Dawn's Reviews > A Conspiracy of Kings

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
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Jul 02, 10

Read in June, 2010, read count: 2 and 1/2

Minor spoilers, you can choose whether or not to keep reading--

After a number of years, this story is a welcome addition to The Thief series. I wasn't sure I would like not having Gen as the main character, but Sophos is very interesting. I really enjoyed seeing how his character developed. My favorite part of the book was when he was a slave on Hanaktos' estate. The political and military machinations were also fascinating, as in Turner's other books. The Greek-ish culture is always interesting to me. And, as always, the discussion of the gods and their reality is great.

Turner is a very good writer. This is the next book I read aloud with my husband after the last Fablehaven book. He kept exclaiming how much better her writing is than Mull's. Mull is a fun author, but Turner is quality. She is also a subtle writer and likes to withhold information from the reader until all is revealed at the end. I would recommend rereading the rest of the series first, if you haven't read it for a long time. There are many references to the past story which the reader will not get unless she remembers details from the earlier books. I thought a few parts were too obscure even so. I read this book first, then reread parts of it, then reread the whole thing with my husband. And still we had to discuss page 310 for 20 minutes before we thought we had a reasonable hypothesis of what she means! What do my friends think? I'd enjoy your comments.

Sadly, I was a bit disappointed in Gen. At one point, a character wonders if Gen will become more like Attolia or she more like him. I'd have to say that he has become more like her. I really wanted to like him, but I didn't most of the time. I wish the author hadn't done that, though I can understand why in some ways. I have never emotionally understood how Gen can love a woman who cut off his hand, and she doesn't improve much in this book, either. They do what they must in order to achieve important ends, but I wish we could see their humanity more. Good thing we have Sophos to focus on in this book!

I was also frustrated by the scene with Eddis near the end when she storms off toward her rooms. It seems out of character. Eddis has been portrayed as kind and wise, but then she gets in a tiff because Sounis mis-speaks? She knows that Sounis is new to kingship and new to love, so why not be a little patient, understand his motivations, and merely remind him that she is sovereign? He would have understood quickly enough. The way it is written provides dramatic tension, I suppose, but it's out of character in my opinion.

So those are my criticisms, but they are small compared to my enjoyment of the book as a whole. This book needed to be written to complete the story. Plus there are some great scenes like the Baron's Meet! I also thought the switching of narration between first and third person was clever. Actually the first person narrative annoyed me at first, but when Turner reveals why, it's an "a-ha moment." It is all very good. I definitely recommend it.
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Wendy Thanks for your thoughtful, thorough review. I'm disappointed about Gen in advance, but I definitely agree about the quality of Turner's writing. I do want to read A Conspiracy of Kings when I can (waiting on the library...). Besides, I have to find out about page 310! :)


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