I was already following The Book Smugglers even before I started my own blog. I kind of feel like I don’t need to talk about Ana and Thea anymore because they are Big and Famous Book Bloggers but I just want to say that I love their reviews and I’ve gotten a lot of excellent recommendations from both of them. I love how tireless, enthusiastic and passionate they are when it comes to their blog. Ana is a huge fan of the Queen’s Thief series and I immediately thought of inviting her while I was planning this blog event. She has a spoiler-free review of the first three books here (Megan Whalen Turner linked to Ana’s review in her website). Welcome to Queen’s Thief Week, Ana!
Why I Adore The Queen’s Thief Series.
I remember when I first picked up The Thief to read. It was back in 2009, in the middle of our first YA Appreciation Month and I bought it because Angie was so enthusiastic about it (and I have come to learn over the years that when Angie truly loves something, chances are, I will too). I read it, loved it and then went out and bought the next two books in the series. I was a goner then. Soon after, I managed to sit down to write my thoughts about it. The result was basically a love letter to the series. Back then, I wrote that the main reason why I loved these books was its main character Eugenides and how awesome he is.
I was wrong though. Having had more time to think about it, I realised over the years (and after reading A Conspiracy of Kings) that even though Eugenides is one of my favourite characters of all time, he is not really the main reason why I love the series so much.
No, I love this series so much because they are incredibly, unbelievably clever.
I think everybody knows by now about the infamous twists in the series. Yes, there are many, and they are great and I never saw them coming. One could certainly say that the surprising twists are way clever. But a whole series can not solely rely on its twists – there’s gotta be more to it, right?
Take for example the basic fact that these books are about politics. The destiny of three countries are at stake, war is brewing in the horizon, there are outside forces closing in and most of the story is about trying to figure out ways of applying diplomacy to the proceedings. The thing is: this could all have been so boring but it never is. Because in the midst of all that, there are the people we come to care deeply about. All characters – Queens and Kings and Soldiers; Eugenides, Sounis, Attolis, Eddis, Costis are so well-written, their stories so interesting with each of them having a developing arc. So, as the fate of nations are being decided, we also have people growing up, growing apart or close; alliances being formed in unpredictable ways, adventures being held and kisses being shared.
(You will have to excuse me because I am about to go on a tangent here. OMG, the kisses being shared – you know, I could have written an entire post just about the romance in the series. It is the sort of romance I have come to love and appreciate. The kind that is subtle and unexpected but right in many ways: because the subtlety only reinforces awesomeness; because it is about the right dynamics, the right signs; it is about respect and appreciation for each other and about growth. SO swoon-worthy)
Ultimately though, I believe that what makes these books so clever is the way they are written because each book, surprisingly, has a different narrative choice or voice.
The Thief is written in first person, narrated by Eugenides (and he is such an unreliable narrator); The Queen of Attolia shifts to third person with Gen’s, the Queen of Eddis’ and the Queen of Attolia’s PoV; The King of Attolia is narrated by an entirely new character and A Conspiracy of Kings is half told in first person by a character called Sophos (introduced in the first book) and half in third person by an overseeing narrator.
I love that Megan Whalen Turner took these chances because it works so well with the story she is telling. I feel that the point of view HAD to change from book to book and they are extremely efficient in providing the reader with the right reading experience each time. They signal the growth of each character and the different type of story each book tells. In the first book, Eugenides basically tricks us. The second book is about establishing a rapport between everybody in the story and between the reader and Eugenides. But in the third book, we become Eugenides accomplices – we already know what to expect from him and it is great fun to see the narrator of that story having no clue what to expect. Then the author takes everything one step further and in a A Conspiracy of Kings, Eugenides is seemingly removed from the equation and we see yet another side of him.
In the end, you put all of this together and what you have is a series about politics that is astonishingly smart and cool, without ever been dull. It features characters that shine including strong, well-developed female characters AND with awesome romantic storylines to boot. What’s not to love? I recommend this series to everybody I know because it works in so many levels I suspect most readers will find at least one thing to love about it.
Thank you Chachic, for inviting me to take part on this more than worthy celebration and for giving me the opportunity to remember once again how awesome these books are.
Thank you, Ana! I kept nodding to myself while reading this post because I agree with everything that Ana said – I think we all know by now how clever Megan Whalen Turner’s writing is.