The Queen of Attolia takes place in the imagined kingdoms of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis, set in an area similar to our world's Mediterranean. The acti...moreThe Queen of Attolia takes place in the imagined kingdoms of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis, set in an area similar to our world's Mediterranean. The action takes place not long after the events of The Thief. Although there is relative quiet between the three kingdoms at the novel's start, there isn't real peace, and a more powerful neighbor, Mede, is trying to form an alliance with Attolia. The rulers of the kingdoms are unchanged, and once again, Eugenides, the thief, is somewhere that he isn't supposed to be.
I loved loved loved this book. Unlike The Thief, The Queen of Attolia is action-packed from page one. In fact, one of the biggest events of the story takes place within the first thirty pages, and the consequences of that event play out over this book and the next one.
This book fits a lot of locations and characters into 360 pages. Many favorite characters from The Thief return, and characters that were only briefly seen in that book have much larger roles. We learn more about Gen and how he came to be the Thief, and about the queen of Attolia. The focus in this book is on events between Eddis and Attolia, both the countries and the queens, and, of course, our hero Eugenides.
Megan Whalen Turner does a hard thing in these books, and it's part of what makes them so great. Eugenides is a trickster, a thief, and part of the charm in these stories is that the reader, even a very careful reader, never quite knows what is going on. Often this can leave a character unknowable emotionally, but that's not the case with Gen. He might continue to be three steps ahead of everyone, and he might tell a lot of lies, but that never keeps the reader apart from him; it is Gen who is at the emotional heart of these novels.
I could rave about this book endlessly, but that would reveal too many of Gen's secrets, and I wouldn't want to spoil them for anyone. This series should be on everyone's must-read list. It really is one of the best. (less)
**spoiler alert** Spoilers for books 1 and (especially) 2, not for this book.
I'm tempted to say that this series just gets better and better, but that...more**spoiler alert** Spoilers for books 1 and (especially) 2, not for this book.
I'm tempted to say that this series just gets better and better, but that's not really true. The three books in this series that I've read so far are all excellent. Perhaps what makes them seem to get better is that my love for these characters and for this world only grows the more that I read.
Another thing that sets this series apart from others is that the books are very different from each other. Megan Whalen Turner is not afraid to change things up, and while that isn't always comfortable for the reader, it definitely pays off in the end.
The King of Attolia begins soon after the events of The Queen of Attolia, only instead of opening with Eugenides or Attolia or even Eddis, the story opens with a new character, Costis. Costis is a solider, a rising star who has just sabotaged his career and possibly his life by punching the new king of Attolia. He can't explain why he did it, only that the new king isn't acting kingly enough, and it offended him.
The new king, of course, is Eugenides, the Thief of the previous two novels. As everyone who knows him well is quick to point out, Eugenides is stuck in a trap of his own making: he wanted (and stole) Attolia because he loved the queen, but marrying her means that he must become the king, something that he never wanted.
Although fans of the earlier books might be put off that the story is told so much from Costis's perspective, this is a smart decision by the author. There are two main story arcs in this novel: Eugnides's reluctance to be king, and refusal by Attolia (the country not the queen) to accept Eugenides as their king. The character of Costis allows the reader to see Eugenides as the Attolians do. We might know that he's smarter than he appears, but they don't. And since Eugenides doesn't really want to be king, we're never sure what his motivation is, or what goal it is that he's trying to reach. Does he want what is best for Attolia (the country) or is he just entertaining himself because he loves Attolia (the queen)?
I also really like that this is a complicated book. You have to read closely and carefully to know what is going on, and I'm pretty sure that when I reread the series (as I will surely do), I'll catch things that I missed this time through. Clues are carefully planted throughout, and careful readers are rewarded with a-ha moments. The series also deepens as it goes on, and all the characters are continuing to deal with the events of the previous book. The king and queen may love each other, but Turner doesn't gloss over how hard it is for both of them to get past their common history.
This is a great installment in a not-to-be-missed series. I can't wait to read book four. (less)