Queen’s Thief Week: Guest Post by Checkers from Sounis

Photo taken by Ian Villar

Checkers is one of the moderators of Sounis, the LiveJournal community for Megan Whalen Turner fans. I found Sounis shortly after I discovered the series. I was delighted to find a community, where everyone was just as obsessed fascinated about the series as I was. I lurked for a bit but eventually decided to start posting and commenting because everyone is so nice and friendly over there. Before I started this blog, I mostly got the recommendations for the books that I read from Sounis. Queen’s Thief fans need something to tide us over while we’re waiting for the next book to be released. Here’s Checkers with a list of recommended titles that will appeal to readers who fell in love with Megan Whalen Turner’s writing.

Every now and then, we’re fortunate enough to read a book that sticks with us for a long time. They touch our hearts, delight and surprise us, and make us feel emotionally invested. It doesn’t happen very often. The first books I felt that way about were two I read during a summer of classics-reading. I must have been about 10, and the books were Heidi and Black Beauty. I can still remember how those books made me feel — I ached for the characters, and wanted so badly for things to turn out all right for them.

When we find these favorites, we reread them, memorize them, dream about them. Usually, these books have characters so compelling, so wonderful, that we become — at least a little — obsessed with them.

Then, there are characters that do all that, AND make us want to draw pictures of them, dress in costumes like them, write about them. Create songs about. Build legos of. Name pets after. Celebrate on license plates.

Oh, it’s you, Eugenides.

Recognize that line? If so, have I got a fan site for you.

If you’ve read Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series, and find yourself reluctant to leave Eugenides and his world, come and visit the LiveJournal site called Sounis. If you immediately identified that line above from the end of The Thief, you’re sure to fit in. Sounis is a friendly community of fans who have read and loved the series. It’s great to make those connections, because the first thing said by most people, when they arrive at the site, is “I love these books and want to talk about them, but I don’t know anyone else who has read them!”

Here’s my theory on that. Megan’s books are hard. They’re full of layers and demand a lot of a reader. Oh sure, anyone can read them, but it’s tougher to “get” them. It’s easy to miss the subtleties the first — or second —time around. Rereading and discussion have helped us make sense of all the twisty meanings, and analyze details we might have missed. However, in addition to being a little obsessed, fans of Megan’s books are also smart. They’re up to this kind of challenge.

That’s because another thing members of Sounis share is a love of great books—complex books with a lot of heart. Over the years there have been dozens of discussions about what everyone has been reading. What’s remarkable is how similar their tastes are. Are you waiting impatiently for the next book in the Queen’s Thief series? Chances are, you’ll like these books, too. All these books, series, and authors have been recommended frequently by Megan or by the folks at the Sounis site (with a few of my own favorites sneaked in, too). If you like the Queen’s Thief books, you’ll probably recognize some of your own favorites here, too. Feel free to leave comments about other titles or series you think we’d all like, while we wait very impatiently for the next book about Eugenides. Then head over to Sounis to introduce yourself.

The Bartimaeus books by Jonathan Stroud
Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
Diana Wynne Jones’ books, especially Howl’s Moving Castle (watch for a tribute line found in both The Thief and The King of Attolia)
Cindy Pon’s books
C. S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series
Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles (an adult series—every time you think things can’t get any grimmer, they do. But, oh Lymond!)
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs
Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan
Elizabeth Marie Pope’s books
Elizabeth Wein’s books
Frances Burney’s Journals and Letters
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Georgette Heyer’s books
Graceling and sequels by Kristin Cashore
Green Knowe books by L. M. Boston
Holly Black’s books
The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Joan Aiken’s books
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Legend of Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
Maggie Stiefvater’s books
Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
The Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling (also an adult series)
The Pagan Chronicles by Catherine Jinks
Patricia A. McKillip’s books
Patricia Wrede’s books
Robin McKinley’s books
Rosemary Sutcliff’s books, especially The Eagle of the Ninth (watch for a familiar piece of jewelry)
Shannon Hale’s books
Sherwood Smith’s books
Some of the Kinder Planets by Tim Wynne-Jones
Squire’s Tales series by Gerald Morris
Susan Cooper’s books
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillippa Pearce
The Vorkosigian Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (Miles will steal your heart, but his adventures are written for adults, not kids)

Thank you, Checkers! Why am I not surprised that I’ve read (or at least heard about) most of the books in this list? 🙂 If you’re on Goodreads, Sounis has a spin-off group over there with bookshelves filled with recommendations. Also, feel free to vote on this Goodreads list of recommendations. What are some other suggestions that you can add to Checkers list? Feel free to recommend books that you think fellow Queen’s Thief fans will enjoy!

40 thoughts on “Queen’s Thief Week: Guest Post by Checkers from Sounis

  1. *raises hand*

    I have some recommendations to add to Checkers’ list, didn’t want to lengthen the post so I thought I’d just leave a comment. 😛 Some YA fantasy books:

    Books by Tamora Pierce, especially the Trickster duology
    Books by Eva Ibbotson
    Books by Mary Stewart
    Books by Laini Taylor
    Books by R.J. Anderson
    Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix
    His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
    The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
    Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta and I HIGHLY recommend her contemporary YA novels as well, even if they’re not fantasy. Start with Jellicoe Road.

    These aren’t YA but I still highly recommend them and think that it would appeal to fans of the series interested in reading non-YA fantasy:

    Samaria series by Sharon Shinn
    Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier
    Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

  2. Yay Checkers!

    “Then, there are characters that do all that, AND make us want to draw pictures of them, dress in costumes like them, write about them. Create songs about. Build legos of. Name pets after. Celebrate on license plates.”

    All the reasons I’m so happy to have found sounis-a place where there are people as crazy devoted as me. And have met some truly great people there too. QT has the best fandom there is.

    • I agree, the Queen’s Thief series has the best fandom there is. I first started reaching out to other readers online through Sounis. So it kind of feels like my participation there inspired this book blog. 😛

      • It is a great fandom–there are great discussions, plus all kinds of craziness. With really nice people. Obsessed people.

  3. ”It’s easy to miss the subtleties the first — or second time around”

    Or third, or fourth, or ninety-eighth…

    I love that I have read most of the books on that list (and the majority of the others are on my TBR list) and the reason is Sounis. 😀

    • Same here! I’ve read most of the books in the list and those that I haven’t read are already on my wishlist. I did add a couple more titles in my comment, some of which I discovered through Sounis as well.

  4. Yay Checkers and YAY SOUNIS! (You guys are for serious the best fan group ever and I mean that completely seriously and un-ironically. THE BEST EVER.)

  5. Wow that’s a long list of recommendations! I’ve heard of most of the books on the list and have a couple on my TBR already. Thanks for the recommendations!:)

    • It really IS a long list. You know why? Because we also have a long WAIT ahead of us for the next book. 😛 We need other books to keep us occupied in the meantime.

  6. So many of these books are on my TBR list—and now I have more! Hurray!

    I don’t think there’s any other series on the face of the Earth that makes me as breathlessly excited as QT does. Wonderful idea to do an Attolia Week, Chachic! I’ll keep checking back in to see what other goodies you have in store for us 🙂

    • “Attolia Week” sounds really nice, maybe I should have used that title instead of “Queen’s Thief Week”? It would have been shorter too. Ah but at least “Queen’s Thief” is easier to identify. Feel free to drop by and comment during the rest of the week. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Queen’s Thief Week: Giveaway | Chachic's Book Nook

  8. I’d like to add something to the list! The Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart: The Hollow Hills, The Crystal Cave, and The Last Enchantment.

    I was just reminded of Mary Stewart’s books because of Chachic’s recent review, and seeing as they remind me of both MWT and Rosemary Sutcliffe, I think they fit in very well indeed.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment in my IMM post and for recommending the books here as well. I really want to read these! Will look into getting the books after I finish the Mary Stewart romantic suspense novels that I already have.

  9. Yay Checkers! Here’s hoping we get lots more new members for Sounis!

    Oh…and I rec the Truth Series by Dawn Cook:
    First Truth
    Hidden Truth
    Forgotten Truth
    Lost Truth

    • Yep, I hope Queen’s Thief Week encourages more fans to participate in Sounis! 🙂 I still check out the posts and comment even if I don’t log into LJ.

      Thanks for the added recs! I’ve heard about Dawn Cook but haven’t read any of her books.

  10. i have to agree with Brandy that i LOVED what Checkers wrote here “Then, there are characters that do all that, AND make us want to draw pictures of them, dress in costumes like them, write about them. Create songs about. Build legos of. Name pets after. Celebrate on license plates.”

    and im curious, why Sounis for the community name? i would have thought Attolia or Eddis? Sounis was the least interesting country for me, i mean Sophos is great and all, but anyways…just a stray thought!

    and my additional recommendation would be for Graceling which im reading right now and really reminds me of this series.

    yay Queen’s Theif week, thanks for hosing this chachic!!!!

    • The “why Sounis?” question is a good one, and no one is entirely sure. The person who originally set up the site promptly disappeared afterward, so the mystery remains. This was back before The King of Attolia was published. Eddis or Attolia would have made more sense!

      LOVED Graceling, and I can’t wait for Bitterblue.

    • I was wondering about Sounis as the name of the community as well. Eddis or Attolia would have been better. We could have been Eddisians or Attolians instead of Sounisians. 😛

      Kristin Cashore’s books were included in Checkers’ list. 🙂 I would have added them in my comment if they weren’t because I love those books. I really can’t wait to read Bitterblue.

  11. I love everything she has said about our favorite characters. We do become a little obsessed. Well said. 😀

    MWT does demand a lot from her readers, but with a great reward. 🙂

    What a list! I think it can be tricky to find readalikes for such a unique series, but it looks like it will always be wonderfully inexhaustible.

    • MWT does demand a lot from her readers, but with a great reward.

      I agree with what you said, Holly. I think the series isn’t an easy read but so very worth the effort.

      Don’t you love that there are so many recommendations from fellow fans? Can’t wait to read the ones that I haven’t explored yet.

  12. This is a really great idea chachic!

    Checkers is so right about QT people hard to digest. I think people don’t want to work that hard to decipher the story …

    And I do have to add to the book recommendations :

    The Farsala Trilogy by Hilari Bell (Fall of a Kingdom aka Flame; Rise of a Hero; and Forging the Sword) – they have really complex characters and a lot of maturing to do, and it addressing things as not always being black and white, but in between.

      • They are really in the line of TT, with alot of action, and planning, and there is even one sneaky “I’m not a thief” who for all intents and purposes is. And a lot of little discussion things slipped in in between 🙂

  13. I’d recommend the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy by D.M. Cornish, mostly because I don’t really know anyone else who’s read them, and I want to talk about them!

  14. Pingback: A Conspiracy of Kings | One More Page

  15. Here’s a book that relates to lots of your choices:

    Kirkus Reviews, Jan. 2012

    “The Jesus Life: From Soldier and Savior to Madman”
    by Christiane Gwillimbury

    After the success of her book on Henry Kissinger, history professor Christiane Gwillimbury has turned her attention to saving a much over-written subject from Sunday School yawns and the ancient classics doldrums.

    In her new and surprisingly short treatise on all things Jesus, the longtime Harvard board director says it is common knowledge among elite scholars that the character of Jesus was based on a member of Julius Caesar’s immediate family, Lucius Caesar, and she wants to let the public enjoy the tale of what life had in store for young Lucius, who was born around seventy years before the fictionalized Jesus’ birth.

    As soon as he was born, the fair-haired Lucius was the focus of much attention in the royal household in Rome. While the idea of a democratic republic has been played-up over time, historical documents support the idea of the Caesar family being an extremely wealthy and powerful monarchy running the show through a partly concealed network of allied cousins, switched babies, and disguised sibling or even parent-child marriages. This unsavory practice of incest and inbreeding was done in an organized attempt to maintain and mix certain traits, talents, and appearances within a single, cunningly ambitious family.

    And Lucius was the golden boy with just the characteristics they had been attempting to produce in a future con-artist religious leader cum multilingual surgeon, one who could pass for a native of northwestern Europe or a rabid Jew. Many in the family were writers, talented at legal arguments and fiction writing alike, which is why, Gwillimbury insists, the story of the real man behind the Jesus icon is so endlessly fascinating. It’s not just the amazing life Lucius lived as a Roman prince shuttled off to Egypt as a baby to hide the brother-sister incest between Caesar’s teen kids that had produced him, and to protect his future use as a double-agent facilitating Roman conquests, all the way to his final act in the wilds of Scotland as an unhinged medical experimenter upsetting the locals by snatching their children to perform surgery on, in the ominous Hermitage Castle, but it’s the effect of looking back on the real man through the eyes of all he’s been made to represent that gives his life story such dimension.

    While Gwillimbury understands there may still be a few ardent believers out there who will upset at the evidence that the fictional Jesus, floating miracles and all, was just a whimsical creation of talented Roman novelists out to invent a religion that would tame their Druidic cousins into easing up control over the coveted tin mines in Britain, she feels most people have enough common sense to appreciate his rich narrative value. The Caesar family were powerful and ruthless enough to not only make up such a cunning tale to help in their ongoing campaign of “dignified” land theft, but Gwillimbury includes historical documents that clearly show the Caesars stayed in power and are still in power, hence the logic of their current understanding, as the celebrated authors, experts, artists, and leaders of the world today, of the truth behind the many concocted global religions that the author feels should be let out of the bag and enjoyed for the interesting tales behind their inventors.

    And she’s not alone in thinking it’s time. Which is why tv shows and films alike (produced with the same wealth dug up out of those tin mines in Cornwall, and added to the even more ancient Atlantean coffers transferred out of Egypt through Julia’s concrete ventures with Mark Anthony, aka Herod, in Jerusalem, then on to Byzantium, London, and eventually Washinton DC, if one can keep track of Gwillimbury’s detailed financial accounting) are continually pushing the bounds of secrecy and morality by basing their plots on the factual events of Lucius Caesar’s life, updated for modern times and serving as a modern version of the overblown Roman tributes of 70 BCE.

    For example. the popular television medical drama “House”, Gwillimbury reveals, is a charmed-up portrayal of Lucius in later years, his leg damaged by an injury that occurred after he helped assassinate his grandfather Julius under the identity of Roman political strategist Brutus, his looks shot by years of opium addiction as Saint Paul, King Lud, and others, and his final, brutal, eager cutting open of bodies on the Hermitage property, for the sake of passionate but untethered medical investigation, landing him in a Scottish prison, written up as Bad Lord Soulis (a simple pun on Lucius, Gwillimbury points out in her chapter on Jesus wordplay and Christ codes), a titillating myth of the medieval 1200’s.

    Literary sagas and even kids’ nursery rhymes like to touch, as a rule, on as many aspects of his life as possible, including the so-called romance between Lucius and his mother Julia, aka Mark and Mary Magdalene, a few years after the crucifixion, when they conceived a child together as an attempt to secure their individual fortunes back in Rome after a lengthy exile in France and Britain, where many of the biblical texts attributed to the two were written.

    Gwillimbury frequently turns to many of Lucius’ own philosophical writings to help explain his life choices, published in Greek under the pen name Lucian of Samosata. (Yet another example of how far-flung his presence in our culture is, she makes a solid argument for the meteoric success of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat being partly due to his graffiti-artist tag, Samo.) Humorous, philosophical, and even, yes, redemptive, Lucius was just a man after all, struggling to enjoy what he could of a life that had been harshly shaped from the get-go by his family’s insistence on pushing him to not only be a talented con-artist, but a master of emotional leverage as well – leading to the seemingly divine and yet absurdly impatient teenager who, between the ages of 17 and 20, delivered an amazing performance as Yesho, the Jewish prophet, and yet sometimes couldn’t resist giving as a reply, when pushed to explain why his exorbitantly illogical teachings should be believed, a resounding, “Because I said so.”

    “The Jesus Life: From Soldier and Savior to Madman” is 242 pages, published in 2012 by Canofworms Press, an imprint of Random House.

  16. Pingback: Queen’s Thief Week: Giveaway Winner and Wrap-Up | Chachic's Book Nook

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