Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~'s Reviews > The Thief

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2-star, audiobook, year-2018

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 is, at its core, a massive journey.

The problem with this book is that nothing even remotely interesting happens while our characters are travelling. Somehow a relatively short 280 pages ends up feeling more like 2800 pages while trudging through scene after scene of riding on horses, campfire chatting, and bickering.

It was over halfway through the book before I really distinguished between all the side characters that weren't the Magus. And of course I had the unfortunate experience of accidentally imagining the Magus as Governor Ratcliffe, aka this guy:


So yea. That was.. not the book's fault but it was certainly interesting.

Anyway, once I finally had a firm handle on who everyone was, I realized they're mostly stereotypical in nature. Angry, masculine rival. Soft, young apprentice who isn't good with a sword. Tough, stoic guardian. Eh.

I suppose it's important to remember that this was published in 1996, and so these stereotypes were probably a lot less abundant at that time. This definitely doesn't read like a modern Young Adult book, but this doesn't change the fact that my experience with these now is no more welcome than it would be reading a book published more recently.

The dynamic between the characters is even confusing for me. I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel about Gen or the Magus because their statements & actions are just a slew of contradictions.

One minute they're all messing around, joking, the next characters are threatening other characters with actual, physical violence. One minute Gen is at the complete mercy of the Magus, the next the Magus is allowing Gen to contradict his mythology stories without reprieve.

Gen even points out the Magus' inconsistency so honestly, I'm just now sure how I'm supposed to view these characters.

Speaking of mythology, this book spends a lot of time exploring mythological characters of the realm & telling their stories, and much less time than I would've liked expanding the world. These sections of the book come off very info-dumpy, and I could feel myself zoning out whenever they would pop up.

Honestly, I can only think of one scene where I chuckled near the beginning of this boring trudge of a book. Otherwise, I spent most of the time hoping it would be over soon.

Relieved to finally make it to the end of this story, I was planning to stick it with a 1 star & forget about it. But then something interesting happened.

The twist at the end practically flips this story on its head, contradicting everything you may have thought about it up to this point. It's almost a brand new story which is the ONLY REASON I am considering continuing the series.

I'm not 100% sure I agree with a twist like the one presented here. I'm not clear how it works, to be honest. It seems contradictory on many levels, but I'll definitely give it points for originality.

This twist brought the book's rating up a bit for me. It doesn't make up for how hard the rest of the of it is to get through. 2 stars it will have to be, but I'm kind of excited to see where the story goes from here because it feels like a fresh beginning.

Read this with the gorgeous miss Kaylin!
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Reading Progress

April 3, 2018 – Started Reading
April 3, 2018 – Shelved
April 4, 2018 –
30.0% "Ayyyyyyy that info dump tho"
April 9, 2018 –
60.0% "My god this is SO. FUCKING. BORING. -__-"
April 11, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 22, 2018 – Shelved as: 2-star
April 22, 2018 – Shelved as: audiobook
April 22, 2018 – Shelved as: year-2018

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

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message 1: by R (new) - rated it 2 stars

R K oh god this was a pain to get through

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Nooooooo D: omg

Sunny ✨wordslikefury✨ I understand why people dislike the first book. But in my opinion, it’s the weakest of the series. After the first book it’s amazing!

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Damn I feel like I've been starting a lot of YA books in this vein with a terrible first book & progressively better sequels 😩

Taylor I actually have an unpopular opinion when it comes to this book: I really liked it! I personally found it to be very charming :)

Sunny ✨wordslikefury✨ It’s just that sometimes this book can get too descriptive lol. Even for things as simple as eating and traveling. But Turner doesn’t do that as much in the sequels. Which is why people like the latter books better.

Sunny ✨wordslikefury✨ Taylor wrote: "I actually have an unpopular opinion when it comes to this book: I really liked it! I personally found it to be very charming :)"

I liked it as well! Gen was so witty I loved him.

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Thank you for the opinions my friends! I hope that I end up falling on the side of liking it myself! 🤗

message 9: by idiffer (new) - added it

idiffer I started with the second book bc of the reviews for this one. nothing lost.

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Was the 2nd one worth reading?

message 11: by idiffer (new) - added it

idiffer sort of. I had my gripes, but there's lots of praise for it too. The MC was smart and... sneaky)

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Hmmmmmmm I think I will definitely give the series another chance! The very end of this one had an interesting twist.

message 13: by kazually ♡ (new) - added it

kazually ♡ I remember wanting to read this last year and never doing it lmao

message 14: by Angie (new)

Angie I DNF this one

message 15: by L A i N E Y (new) - added it

L A i N E Y Awwh I kinda have wanted to read this just because I want to read the second book - heard so much about that one. Too bad you didn’t enjoy this much Mary. What made it boring to you anyway? The adventure or the characters or writing?

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Kaz honestly you aren't missing much I can't speak for the rest of the series but this one was so boring my god

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Don't blame you Angie!

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Lainey I'll post a full review soon but the short of it is the plot & characters both contributed to my feelings of boredom. However the book did something a little interesting there at the last second and so I'll be reading the second one just to see if I actually does get better or if it's more of the same!

Iryna *Book and Sword* Agree with 99% boring, and unfortunately I guessed the "big twist" so for me this was a 100% boring :) People keep saying that the second one is very good, so I might read it, also I took a look at it and the 2nd one is written in third person, which is a weird switch from the first book, but hey maybe it will work out:)

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Iryna I actually take issue with how the twist was presented - it doesn't make a lot of sense with the 1st Person perspective if you ask me. I'm not generally good at guessing things anyway, and the twist is what caught my attention and makes me want to read the second one, but a book shouldn't take 99% to become interesting so I definitely couldn't justify a higher rating here.

message 21: by Megan (new) - rated it 1 star

Megan I completely agree with what you said in the comments above about 1st person POV making it hard to pick the twist, Mary. Lol, even that didn't do anything to redeem it for me and I was kind of like "Seriously?!? You WHAT, mate??" but more in the i-can't-believe-you-tried-to-pull-this-shit-to-save-your-crap-novel and watching-algae-grow-is-more-interesting kind of way. XD

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ MEGAN 🙌🏽 HAHAHAHA I AM DYING 😂 I know like it's weird because the fact that the twist shifted the whole story's focus is what made my ears perk up there at the last second but I agree it was sort of too little too late for it to totally redeem this boring ass story. I'm not even sure what was done in this case makes SENSE with a 1st Person POV but it is what it is lol. Your comment made my night 😂💕

Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen) I'm literally so curious about the very very ending now. This is the only thing inspiring me to finish 😂

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Kaylin (Hiatus) wrote: "I'm literally so curious about the very very ending now. This is the only thing inspiring me to finish 😂"

Lol Kaylin honestly like. I could see it not impressing someone but I was just so "WTF" when I read what was going on here it feels like the rest of the series might promise a WHOLE DIFFERENT kind of story from what we read here & I'm like??? AM I INTERESTED IN THAT STORY? lol

message 25: by Haïfa (new)

Haïfa Terrific review love! I missed reading them T_T but I'm steadily, if slowly, catching up!
Interesting how the ending was a game-changer... to an extent!

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Awh thank you love! Haha no worries Haifa take your time sweet! 💕

Jenna This is exactly how I felt reading it! Then I read some of the professional review clips in the back of the book and just could. Not. Understand. Tantalizing? Suspenseful? Clever? HOW? DID WE READ THE SAME BOOK? Thanks for validating my reading experience haha

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Awh you're welcome Jenna! Thanks for the sweet words! I know this was so damn weird and boring I swear I'm shocked it's so popular!

message 29: by Lara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lara I remember this being so boring but all my friends told me to press on and I ended up loving the rest of the series. This one was super tedious and it kinda failed as a first book lol but I do think it gets better!

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Lara I do believe I'm gonna read at least one more book in this series before giving up but it's almost entirely because of how the very end turned this story into a different story? I was like whoa lol

message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura Well this clearly wasn't your cup of tea but it was mine. Partly because I love the history and mythology of Greece which indirectly inspired this. As to the male characters I found them more archetypal than stereotypical. I've read so many YA novels where the male leads are nothing more than stuffed shirts for girls to drool over that this was kind of refreshing. That you wanted Gen to be gay suggests to me your assumptions about gay men more than anything else.

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Laura I genuinely don’t know what you’re talking about with me wanting Gen to be gay I don’t see myself mentioning that sentiment anywhere but tbh I want a lot of characters to be gay so *shrugs* glad you enjoyed it

message 33: by R (new) - rated it 2 stars

R K This book. It was so short but I struggled to get past each page! I don’t even know why!

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ I know the feeling R it was so ridiculously slow!

message 35: by Felicia (new)

Felicia Uh oh 😕 honest review though 💖

Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Felicia wrote: "Uh oh 😕 honest review though 💖"

Thank you Felicia! I wanted to love this I truly did! <3

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