I’ve never even heard of Megan Whalen Turner and her Queen’s Thief series until I was visiting my brother’s family in Singapore. Both my sister-in-law and my brother were reading it, and my brother said that he liked it more than the Percy Jackson books. I didn’t believe him – I figured that it’s probably as good as Percy Jackson, but it was personal taste that made him like the Queen’s Thief books more. Percy Jackson is about greek mythology, and the Queen’s Thief books are sort of historical, and focuses more on court intrigue. I asked my brother if there’s mythology in it, since he compared it to Percy, but he said no, which led me to think that I probably won’t like it as much.
I was so wrong! The first book, The Thief, was really intriguing. I almost immediately loved Gen/Eugenides, the thief who ended up in the Sounis King’s prison because of his bragging. The Magus, and his apprentices Sophos and Ambiades are likable, too, even though I disliked them the first time they appeared. I appreciated the fact that the characters kind of grow on me, especially the Magus – I intensely disliked him on the start, but as I read on I began to understand him more and actually ended up liking him a lot. Since the story is told in first-person narrative from Gen’s point-of-view, it also showed how Gen first hated him, and ended up respecting him.
The writing is good; Megan Whalen Turner doesn’t use fancy or poetic turns of phrases, but the simplicity worked. The conversations between characters are engaging and funny. And despite what my brother told me, this book does include mythology – not Greek or any existing myth, but the mythology of the world created by Turner, which I find very fascinating. During the characters’ travels the Magus and Gen take turns telling stories (“Earth’s Creation and the Birth of the Gods”, “The Birth of Eugenides, the God of Thieves”, “Eugenides and the Sky God’s Thunderbolts”, etc.), all of which resemble Greek myth and is a great way to learn about the gods in Turner’s world.
My brother compared it to Percy Jackson, but it really reminded me more of a darker (but just as funny) The Hobbit than anything else. A lot of the story involves the journey to the temple where a jewel called Hamiathes’ Gift was to be found, and through Gen’s observations as well as the way the characters interact you get to learn about the party (Gen, the Magus, Ambiades, Sophos and Pol), and the three countries where this story is set (Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia).
There are a lot of stuff I’m leaving out in this post, but the thing is I think I can write on and on about this title and yet really the only thing that’s in my mind is, 1. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS RIGHT AWAY! and 2. I REALLY WANT TO RE-READ THIS NOW.
“As he dabbled his toes in the water, Ambiades looked over at the magus and
Sophos, who were already stepping out of the stream, finished with their quick
wash. His eyes narrowed, and the hair on the back of my neck started to rise.
I’ve seen envy before, and I know the damage it can do.” – page 113, The
Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Bookshelves of Doom
~ originally posted on blogspot