The Queen of Attolia | Megan Whalen Turner
The lovely Queen of Attolia is haunted; haunted by a thief in the night. She is determined to exact her revenge from Gen, the Queen’s Thief. But what she takes from him pushes Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia over the precipice of war. With the Mede Empire breathing down their necks, the three countries struggle to get the upper hand in a cat-and-mouse game of politics that Gen wishes he had never started. Can Eddis survive the greedy ambition of Attolia and Sounis? Can Gen survive the loss of himself to the Queen of Attolia? Can Attolia find her way through the vice of court politics and ruthless games that have secured her throne at the cost of her humanity? But the truth is, in the game of politics and war, nobody really wins.
Dismemberment. War. Political Intrigue.
After reading The Thief, I gobbled up its sequel, The Queen of Attolia in a mere three days. And I was sorely let down. It is always heart rending to me when the sequels of an amazing book wander off into the maze of incomprehensible. As an author, I try to pay attention to my own keen disappointment when I feel a fellow author has mistreated a story or a character. The Queen of Attolia is well written, well imagined, and expertly executed as a story.
So what is the problem?
The greatest asset of these novels is the lovable main character Eugenides, Queen’s Thief. In The Queen of Attolia, everything about Gen that made me as a reader adore him becomes lost in the turning complexity of the plot. I diagnose this book as a case where plot and character could not both be maintained. Ms. Turner sacrificed character for plot.Personally, I find this a great misstep because, to me, character is far more compelling than a face paced, nail biting story. Give me a character I can love and I will follow that character through the slowest of plots. Stories happen all the time, in as many permutations as there are words, and after a while they run together in a muddy mess. What makes a story are the people who live it.
As the series stands, I’ll keep The Thief on my shelves but I won’t be reading any more of the Queen’s Thief novels.