Fantasy

Review: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Seriously, why isn’t everyone reading this series? Why did it take me so long to discover it? I think Megan Whalen Turner is becoming one of my favourite authors now, ranking near Diana Wynne Jones. In this third installment of her Queen’s Thief books, Eugenides is the King of Attolia (which is kind of a spoiler for the second book, but I don’t see how I could NOT mention it, sorry). Trapped by conventions of court life and hating the attention everyone was giving him, not to mention being seriously homesick for his country, Eugenides faces a different kind of problem – almost everyone in the Attolian court hates him and thinks that he shouldn’t be king. His attendants play pranks on him, and his Guard mocks him behind his back.

This installment is also written in third person, although Turner distances Eugenides from the reader further by telling the story from the point of view of Costis, a young member of his Guard. It works well because now Eugenides is married and by using Costis as the narrator it gives him more privacy, and by telling it from the point of view of someone who has yet to know him, you get to see the extent of Eugenides’s genius. Readers familiar with The Thief and The Queen of Attolia already know that Eugenides will surprise everyone in the end. But told from the point of view of a clueless guard who thinks that Eugenides is oafish and cowardly and an idiot, well. It’s fun to see how Costis gets surprised by Eugenides over and over again, and how his opinion of his king slowly changes. It’s fun to see how Eugenides pretends to be so inept and how Costis starts to suspect that he really was tricking everyone from the start.

Reading this series was like reading the Chrestomanci novels (Diana Wynne Jones) for the first time, not because the stories are similar, but because the *gasp!* *amazing!* *I love this!* response was. And I’ve fallen for Eugenides the same way I loved Cat and Christopher Chant. The problem is, the three books so far were published so far apart from each other – The Thief in 1996,The Queen of Attolia four years later in 2000, The King of Attolia SIX YEARS LATER in 2006. The next installment, A Conspiracy of Kings, will be out in 2010 and will be about Sophos, the heir of Sounis. Another reason Turner distances the reader from Eugenides more with each book, I guess. It’s great that I’ll get to read the next book next year, having got into this series so late and all, but if there’s a fifth book and I’ll have to wait 4-6 years for it, I don’t know what I’ll do. I really admire the readers who have been following this since The Thief!

~ originally posted on blogspot

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