When I sent out invites for guest posts for Queen’s Thief Week, I told everyone that they can write about whatever they wanted as long as it’s related to the series. I didn’t want the guest posts to be too much of a hassle for them. I was kind of hoping that someone will write about the romance in the novels but since no one did, I get to handle this delicious topic myself. *rubs hands* I don’t think I can do it justice but Eugenides’ love story is one of my favorite aspects of the series and I can’t let the week go by without talking about it. Since I want to encourage more readers to pick up the books, this discussion will be spoiler-free and I won’t even mention who the love interest is (if you’ve read the books, you know how difficult it is to avoid spoilers). The romance doesn’t appear until the second book in the series, The Queen of Attolia. Gen is too much of an arrogant brat in The Thief to fall in love with someone. Also, he needed to do a bit of growing up before he can start thinking about love. I think the character growth and development in the series is amazing, I liked seeing Gen become more mature while still retaining the essence of who he is as a person.
I have to admit that one of the reasons why I love the romance is because I did not see it coming! Let me clarify that, it definitely didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s just that I wasn’t able to predict it. When that declaration of love appeared? I was all “WHAT!” and then “Wait, it makes perfect sense!” It was so subtle that I didn’t see the build-up but once I found out about it, I realized that there were so many hidden clues in the narrative. I didn’t even notice it but MWT was preparing me, the reader, for the romance. I kept going “Oooh so that’s why…” after the big revelation. This is the kind of romance that I love – slow burn romance, layered with complexities and filled with swoon-worthy lines that will slay you. It’s a love story with a lot of depth, not romance that’s based on something flimsy like physical attraction. Definitely none of that instant love nonsense where the hero and heroine take one look at each other and decide they can’t live without the other person. In the Queen’s Thief series, the characters have to work for it. Oh boy, do they have to work for it. So much sacrifice is involved in this particular love story that you ache for the characters.
What I like about Gen and his love interest is they are both flawed individuals. They’re aware of each other’s faults and imperfections and yet there’s still mutual fascination and grudging respect between them, which eventually develops into something more. They have every reason not to trust each other so their courtship has a rocky start. It takes time and effort for them to understand the other person. They’re such wonderful characters that you can’t help but root for their relationship, as soon as you find out about it. I wanted them to be happy and I wanted them to be happy together. I feel like the obstacles make the love story much more believable and relatable – the characters lead complicated lives, the relationships that they build reflect that. We can expect nothing less from fully fleshed out, intelligent and strong characters. I’ve reread the books several times and the romance doesn’t get old for me. It’s still one of my favorite fictional romances of all time.
I can’t help but quote some spoiler-free bits and pieces that I love from The Queen of Attolia, all of which have a little something to do with the romance:
“She’s like a prisoner inside stone walls, and every day the walls get a little thicker, the doorways a little narrower.”
“She thought of the hardness and the coldness she had cultivated over those years and wondered if they were the mask she wore or if the mask had become her self. If the longing inside her for kindness, for warmth, for compassion, was the last seed of hope for her, she didn’t know how to nurture it or if it could live.”
“He lies to himself. If Eugenides talked in his sleep, he’d lie then, too.”
“He could tell her he loved her. He ached to shout it out loud for the gods and everyone to hear. Little good it would do… He was famous in three countries for his lies.”
He anticipated her blow and leaned back. Her hand only brushed his cheek in an entirely unsatisfying manner. “At least that’s one lie I didn’t tell you.”
Whew, is that vague enough for all of you? I want to go on but I don’t want to reveal too much and ruin the reading experience for those who haven’t read the books. I did what I could without mentioning spoilers but I’m not promising that the comments will be spoiler-free as well. Fellow Queen’s Thief fans, do you love the romance in the series as much as I do? Share your favorite lines and scenes in relation to the romance. Oh and if you have recommendations for books with equally excellent love stories, I would gladly read them.
Queen’s Thief Week roundup:
Charlotte has links of where MWT can be found around the interwebs over at Charlotte’s Library
Maureen discusses the myths in the books – The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings