Queen’s Thief Week: The Romance

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

33 thoughts on “Queen’s Thief Week: The Romance

  1. Can I just say that the way he sneaks into her room and they have a healthy sex life AND NO ONE KNOWS is one of the most romantic things ever? Talk about a hint of sex being sexy — this is barely even a hint and I’m fanning myself.

    • YES! Totally agree, KoA is one of the sexiest books with no actual sex in it ever written. And what I really love about it is that I would feel totally comfortable letting my children read it at a young age knowing most of it would go right over their heads. The amount of layers and complexity in these books awes me on a regular basis.

  2. See, you did it! I had faith that you could, and brilliantly. 🙂

    “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. ”
    That is it in a nutshell. Well said. I love how complicated it is-so much more realistic.

    • Aww, thanks for the encouragement, Brandy! It’s so hard to write about the romance without mentioning spoilers but I really wanted even those who haven’t read the series to see this.

  3. You did a lovely job with this– I love the quotes you chose (but of course you had good material with which to work!)

    I wish I could remember if I saw it coming or not….I am so bad about reading the ends of books I might have spoiled it for myself.

    • I wanted to put it more quotes but the others will be spoilery! I chose the ones that didn’t even mention his love interest.

      Charlotte, wow, you read the end of books to spoil yourself? Sometimes I’m tempted to jump a couple of pages ahead of my place in a book but I’m always worried that I’d just end up spoiling the story for myself.

  4. What a lovely analysis!
    This made me laugh:
    Gen is too much of an arrogant brat in The Thief to fall in love with someone.
    Maybe you should have said, ” Gen is too much of an arrogant brat in The Thief for someone to fall in love with him!”
    Very nicely put!

  5. Great post! I loved the romance of it also. It reminds me of the romance in Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and Kristan Cashore’s books. Through dialogue and small actions do you see how strong their love for each other is *sigh*.

    • Oooh I loved the romance in Daughter of the Forest and both Graceling and Fire as well. All of those are included in my list of favorites. I love it when the words and actions of the characters make you invest in their relationships.

  6. I was going to ask which “swoon-worthy lines that will slay you” you had in mind, before seeing that you ended with some pretty fantabulous ones. The last two in particular definitely SLAY me every time. Gaaah!

    • The second to the last is particularly good, it made me want to hug Gen. I also wanted to quote some favorite lines from The King of Attolia but like I said, I didn’t want to reveal too much.

  7. I totally did not see it coming. For awhile there, I thought he WAS lying. No wonder she thought that, as well. In fact, I think my reaction was something like, “Holy Crap!”

    But it immediately began to make a whole lot of sense.

    I had a similar reaction when she said, “Not those.” One of the things I like best about the books is that each one of them completely surprised me. I never knew what direction they were going to go in.

    • Yes, it wasn’t surprising that she didn’t believe him at first. I love the earrings! They’re so full of meaning. I’m not even sure if I understood what they meant when I first read the books but I eventually figured out how significant they were.

  8. I love the romance in this book, for exactly the same reasons as you, and then some. Actually, I saw it coming, only because I almost always read the last page of a book before I even get to the middle. =/

    I constantly marvel at how deep their love is, how complicated and difficult it is to explain, to even put to words how their love works. But sometimes, some of the best things in life cannot be described in words, and I think this is one of those. (I totally second your comment about how it’s NOT like other romances where the two people almost instantly know they need to be with each other at first glance. Heh… I call that “lust at first sight”, haha.)

    And what I also love is that they’re both strong individuals by themselves. When they’re together, they are even better because they complement each other so well, but even when they’re apart, you know you can still expect some butt-kicking mind trick.

    And of course…. what Elizabeth said! (When I first started looking up QT just after I read KoA, I was actually surprised that a lot of readers speculate their erm… bedroom life. Haha, but after re-reads, I can totally understand why. ^__^)

    • Sometimes I’m tempted to read the last page of a book but I always stop myself because I wouldn’t want to spoil the reading experience.

      I had such a difficult time writing this post because it was so hard to avoid spoilers and all of the other Queen’s Thief Week guest posts were so well-written that I felt inadequate in comparison. LOL. But I really wanted to feature the romance so I went ahead with it. It’s much more complicated than I was able to articulate though. It’s frustrating how so many other YA novels have instant love in them and I really can’t root for that kind of relationship – it has to have more depth to be good.

  9. Oh Chachic, this post is lovely! You explain so well what makes Gen’s romance so epic. I enjoyed reading it very much. And those lines? *dying* It’s definitely time for a reread.

    • Holly, it was so funny because I reread QoA before Queen’s Thief Week started and I sneaked a peek at KoA while I was writing this post to remind me how wonderful the romance is. I ended up rereading the whole book! I got suckered in by my own blog event.

  10. Wait. Whoa. We’re forgetting about Eddis and Sophos–a sweet, gentle unfolding of love, mostly through letters and long walks. It’s such a great scene when he takes his leave of her and it’s like she has been shot, and Attolia saw it coming but Eddis herself didn’t, and Eddis sends a fast horse to catch him with a love letter that we later see he keeps by his heart. Awesome.

    • Sorry about that, I wanted to write a spoiler-free post about the romance so I had to limit it to just Gen’s. At least those who haven’t read the books know that he’s the main character so I thought it would be okay to talk about him and just not mention the love interest. I didn’t mean to leave out Edids and Sophos’ love story. 🙂 Also, I’m more familiar with Gen’s romance because I’ve reread QoA and KoA several times.

  11. You’ve done a fantastic job hosting this week long celebration and this post nails it for me. There’s nothing for it – I’m going to have to embark on a full re-read!

    For me, the romance (swoons!) in this series is the cherry on the top of an already fantastic reading experience. It is always so subtlety done yet it’s the little things that makes it so delightfully special.

    • Peta, I agree! The romance is an added bonus to a wonderful series. I wanted to mention that the romance isn’t the focus of the books but it’s a huge part of it. Sigh, wish there were more authors who could write romance the way MWT does.

  12. Seer and the Sword, by Victoria Hanley: one of my most favourite books EVER. All I have is a recommendation – you’ll have to read it and decide if you agree 🙂

    I really enjoyed this post, and all the QT week posts – came on over from YA Highway!

    • I remember reading Seer and the Sword a few years ago but wasn’t blown away by the romance. 😦 I can’t remember the details anymore. Maybe I should do a reread to refresh my memory, might like it a lot more the second time.

  13. I am so with you on this, Chachic! Can I just say, “ditto”? The romance is probably why QofA is my favorite — with more revelations that they really do love each other in KofA. I love slow-burning romance. (Like The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley or Crown Duel, by Sherwood Smith) You can so much more easily believe these people love each other when you’ve seen it build. And what wonderfully complex characters they are! And they love each other in complex, but characteristic ways. (I love the way his love throws things when Gen gets hurt!)

    • Yes, the romance is probably the reason why QoA and KoA are my favorites in the series. QoA was where it started but KoA will make you love them more as a couple. I love slow burn romance as well and those two books that you mentioned are also included in my list of favorites! ♥ Would love to read more books with romance like that. LOL yes, if I was more creative when I started the blog, I would have named it “Throwing Inkpots”, which is what my Tumblr is called.

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

    • Oh April, I can’t wait for you to read KoA. If you loved the romance in QoA, then you’re really going to enjoy KoA. Let me know when you get around to reading it so we can talk about it! I just reread KoA so it’s still fresh in my mind. 🙂

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