Queen’s Thief Week: Guest Post by Ana of The Book Smugglers

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.

11 thoughts on “Queen’s Thief Week: Guest Post by Ana of The Book Smugglers

  1. It’s taken me a while to make it over here, having had a busy week, and I’m enjoying catching up on the posts. But it is this one that made me want to join in and comment.

    Ana, you’re right. The books are wonderfully clever – and I love that the author trusts us readers to be clever too. The things we need to know are there, but they aren’t rubbed in our faces or spelled out in words of one syllable.

    Reading back over the posts I was reflecting on what my favourite bit of the series was, and suddenly it flashed into my mind. It’s in QoA and the bit about the (were they ruby?) earrings that Gen gives Attolia. There’s so much being said there (both when they are given and when they are worn) but it’s done in such a clever way, and with the assumption I can pick up on it. And if I don’t the first time, I will the second or third or however-many-th time.

    I admit to having only recently discovered the books (in the last two years I’d say) so I’ve only read them once, but seeing how much people are getting out of them on multiple rereads, I’m sure I’m be doing the same.

    • rocalisa, glad that Ana’s post encouraged you to leave a comment. The books really are incredibly clever, so many hidden clues in the books that all become clear once certain twists are revealed. I love that bit with the ruby earrings! I can’t remember when I realized the significance of those earrings – probably on a reread or during one of the discussions on Sounis.

      I hope you get to reread the books soon, The Thief was even better as a reread for me than when the first time I went through it. These books are so complex and intricate that you’ll find details to enjoy even when you’re already aware of what’s happening.

  2. Chachic, thank you again for letting me take part! I am loving all the posts so far and I am so proud to be in such good company.

    @Rocalisa: “There’s so much being said there (both when they are given and when they are worn) but it’s done in such a clever way, and with the assumption I can pick up on it. And if I don’t the first time, I will the second or third or however-many-th time.”

    YES, exactly that. I LOVE for example the whole thing with the earrings on book 2.

    • Ana, of course, I had to ask you to do a guest post! How can I not when I know your love for the series knows no bounds? 😛 Thank you for such a clever guest post. It’s always nice to fangirl and discuss the books with you.

    • Oh I know what you mean, I keep saying “I agree with what _____ said” in all of these Queen’s Thief Week guest posts because I have nothing else to add. They’re all so very well-written.

  3. As a reader, and now as a writer, I see the same thing: a million books and a million readers with a deep chasm in between them. I have always loved to read, and I’ve *always* had a hard time picking my next book. (Somewhere inside me there is a little second grader, wailing “I don’t want to read a bad book, I want a good book!”) As a writer, I know my book has to cross that chasm to get into the hands of readers. It’s the trickiest part of the whole business, and I am so grateful to the bibliovangelicals such as Angie and the Booksmugglers. Not only do they get my books into the hands of just the people who will enjoy them most, they tell me what to read next!

    • Oh yes, life is too short to read books that you don’t like. MWT, you said it much better (of course) but this is the main reason why I love book blogs. They make it easier for me to choose the books to read. I can’t even remember the last time I bought or read a book that wasn’t recommended by someone else. As much as I love browsing in bookstores, I don’t usually pick up books based on just the cover and the synopsis. Book blogs because they narrow down the choices for me. I read books based on recommendations from trusted bloggers (Angie and the Smugglers included).

      I also get recommendations from favorite authors. Blurbed by MWT? MUST read it! Recommended by MWT? Added to wishlist!

  4. (Sneaking back to this post now that it’s quiet to write a tome…) I’m glad that Ana brought up the politics in Megan’s series, because something niggles at me that I’m hoping Megan will tiptoe up to in her writing. Other than Sophos’s uncle, who screws up in his decision-making (one might say royally), the rulers in the series are flawed but earnest and fundamentally, exceptionally good, with the thought of their citizens foremost in their minds, to the point of self-sacrifice. They each have their own (beautifully unique) flaws and strengths, but the goal is the same: peace, which will enable prosperity. The “right” person is on the throne, and now that Sophos is in, triple yay. Even the gods seem (somewhat; caveat; eek for the future of that volcano) on their side. It all makes me a tad uncomfortable as I read, with my modern democratic sensibilities: no matter the initial intentions, monarchies without parliaments and guaranteed rights of the people tend toward corruption; heirs are empirically morons (Irene’s baby won’t be, but still). Granted, a monarchy works exceptionally well when there’s pressure from neighboring countries (for example my father-in-law, Eric Cochrane, did interesting research at the U of C showing that Cosimo de’ Medici’s duchy did what the Republic of Florence couldn’t in improving administration, building a navy, and keeping invaders out) but when the danger is passed, the inefficiency and corruption begins. I realize I’m actually also violating Eric’s main tenet, not to judge history using contemporary ideas, and that the time period of the QT series determines the government structure, but I can’t shake the way any “benevolent king” story—where we root for the monarchs to rule for life—makes me itchy. (It’s sort of like when you discover that Oliver Twist really WAS of gentle birth all along and all that commentary on social ills and exploitation of the poor is diminished and you say, really, Charles?) I don’t need Eddis, Attolia/Attolis, and Sounis to set up constitutional monarchies, mind you, but I do hope (even against my passionate love for the four of them), that something goes utterly wrong, or deteriorates over time.

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

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