Angie's Reviews > The Thief

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
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's review
Feb 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: belovedbookshelf, ya
Read in February, 2009

This book has been sitting on my shelf for several (we won't go into how many exactly) years. I even *gasp* had both sequels sitting on the shelf next to it. And in the interest of full disclosure, I even started The Thief a couple of years ago, got 25 pages in, and stopped. For reasons I no longer recall. The fault, whatever it was, was clearly mine because this book is the beginning of something truly special. I completely understand why it won the Newbery Honor and am very glad it did.

Gen is a thief, and a rather boastful one at that. Claiming he can steal anything, Gen succeeds in making off with the King of Sounis' seal only to brag about it to the wrong man and get himself thrown in the King's prison indefinitely. Along comes the Magus, the King's senior advisor, who pulls Gen out of prison and sets him an impossible task. Journey to a hidden temple, steal a mythical artifact, and turn it over to the King. On pain of death. A long, slow, excruciating death. Not being a fool, Gen agrees to the terms and sets out on the journey accompanied by the Magus, his two apprentices Sophos and Ambiades (or as Gen likes to refer to them: Useless the Younger and Useless the Elder), and the inimical soldier Pol.

And thus begins the adventure. Set in a world that is not quite ancient Greece but looks very much like it, it is a story that builds up slowly, but surely and I won't say that I didn't wonder once or twice if it was ever going to get where it was going. But hindsight is 20/20 and I can see now just how methodically and craftily Megan Whalen Turner leads you down the primrose path into thinking it's a simple story about a simple thief. It's remarkable, really. Because the whole thing does build up into one humdinger of a climax and by the time you realize what's happened there's nothing left to do but doff you hat to the irrepressible Gen for he completely wins the day and the reader as well. Nothing in this story is what it seems and that is possibly Turner's greatest strength. She (and her Thief) have the ability to take on any guise and pull off any ruse in order to achieve the desired result. In this case, it was my unadulterated adoration and I gave it up without even a hint of regret. The Thief, for the two of you who haven't yet fallen victim to this wonderful series, is the first of three books in the Queen's Thief series. Word is Ms. Turner is at work on the fourth as we speak. Thank the gods.
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Quotes Angie Liked

Megan Whalen Turner
“Dying would have been so much easier.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The Thief

Megan Whalen Turner
“And the Earth had no name. The gods know themselves and have no need of names. It is man who names all things, even gods.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The Thief

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Snow Oh, I'm so glad you liked this one. I hadn't read it because the hardcover art was so very, very, very bad. I picked it up when I was working on reading a bunch of the Newberys and Newbery Honors, but even then I wasn't excited. I had a half-hour before I needed to leave for work, so I told myself just to sit down and read for that half-hour to start to get through the book. I looked up from the page an HOUR and a half later and my boss found my reason for being late very amusing!! (Thank goodness I was working in a library!) Such an amazing series!

Angie Snow, I am in deep, deep love with this series. And it completely bashed me over the head, just like you described. That's a hilarious story, btw. You're lucky to work in a library!

Danielle I adore these books as well. I'm really glad you liked it :)

And that IS a hilarious story! :D

Angie I'm still all giddy over them, Danielle. I love the new cover art, too. My copy of The Thief is the old paperback one and it's just not good. I now need the entire series in matching lovely covers.

Snow Oh, yes, much love for the new cover. The original covers were an excellent example of what NOT to do. The new ones are so eye-catching and give delicious hints at the plot. Love, love, love.

message 6: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz ok, I'm sold and desperately looking for a new book....good timing. Yay, the library had all three! Can't wait.

Angie Liz, you are in for a treat. Like I said, push on through the beginning of the first one. The payoff in 2 and 3 is so exquisitely awesome.

Danielle The cover art is so much better, I totally agree. And yes they are delicious hints ;)

Have you read the next two as well?

Angie Yep. Just finished KING last night. *sob*

Michelle Love, love, love this series! So glad you enjoyed them as well. :)

Angie I cannot wait for the fourth book, Michelle. I'm so glad there's going to be one!

Danielle Oh my gosh yes, I was practically in tears at the ending. It's so sweet, so dramatic, so perfectly amazing. I really think this author is my absolute favorite as far as creating such an intensely wonderful plot. The fourth one... She's taking her own sweet time writing it but if that means it will be as amazing as tQoA and tKoA I am more than willing to wait! :D

Angie I was floored by her subtlety. And I thought the same thing. It is SO long in between each of her books, but if this is the quality she produces then she can take as much time as she needs!

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