’s writing style has evolved and matured along with her characters. I think it was smart on her part to move to third person point of view for this novel, instead of the first person she employed for The Thief. Though this sacrifices the intimacy we have with Eugenides’ thoughts, it allows for easier success in keeping the suspense of the novel and it allows us to hear from other characters, such as the Queen of Attolia herself.

Be forewarned that this is a darker book than the last. Eugenides is going through an extremely difficult time in his life and is working to rediscover his purpose, so there is a marked damper in the spirit and wit he expressed freely in The Thief. Hang in there, though, because as soon as Eugenides hits his stride again, readers will never know what to expect from him.

It was also a pleasure to see events play out from each of the Queens in this book. I enjoyed the sarcastic, but loving interaction between Eugenides and the Queen of Eddis that was hinted at in The Thief – it really comes to life in this book. I loved the juxtaposition of Eddis and Attolia;  we get to see how the widely differing circumstances of their reign resulted in their drastically different personalites and approaches to ruling their countries.

There is a twist at the end that readers may believe has come out of left field (those of you who have read this book before know what I am refering to). I felt the same way somewhat after my first reading, but it certainly didn’t seem that odd to me the second time around. Whalen-Turner uses spare language, so detail counts. She also isn’t one to lead readers by the hand to the right conclusion; these are books where you have to pay attention and do a bit of reading in between the lines. Keep these things in mind as you are reading and you probably won’t be thrown off-guard by this event.

This book is an excellent transition between The Thief and The King of Attolia, and is sure to please anyone who enjoyed the first book in this series.

Happy reading, and stay tuned for the review of The King of Attolia, to be posted shortly.

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2009 by in Action/Adventure, Young Adult Fiction and tagged , , , .
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