Catie's Reviews > A Conspiracy of Kings

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
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Apr 16, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011, series, ya, fantasy
Read from April 12 to 16, 2011

After attempting to organize my thoughts about this book for about an hour and making no progress at all, I decided to throw in the towel and go to bed. Of course, once I got there and lay down, my brain would just not shut up about what it wants to write about this book (Oh, so now you’re talking, eh? Bastard.). So, I am giving in. This better not be a fake-out, brain.

I am so consistently surprised and impressed by this series as it progresses. A Conspiracy of Kings is definitely a favorite, second only to The Queen of Attolia.

Sophos is first introduced in The Thief, where he is a young and somewhat guileless student of the Magus of Sounis. He grudgingly reveals that he is the heir of Sounis, but it’s clear that he much prefers a scholarly life of poetry and philosophy. He is a place-holder heir, maneuvered into the position by his scheming father, and waiting to be replaced by his uncle’s first born. When he shows no talent for leadership, he is banished to live with his mother and sisters and a string of unwanted tutors. In The King of Attolia, it is revealed that he has been abducted and is possibly dead. This book begins with that abduction, and follows Sophos through all of the twists of fate, moral dilemmas, and hard choices that will lead him to be a King.

I have seen some lament the absence of Eugenides in this book, but to me he is still palpable. I can feel his grief and conflict so strongly, as he is once again required to make a performance for the benefit of all. I love the few tender moments where we get to witness the affection between Eugenides and Attolia. I don’t know how Megan Whalen Turner does it, but she has managed to create two of my favorite literary romances, within the span of only a few pages out of about a thousand. At nearly the end of this book I was thinking, “I guess there’s not very much romance in this one.” Then, bam, I get to page 303 and suddenly I love this relationship. What she has created, that is so incredibly spectacular, are two couples that consist of absolute equals. It sounds so simple, but I rarely see romance with partners coming together on such equal footing. One of my favorite parts of this book is when Eugenides realizes that if he ever falls out of favor with his wife, no amount of planning could ever save him from her wrath. For some weird reason, that seems very romantic to me.

Megan Whalen Turner once again uses differing points of view to great effect. In The Queen of Attolia we were distanced from Eugenides and the Queen by a third person point of view and even more so in The King of Attolia, where we followed a minor character with a third person point of view. This perspective so deftly captures the natures of Eugenides and Attolia: they are hidden and calculating, and what we can’t see is just as important as what we can. With Eugenides, his public persona is so often a charade. In this book, a first person point of view is used primarily, except for small sections in the middle and the end (when Eugenides and the Queen are involved…). Sophos is incapable of lying convincingly and he has high, noble ideals. This perspective fits his character so perfectly, as he uses plain truth and his own real emotions to maneuver around his enemies (and I love the little "reveal" on page 132).

I love the moral dilemmas and questions posed by this book. Sophos learns about what kind of leader he wants to be, and he has a grand vision, but his country is strained by feuding and betrayal, encouraged by the former King. I didn’t expect the choice that Sophos eventually makes, and it was intense. There is a lot to think about here – about what is morally right, and what is required, and that eventual peace sometimes necessitates violence. I love this quote from Eddis:

”We are not philosophers; we are sovereigns. The rules that govern our behavior are not the rules for other men, and our honor, I think, is a different thing entirely, difficult for anyone but the historians and the gods to judge.”

All I can say is that I have grown very attached to these characters, and I am sad to have to say goodbye to them, for what will probably be quite some time. I hope that Megan Whalen Turner eventually explores the Medeans more thoroughly, as she has done with all of the previous villains. I think that I can trust that she will not leave them to be simplistic, black enemies.
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Quotes Catie Liked

Megan Whalen Turner
“We are not philosophers, we are sovereigns. The rules that govern our behavior are not the rules for other men, and our honor, I think, is a different thing entirely, difficult for anyone but the historians and the gods to judge.”
Megan Whalen Turner, A Conspiracy of Kings


Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Becca Rofl! Write again in the morning dear. I'm anxious to see your thoughts.

P.S. I heart Sophos as well.


message 2: by Flannery (new)

Flannery I want to read this review but I can't because I haven't read the other ones and I don't want to spoil anything. But I read the beginning and reviews always come to you once you get all ready for bed and lie down:)


Catie Don't sweat it, Flannery :) I try not to read reviews before I read a book either (although sometimes I cheat). I'm really glad someone convinced me to keep going in this series, because they just get better and better, IMO. That always happens to me - I'm struggling to write something, and then I'll go off and try to focus on something else (or sleep) and all of a sudden I get all of these ideas and I can't shut it off until I write them down.

Thanks for the encouragement, Becca :) I <3 Sophos 4ever, haha.


Katy This is an excellent review, thoughtful and insightful. Excellent job!


Catie Thank you!


Juliana Hi Catie, I just finished reading this book and I absolutely agree with your review. Your words are exactly my thought. :)

I love the few tender moments where we get to witness the affection between Eugenides and Attolia. I don’t know how Megan Whalen Turner does it, but she has managed to create two of my favorite literary romances, within the span of only a few pages out of about a thousand.
THIS! They are my most favorites too. My goodness. Don't you just love them both? Aah.. When will book 5 be released? I want it now. :D


Catie Thanks, Juliana. I really hope we get to see a new book soon!


Katherine I totally agree!


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