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The Thief

(The Queen's Thief #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  57,967 ratings  ·  6,746 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, 280 pages
Published December 27th 2005 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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3.89  · 
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 ·  57,967 ratings  ·  6,746 reviews

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Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kristin Cashore
Update 12/29/2018
Clearly I can never get tired of Megan Whalen Turner’s stories and Gen’s refreshing petulance.

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)
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it

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
Emily May
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
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 *Book and Sword*
Feb 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
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
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.
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Robin (Bridge Four)
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Lois Bujold
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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!
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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)
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Natalie Monroe
I started this in the cold winter of 2017 and finished it in the harsh political climate of Trump and Brexit in February 2019. Everyone says the sequels are superb, which is the only reason I pushed on. But boy, was it tedious. 80% of it is traveling and Gen whinging about wanting three meals a day. Despite all the footwork though, I don't have a good handle on this fictional world or its culture.

Here's to The Queen of Attolia stepping up its game.
Sunny ✨wordslikefury✨
The Thief deserves more stars than I am giving it. It’s a wonderful and captivating story about a thief who is freed from prison to steal something only heard of in a fairy tale for the king. This task is basically the road to his freedom. So what choice does he have but to take the offer? It’s either this…or spend his days in prison in suffering and torture.

Our protagonist, Gen, is so full of wits. I found his personalty to be the best part of the story. From his sarcastic comments to his brood
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
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
tw: violence, death of a parent (in the past), near-drowning, death.

This felt like two entirely different books. The first half was SO BORING, but then at the half way point things finally pick up, but it wasn't enough for me to really get into it. This just wasn't my cup of tea unfortunately. :(
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
This is a very high end 3 star rating. Like the Gucci of 3 stars. This book laid out such an interesting foundation to the story and I know it can only get better from here. (which is why I bought the rest of the series.. oops)
Rachel Reads Ravenously
The first 150 pages out of 270 was them walking around and sometimes eating. What. The. Heck. I love me some fantasy but I need a dang plot.. Have zero interest in these characters or where this series is going. Why is it so dang hard to find a good book to read???
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written story and enjoyable in a meandering way. I enjoyed the mythology woven into the story. Gen was an engaging unreliable narrator.
This has been on my TBR for over 2 years. Thank god I finally found time to dive into this series!

The Thief is the first book of The Queen's Thief series. In it, you will meet Gen. Now he's a skilled thief and he can get himself in and out of anything. Well, not prison. However, the details about that situation aren't necessary because he has been chosen for a mission by the King himself. He has to go get a secret, but special, treasure and bring it back.

Now at this point, I'm thinking about so
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 227 likes
“You learn something new everyday."
"What are you learning?" Sophos asked.
"To keep my mouth shut, I hope.”
More quotes…