Sunday, 9 September 2012

74. "The Queen of Attolia" by Megan Whalen Turner

Page count: 362 pages
Date begun: July 12th, 2012
Date finished: July 13th, 2012

This review will contain spoilers for The Thief, so you may want to avoid it if you're bothered by that sort of thing.

Eugenides, official Queen's Thief of Eddis, is a thorn in the Queen of Attolia's side. Countless times he's broken into her palace, he even leaves little gifts for her. Even worse, after he managed to retrieve the legendary Hamiathes' Gift for his own queen, Attolia lost power and face. She wants revenge on Eugenides, and Eddis, and will ally herself with anyone who can help her. Patiently she waits for him to slip up, secure in the knowledge that one day her men will catch him, and he can haunt her no more.

Attolia does capture Gen, and seemingly exacts her revenge, but at what cost? Soon Attolia is at war with Eddis, with the more powerful Sounis trying to take over both countries. While no longer able to break into her palace, Eugenides haunts her thoughts all the more. To save Eddis from war with two more powerful foes, Gen has to recover from a grievous blow, steal a man, steal a woman, and possibly even steal peace. While he once claimed he could steal everything, such a task may be too challenging even for Eugenides.

Megan Whalen Turner's books may be young adult literature, but they don't pander to the reader. They are incredibly clever books that require patience and attention, but the reader is also richly rewarded. The Thief was pretty much a quest narrative. The Queen of Attolia has plotting, and political intrigue, a further exploration of the world first introduced in the first book in the series, and the story of how the Queen of Attolia became the cold and seemingly ruthless ruler that she has turned into. She has few that she can trust, and easily feels slighted. Bitterly jealous of the Queen of Eddis who doesn't have to be constantly vigilant to stay in power, she can't stand that the Thief of Eddis sneaks into her palace so frequently, taunting her with his easy access. She thinks she'll feel better if she teaches him a lesson, but discovers that revenge isn't all its cracked up to be.

Eugenides truly shines in this book, and manages amazing feats for someone so young. Most remarkable of all is the reason why he keeps breaking into Attolia's palace, and his plan for creating lasting peace between the countries, even after Attolia does something unspeakable to him. The Queen of Attolia is a wonderful book, and can be just as easily enjoyed by adults as teenagers. One of the best pieces of young adult literature out there, it is a joy to read.

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