Jul 19, 2010

The King of Attolia

Title : The King of Attolia
Series : #3 The Queen’s Theif
Author : Megan Whalen Turner
Rating : * *

Characters : The main perspective comes from Costis, a confused and conflicted member of the King’s guard. He serves a whipping boy, dueling partner, and rescuer—but none of those roles really suit him. Eugenides, former thief of Eddis, is starting to really mature, but he keeps his own company, staying out of the way of his courtly followers as well as many of the captains of the guard. Attolia, the queen, rules with a bejeweled iron fist. She glitters and glimmers into each scene, but never merits a smile as she rules with unshakeable command.

Setting : Byzantine-like landscape comparable to ancient Greece. Technically it is the imaginary landscape of Eddis, Attolia, and Sounis where guns and pocket watches coexist with swords and armor. Attolia, the queen not the kingdom, strolls around her castle in beautiful gowns, striking fear into the hearts of her enemies and demanding absolute loyalty from her guard and followers. Mostly, each character is a bit of a mystery with some darkness in their closet.

Basic Plot : Attolia has a new king, unfortunately he was a former thief of Eddis, and therefore is not wholly trusted by any Attolian. They view him as a on handed fool, unfit to rule alongside their long beloved queen. You feel bad for the poor guy as he combats various practical jokes at his expense. The Queen of Attolia, on the other hand, wants Eugendies to step up and fulfill his role as the new ruler, working side by side with her instead of behind and slightly to the left of her. Just goes to show it’s not easy becoming a king—even if you are the best thief back home, one good enough to steal the Queen, and her heart.

Comments : The style of Megan Whalen’s writing is matter of fact where moods are captured, settings are described concisely, and dialogue is perfectly articulated. I might even go as far as saying her writing is sparse, making the plot a little confusing at times. The majority of the novel is expressed from Costis’ point of view as the King’s guard. It made the story a little more accessible, offering a unique perspective in how a person develops respect for another—even if it is practically against their will. My biggest complaint is that since I received this as a gift, and since I don’t have the first or second book, it was extremely difficult to understand what was going on. Things started off slowly and it took quite some time for the plot to feel like it was advancing at an acceptable pace. I’m rating it only as “like it” for now, but maybe I’ll read the first two and come back to give another stab at it.

Similar : The Enchanted Glass (Diana Wynne Jones) Finnikin of the Rock (Melina Marchetta) Fever Crumb (Phillip Reeve)

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