Usually, I can't think of anything to say for any of the books on my favorites shelf, mostly because they leave me speechless. This iI love this book.
Usually, I can't think of anything to say for any of the books on my favorites shelf, mostly because they leave me speechless. This is no exception, but I'll give it a shot.
So. Each one of the installments in The Queen's Thief series revolves around a different theme; The Thief was an adventure, while its sequel, The Queen of Attolia, is about the politics of love and war.
The King of Attolia, however, is about hidden depths, and things that are not what they appear to be. It's also about loyalty and trust; specifically, how Eugenides, the former Thief of Eddis, earns the loyalty of the court of Attolia. It's a bumpy ride: with silly pranks, more serious conspiracies, gossip, hatred and prejudice at every turn, Eugenides has dug himself a hole too deep to manipulate his way out of. Or has he?
Gen is an amazingly complex character, who appears on the outside to be inept, foolish, and weak; an idiot who in every way is unfit to be king. He falls asleep in court meetings. He can't handle his own misbehaving attendants. He refuses to punish even the man who hit him in the jaw out of rage. The court calls him the "one-handed goatfoot who abducted the queen and stole her throne," because they know nothing about him. They don't know how wrong they are: he's a cunning chessmaster who knows exactly how to make them bow down, using careful planning, negotiations and mercy instead of his queen's preferred executions. In the course of time, Eugenides proves to each and every one of them what a king and warrior he can be.
But he doesn't narrate these revelations. The narrative of this novel is given to one of his personal subjects, a guardsman named Costis. I suspect this is a tool to let the readers see inside Eugenides and his wife Attolias' personal life while still giving them privacy, but it's all fine to me. As much as I love the romance of Gen and Irene,(view spoiler)[(Falling in love with someone who hates you, and staying in love even after she tortured you by cutting your hand off while you were only a boy? Or worse, falling in love with someone after you cut his hand off? If that doesn't make for a complicated relationship, I don't know what does.) (hide spoiler)]I know it's dancing on the line between young adult fiction and children's fiction to give us more than the few sweet kisses we get. I heard there's two more books upcoming after the fourth - titled A Conspiracy of Kings - and I hope to see more of this interesting and complex pair.
Megan Whalen Turner is very witty. Two or three re-reads of this book revealed hidden jokes, subtext, and meanings that I was clueless about the first time through. Even a short sentence might hide something that flies by at first glance. For example, take this sentence from a scene between Gen and the queen, in the queen's bedroom:
"I can't keep on apologizing," he said. "Why not?" she asked over his head. "Well," he said pensively, "I think you would be bored." It was vain to hope he might cease to have things to apologize for. "What happened?" she asked.
At first glance, the sentence doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Then you wrap your brain around it, and realize what she really means: It was unlikely that Eugenides was going to stop doing stupid things, which means that it's just as unlikely he'll stop having stupid things to apologize for. (But, of course, Attolia can always hope.)
I'm really sad this book only has that many reviews. It sorely deserves more attention.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
At the end of Poison Study, Yelena left Ixia, where she had grown up and discovered her magical abilities, to her recently discovered birthplace, SitiAt the end of Poison Study, Yelena left Ixia, where she had grown up and discovered her magical abilities, to her recently discovered birthplace, Sitia. Magic Study picks up where she left off, en route to the Zaltana Clan in the jungles of Sitia. Unfortunately, this does not go as Yelena expected. She is alienated in her birthplace by the fact that she had been living with the hated northerners her whole life, her jealous brother, and a rogue magician who has just emerged and is out to get her. Magic Study is a wonderful fantasy weaved in with adventure and suspense.
Having said that, ooon to the criticisms! I liked this book, but I still have a lot of qualms...
I like making lists, so here's a list of things that bothered me:
1. I noticed the onslaught of ideas in Magic Study that have already been used in Poison Study. Over and over again. Maria. V. Snyder seems to have a fondness for magical, male villains who rape and torture girls, escapes from bad guys using magic, impulsive rule-breaking antics, and not to mention that Yelena was kidnapped at least three times in this book. I sincerely hope Snyder decides to get creative in her later books, because I love fantasy and it's hard to find something truly original.
2. She also seems to have the idea that Sex = Love & Romance. The effect was actually the opposite. Whenever Yelena met Valek and they had some spare time together, they didn't take the opportunity to talk to each other and catch up where they had left off. No, but guess what they did instead, what that caused their "romance" to feel as plastic as the water bottle that sits on my desk right now? Not only that, but I thought Valek was acting completely out-of-character, even knowing he was in love with Yelena, which caused him to act differently. Valek is now content to be Yelena's sidekick instead of her partner.
3. I had the impression that this series took place in a medieval-esque time period. It could be that between the lack of later technology, the presence of medieval weapons, the dress of the characters, torture instruments and the monarchy in Sitia, I was brought to believe that this series takes place in the medieval times? Well, until I heard the characters talking like my friends at high school. ("Hey!" "Great dinner, my ass!" "Sounds like fun,")
4. Has there ever been a greater Mary Sue in YA fiction other than Yelena (or Bella Swan?) Yelena fails to even seem flawed. She's intelligent, beautiful, brave, gifted with rare magical powers, and to date, how many handsome men have fallen in love with her that hated her at first? If anyone can name a flaw in her character that is not meant to be endearing, I will take all of that back. Yelena has also started acting on these crazy impulses that she hasn't even given a moment's thought to. She panics even after the thousandeth time she has been in the same situation.
5. Maria V. Snyder speaks of emotions as if they are tangible objects that are capable of being held in your hand. During the course of the book, sentences such as "Apprehension gripped my chest," "Fear plunged into my heart like a dagger," and "His name sent waves of anger into my body," were used way too much. Not only does this lose its effect after the first few hundred times it is used, it also made me feel distant from Yelena and her feelings. They didn't feel genuine to me at all.
6. I didn't like the rushed pacing of the plot. I could have kept interest in the book even if there had not been minor surprises, ambushes, etc. at ever turn. There was just too much cluttering of fillers and minor events that the plot could have progressed on finely without.
I think that's enough ranting for now. Overall, I loved Magic Study, but there were so many aspects that could have been changed to make it better. This Goodreader is not gonna read Fire Study -the sequel- if Maria V. Snyder's Repeat Button is still being pressed. Not looking forward to a slightly-different twin read-alike of this book....more
I love it when karma bares its ugly teeth in the world of stories. Not so much in real life. I like it more when it's obvious that it really was charaI love it when karma bares its ugly teeth in the world of stories. Not so much in real life. I like it more when it's obvious that it really was characters' own fault, not the author's twiddling with the plot.
This is one of those books that is famous enough that a review from someone like me will disappear into the dust, so I'll leave the real reviewing to the real reviewers. I have to admit, most of the book's attraction for me after the midway point was the character of Atticus-he is almost the polar opposite of my own dad, who contradicts me and then laughs at me when I explain the danger of Beijing flooding due to global warming. And while Atticus's strong sense of justice has its ups and downs for his children, I'd be happy nevertheless, focussing on the assets.
I fell asleep during the first few chapters. Especially when I read the first page, and it seemed so, how do I say this, American. Football. Southern towns. And while I have nothing against Americans, it gets aggravating when pretty much every single book you read takes place in a setting unfamiliar to you. So I fell asleep partly because of that, and partly because the atmosphere is sleepy and quiet and the first half of the book basically chronicles the 'adventures' of a small-town girl half my age with a bookish father.
I kept going, because, well, I had to. Somewhere along the road someone decided that the study of this particular book had to be implanted in every. Ninth-grade. English. Course. Then things got more interesting: I soaked in every single word of the trial of Tom Robinson-will not go into details for fear of spoilers-and what proceeded it was absolutely unexpected, (or maybe not so much, considering how utterly realistic Harper Lee gets), which makes it expected for me. In well-written books, I must expect the unexpected. What happened after that only intensifies the ethical struggle when the town is split into two sides: those who believe in equal rights and those who take on the infamous attitude of the south. What is obvious to us these days never reached the thoughts of most of the jury, the Maycomb residents.
One qualm, I think, is the role of Dill in this story. His character seemed to have no greater purpose in the plot than sparking Scout's curiosity and acting as a friend to her and Jem. He was an interesting character and I would've liked to see him adopt a greater role.
The writing itself is amazing-Lee has a major talent for narrating.
Also the slightly abrubt ending seems to rest uneasily with the other reviewers on this site. I'm wondering if Harper Lee simply wanted to end it there, or if it was because she couldn't think of a way to wrap it up. Probably the former.
A/N: Other people have mentioned their non-appreciation of this book when they were in high school, apparantly because they were in high school. I suddenly realize there must be something very, very, wrong with me......more