At the back of Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore has a list of books that she recommends. Naturally, I want to read all of them. One was The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. Turner is an amazing writer and I’m so glad I found this series! I wasn’t even that bothered that I read them out of order (which would normally drive me crazy).
Eugenides, or Gen for short, is the Queen’s thief. The Queen of Eddis, that is. He can steal anything – at least, he has been able to in the past – and he can get into any locked, guarded room in the neighbouring kindoms’ palaces to spy for his queen. When he finds himself in the dungeons of Attolia, and angers the Queen of Attolia, he finds that his life will never be the same again. But a greater threat to all three kingdoms – Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis – is bearing down, and each kingdom will have to make sacrifices if all three are to survive the threat of the Medes. Strong, arrogant, and sure of their supremacy, the Medes want to take over the three kingdoms for their own. Eugenides must help his Queen to protect Eddis, without angering the gods and while learning to accept his new fate and looking out for his own heart at the same time.
This book, and indeed the whole series, is so cleverly written I was blown away. Turner does an amazing job of keeping you in suspense, and revealing just enough about the plot and each character that you want to keep reading, knowing there are ulterior motives behind every new page, and endearing you to the characters in spite of what little you truly know about them. The characters are all amazingly complex, and all experience deep and realistic emotions. Somehow, they all know how to push each others’ buttons too, which is amusing to read about. Turner has a knack for showing how incensed her characters are by little jibes in short, artful sentences with very little description (were I a good blogger, I would insert an appropriate example here, but alas I have already returned the books to the library and so we shall continue on example-less). Apparently these kingdoms are loosely based on ancient Greece, which I find very interesting. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m very visual so I’d love it if there were maps of the kingdoms, and some of the cities, included in these books. Oh well, can’t have everything, right?
I was seriously excited to read that Turner plans at least two more books in the series (there are already four: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings). Yay!