by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen's Thief series; book I
Well, let’s just say I’ve stalked The Book Smugglers too long and was finally convinced to pick up this series xD
"I can steal anything."
After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task -- to steal a hidden treasure from another land.
To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.
My Expectations: Newberry Honour and a ton of people’s favourite series, I quite honestly thought I would be the odd one out and hate it. I’ve tried (and failed) to read it a couple times before.
Delivery: Good parts and bad parts, but the ending won me over. Above my expectations.
Put-down-ability: I actually found this difficult to stay engaged, it felt like I was slogging and putting in effort to turn the pages. 8/10
With all the clever quest-like fantasy books (this isn’t exactly a fantasy genre novel though) out there, this one falls amidst the crowd, perhaps standing half a head taller. It failed to keep me gripped to Gen’s adventures, the characters never really fully developed, and the novel lacked the level of depth I’ve come to expect for highly praised books.
To me, it felt like an broken record almost, there is the basic plotline with an admirable objective- find the Gift. There’s the twists (some I figured out as soon as they happened, but only some), and there’s the surprise ending.
It was a good book. I’ll say that, it had all the necessary requirements strung together into a fantastic first book in a series. For me, in some parts the plot felt tedious through the middle of the book; Gen and the troupe travel, Gen wants more food, Gen hates horses, they rest, Gen complains, maybe a bit of storytime. Repeat. The repetitions of their journey to find the Gift bored me to no end.
Second, I wish Gen could have been a more interesting character. I wanted to see some secret plotting, show some of his wits or his plans of escape. Some stories of why “he can steal anything” or just some personality in general. But no, I’m just stuck with him going on about how he bounces in his saddle; I had a frustrating relationship with him.
I did like the fact that I never really got a full scope on magus, whether he was a good guy or a bad guy, and overall character depth was lacking (hopefully to be explored through the rest of the series though).
Thing I enjoyed most? The ending, for sure. I loved reading about how the pieces had fell together, the sneaky way things that happened earlier in the novel were fitting and falling into place. It was very explanation-y (HP7-esque) but I didn’t mind. I figured out the twist, but not the ending, so it was great fun.
Parting Thoughts: The ending redeemed an overall meh novel for me, so I will probably be picking up book 2, The Queen of Attolia.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
8/10 – because the ending was one excellent twist that redeemed a 7.5-ish/10 novel. The middle travelling section dragged but there were some parts of the book that had wonderful pacing and action. I wasn’t fond of any of the characters, and found it hard to find Gen likable, but I guess you can’t have everything. Recommended to people who enjoy quest novels, books with mythical undertones (Gods/Goddesses), and adventurous plots! B