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The Thief

(The Queen's Thief #1)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  52,832 Ratings  ·  6,154 Reviews
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly
Paperback, 279 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1996)
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Juny It's so good it doesn't need a love story in the first one
Sara It's a mixture. I'm pretty sure the author herself said on a note that she wasn't trying to replicate any myths in particular, but instead got bits…moreIt's a mixture. I'm pretty sure the author herself said on a note that she wasn't trying to replicate any myths in particular, but instead got bits and pieces from different cultures that resulted in the mixture you find here. Some elements might seem familiar because of that.(less)

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Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Oh, thank gods, I thought. They’re going to leave me. All I want to do was lie in a dry prickly grass with my feet in a ditch forever. I could be a convenient sort of milemarker, I thought. Get to the thief and you know you are halfway to Methana. Wherever Methana might be.

The Thief is a high fantasy with, like any other high fantasy on this planet, a journey the characters undertake. Gen, the main character was a pleasant surprise. While I first thought he was a feminine character, I was prov
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kristin Cashore
Update 6/2011. Let me just say, if you feel so-so about this book (like I did), please give its sequel - The Queen of Attolia - a try. It made me forever and ever a dedicated fan of the series.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, but I think I spoiled the experience for myself a little bit.

(view spoiler)
Emily May
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2011

My main reason for reading The Thief was so I could read the sequel - The Queen of Attolia - that I've heard is superb and far better than this first installment. I actually set myself up for quite an underwhelming experience with this book based on reviews and the fact that I'm not the biggest fan of more traditional fantasy with magical realms and such (I never could stand The Lord of the Rings). However, the story was interesting, the writing excellent and the protagonist was a witty, deviou
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
a summary of this book in 20 words or less:

first half - an obscenely long journey where literally nothing happens.
second half - item stolen and it all. kicks. off.

as you can tell from my quick summary, the second half of this book is where its at. if you manage to get through the most boring horse ride in fictional history, then you will be well rewarded. you will get prison escapes, hot pursuits, clever planning, and not to mention more gen. i really liked gen. my goodness, he was charming. he
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Gen is a thief. The story begins with him being rescued from prison by the King's Magus in order to help him steal an object of political power that is so historically obscure it is almost considered a myth.

So there's a lot I didn't enjoy here.

To begin with, this book is mostly composed of a very, very, very long travelling sequence. Now, I should take this opportunity to point out that I don't dislike journey stories. In fact, one of my all time favorite novels is The Lord of the Rings, which i
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Huh. I really, really liked this? True enough, I've decided to start The Thief in order to get to the sequels - that all my friends adore - and somehow I was at peace with the probable boredom I would feel during this first novel and... My enjoyment felt so effortless? From the characters to the world and the writing, I've been enchanted. Truly.

"I hate horses. I know people who think that they are noble, graceful animals, but regardless of what a horse looks like from a distance, never forge
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$1.99 Kindle sale, Jan. 22, 2018. One of my favorite YA series EVER, with just a touch of fantasy to it. Stick with it through at least the first three books and I promise you won't regret it. Avoid spoilers.

Review originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

Megan Whalen Turner’s award-winning 1996 YA fantasy The Thief, set in a fantasy world that has very strong echoes of ancient Greece, follows the adventures of Gen, the eponymous thief, as he is yanked from a filthy prison cell to go on a journe
Elise (TheBookishActress)
This felt like such a classic fantasy novel. You know those 2005-era books about journeys that you liked for some inexplicable reason? Yeah. That kind. Except with really good worldbuilding and a lot of potential built up.

This novel follows Gen, a thief hired by a magus of Sunis to find a stone that gives the holder the right for rulership of Eddis.
➽Sunis - the king’s county, attempting to take over Eddis
➽Eddis - the country across, a country they must overtake
➽Attolia - a country lying in betw
Nov 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another book my wife insisted that I read. It was our before-bed read aloud book last month.

Reading 10-15 pages a night, the first half of the book was enjoyable, but unfolded rather slowly. I was a bit puzzled about why my wife was so enthusiastic about the book. Then, about half way through, the excitement and tempo increased a few notches, and it become a real page-turner.

This is a fantasy novel, but it is not your typical swords and sorcery adventure. There are swords, and even a co
Iryna semi-hiatus (Book and Sword)
1.5/5 stars
Good riddance!!!

I must have read a different book than everybody else had because I cannot for the life of me comprehend how this book has won any literal awards.

As an avid fantasy reader I can tell you that this book is as close to a "riveting fantasy novel" as flour is to being a spice.
Why flour you ask?
Beuase it reminds me of this book - dry, bland and boring.

And I really tried to tie this book all of the chances I could. I wanted to dnf it after 30 pages, but:
1. I was told tha
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, it starts off slower than molasses. Yes, you will be perfectly misdirected by Ms Turner. Yes, you will wish to set it aside for these reasons.

And all I can say is, Don't. Persevere.

Because you absolutely need to read this book in order to get to the sequel, The Queen of Attolia, which is one of my fave books as well as having one of the best male protagonists of all time. Seriously, I love Gen to bits.

Read this series.
Cait • A Page with a View
I'm glad I heard that the sequels are better because I'm not sure I would've finished this otherwise. It's a decent high fantasy world with good writing, but the first half of the book is pretty slow. Gen basically gets out of prison, takes a bath, eats some oatmeal, and travels foreverrrr. The story also spends a lot of time establishing the gods... but it does pick up a bit by the end.

So it's kind of slow and not particularly engaging, but that doesn't matter too much since it's a short read!
Robin (Bridge Four)
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Kerry *Soulcaster*
Buddy read with some friends at Buddies Books and Baubles

I am a master of foolhardy plans, I thought. I have so much practice I consider them professional risks.

EVERYONE told me not to expect much from this book and to be patient. They said the beginning isn’t very good but the second half is pretty good and the next two books are amazing…so just hang in there. Well I found that to be true and false at the same time.

It is true the second half of this book is much more interesting, there is
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-interested
I can't say this book is bad but it isn't great either. Boring interactions and dull protagonist with the plot I couldn't care less about. Nothing even slightly exciting happens. The start reminds me a bit of "Throne of Glass" series and that's the only good thing about this book. I'm not even a big fan of Throne of Glass.

A thief named Gen got out from jail in order to help a Magus steal an ancient treasure. When the identity of the thief is finally revealed I was occasionally interested in the
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A thief sprung from jail to help a Magnus steal an ancient treasure, warring kingdoms, political intrigue, sword fights, narrow escapes,a mythology invented especially for this fictional place, and a quest--everything, it would seem, to keep me reading. So I am wondering why I so disliked this book that I had to force myself to keep reading to the end. I think I hit upon the answer spoken by one of Turner's characters near the last weary lap of the book: "Oh, fine," I told him...but I didn't rea ...more
Lois Bujold
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Lois by: e-mail correspondent years ago who loved it so much she mailed me a copy
Having dutifully tried a few new things to my lack of satisfaction this past week, I turned instead to an old favorite that I knew would be a pleasurable read. This is a book that re-repays a re-re-read, not only soon, but after finishing its sequels once they widen one's view of its world and characters.

There is not too much one can say about The Thief that is not a spoiler, and this is a book that should NOT be read with preconceptions. Set in an alternate fantasy world loosely inspired by Gre
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
2 Stars and a mini review because I am the worst

- Super straight forward writing style that was unbelievably boring
- Forgettable plot
- Forgettable characters
- An MC who doesn't take things seriously but also isn't funny

- The last three pages
- seriously they make it seem like this book was one really long prologue

*shrugs* 🤷🏻♀

Read with my split-soul, Mary! 💖
(I will tag when not on mobillleeee)
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Beanbag Love
What do you do when you want to gain possession of something that's nearly impossible to obtain? You hire a thief who can steal just about anything.

Gen has no disillusions about his abilities as a thief. He's actually named after the god of thieves, Eugenides, as a matter of fact. While his father wanted him to be a soldier, he knew that was not the life for him. Instead, he honed his skills at stealing, until he was one of the best in the land. Too bad he did a little too much bragging about st
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This book seemed promising but I ended up a bit underwhelmed.
I'm still planning on continuing the series since it apparently gets better!
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it

The second half of the book totally made up for the slow start. I am very intrigued by this series now
✨    jamieson   ✨
this is one of those books where I liked it, and then I didn't like it, and then I was gonna dnf it, and then I liked it again, and then I was bored again, and then all of a sudden I loved it Essentially, a really big rollercoaster of emotions. Overall coming out of this I do feel it was a positive experience hence a three star rather than two, but there was some close calls.

I started this because I LOVE thief stories. I will continue to keep reading stories about thieves and heists until the d
I'm giving up on this one. It's not BAD, just...excruciatingly BORING. To me, anyway. I found the main character obnoxious and all the other characters underdeveloped and uninteresting, and over half way through the book, nothing's really happened--they've started their journey, and then traveled, and traveled, and traveled, and traveled, and traveled, get the picture. I've heard really good things about this series, and maybe at some point in the future I'll give it another try. But I ...more
Well written story and enjoyable in a meandering way. I enjoyed the mythology woven into the story. Gen was an engaging unreliable narrator.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars
I enjoyed The Thief for the most part even though it took me a while to fully immerse myself in the story. There was never a sense or urgency and for the first 100 pages or so I was bored. So bored in fact I put it aside and read 4 other books in the meantime. Most of my friends here on GR say the series gets better and better with each book so I finally finished it in hopes that subsequent installments would be better. I am certainly glad I did because the last 80 pages of the story w
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Me : I need to stop with that obsession with The Queen's Thief series and Eugenides.
Also me : *downloads the first audiobook on Audible*

Really though, I had no idea that Steve West narrated this book! Is it reason enough to listen to this less than a week after having read the book? Absolutely.

My review of the novel : here
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Okay, so this was my third attempt at reading this book. But I finally did it!! I don’t know why I struggled so much the first two times, I mean the book is less than 300 pages. But for some reason I just couldn’t get into it before. I thought I’d give it one last attempt and I downloaded the audiobook to help me along, which was fantastic by the way.

Now you may look at my rating and assume that I didn’t much care for it. That’s not true, whilst it did have its problems I did actually really li
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: road trip!
This book was okay. On one hand, I can't deny that Megan Whalen Turner is a great writer. Her command of the English language, especially her rich descriptions of a pseudo-Greek landscape, is superb. On the other hand, I found the story very slow up until the very hasty end, and the ending felt a bit off.

I should have known to not let my expectations get out of hand. Reviewers did offer cautionary notes that the next book in the series, Queen of Attolia, was much better. From the book synopsis
Full Review Link

It is safe to say that I spend most of my free time reading. I read three to four books every week, sometimes more. I am very careful with what I choose to read which means that most of the books I read, I end up enjoying at least to some degree. But it is rare, extremely rare, to read a book that falls in that category of Books for Life. You know the ones: those that take over your heart and your mind, that even when you are reading you know that you are experiencing something u
Tara ☽
This was a great little adventure fantasy book that I really loved. It was short (coming up to about 280 pages) but the author managed to fill it with world building and mythology and history that I found so fascinating! I've heard that the later books in the series are even better by leaps and bounds, so I can't wait to get to them!

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to formally announce that I have found the new love of my life, and that is Gen. I'm a sucker for the trickster Aladdin-type thief
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Buddy read with Buddies Books & Baubles July 2015

Three stars feels a bit generous, but oh well. It was pretty good for what it was. I'll call it 2.5 rounded up.

I found the interweaving of Grecian names interesting, although the book could definitely have benefited from having a map in the front pages. Between Sounis, Eddis and Attolia I found myself getting a bit confused about what was where. I liked Gen's selfishness (reminded me of Meda from Cracked) and he just had a cool laid-back sort
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Megan Whalen Turner is the author of short stories and novels for children, teenagers and adults. She has won the LA Times Book Award for Young Adult LIterature, a Boston Globe/ Horn Book Honor and a Newbery Honor. She won the Mythopoeic Award and was shortlisted twice for the Andre Norton Award.

Other books in the series

The Queen's Thief (6 books)
  • The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)
  • The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3)
  • A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief, #4)
  • Thick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief, #5)
  • Return of the Thief (The Queen's Thief, #6)
“All I wanted to do was lie in the dry grass with my feet in a ditch forever. I could be a convenient sort of milemarker, I thought. Get to the thief and you know you're halfway to Methana.” 221 likes
“You learn something new everyday."
"What are you learning?" Sophos asked.
"To keep my mouth shut, I hope.”
More quotes…