Review: The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner


March 16, 2012 by Heidi

Book cover of The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen TurnerTitle: The Queen of Attolia [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Megan Whalen Turner [Website]

Standing: Second book in the Queen’s Thiefseries.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: January 1st, 2000 by Eos
Format: Paperback; 362 pages.  
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: This review contains some spoilers for The Thief, so go read that first.  Seriously.  Go read it.

The Queen of Attolia has been fuming, harboring a slowly building hatred for a thief who not only succeeded in stealing Hamiathe’s Gift from her lands, but has been taunting her within her own palace for months.  She knows he has been spying for his queen, he could pass unnoticed, but instead Eugenides chooses to leave her evidence informing of his presence.  Attolia has finally found a way to capture Eugenides, and when she does, he will be at her mercy.  Little does she consider the consequences of her judgement upon the thief…I sometimes find it easier to write reviews for books that I hated, or just liked, than those that I’ve loved.  With those books that I fall absolutely head over heals for, I’m afraid that I could not possibly formulate words that would do my feelings about the book justice.  Hence, my reviews for this series may be somewhat shallow or short, but it’s not because I don’t have strong feelings for this books, it’s because I love them too much.

I really feel that I have grown up with Eugenides after reading the short story, Thief!, and the first in the series, The Thief.  Megan Whalen Turner has a unique talent for writing for the age of her characters perfectly, and it has been lovely to see the development of Eugenides as a 10 year old scallywag to a young man.  The Queen of Attolia is far more complex than The Thief in a way that enriches the story and draws one in even further than before.  While The Thief highlighted the mythology of the old gods, The Queen of Attolia focuses on the current political situation.  It is unfortunately rare that an author is able to convey the intricacies of complex politics without either info-dumping or causing intense boredom.  Turner does this beautifully, presenting the situation naturally.  I adore stories where you get to see all sides of a conflict, understand that there is no true ‘bad guy’, and see the strategic motivations of all involved.

Of course, the character of Eugenides, as well as the other characters in the cast, gain much more depth in this second book.  I love Eddis, she reminds me so much of Mercedes Lackey’s Selenay that I just want to hug her and be best friends forever.  Eugenides balks against all stereotypes of thieves created by other works–he doesn’t come from a broken home, he’s not riff-raff or street trash, he is nobility in his own right and holds a very respected position among his countrymen.  Unlike The Thief, which was told entirely from Eugenides’s point of view, The Queen of Attolia offers us an array of perspectives, including that of (surprise!) the Queen of Attolia, who must deal with the consequences of Eugenides’s capture and punishment while balancing the snakes lurking within her own court.

Alas, much like The Thief I am reticent to say too much about the story lest I give anything away, but I’m sure that at some point I will need to make a stand alone post meant specifically for those who have read the books!Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  Like anything could stop me.  I hear The King of Attolia is the best in the series, and I cannot wait.

Recommended for:  Um…everyone?  I think if I were going to buy this series for any one person, I’d give it to my childhood best friend, Raegan.  I know she’d love it.

Real life repercussions of reading this book: I love that MWT distinguishes between grins and smiles.  I had never thought about this subtlety before, but it’s certainly changed the way I view facial expressions!


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  1. Angiegirl says:

    Whoa. You mentioned Selenay! Soulsister.Also, this is one of the best books EVER. That ending?! *dies*

  2. Heidi says:

    I know! I just want to gush about it, but don't want to be all spoilery and stuff. But seriously. The last page? KILLED ME. So good!

  3. I've been so hesitant to comment on your awesome reviews of this series because while I LIKED these first two books A LOT (I haven't read any further than The Queen of Attolia), I didn't LOVE LOVE LOVE them like you do. (Please don't throw things at me!) To be honest, I'm not sure why either, because they couldn't sound MORE like books that I would adore. I think maybe my expectations were so insanely off-the-charts high that no book could have possibly lived up to them. I'm thinking that I'm going to give them another shot because they really do appeal to me, and EVERYONE loves them.

  4. Heidi says:

    Dude, it's totally OKAY to not love something that everyone else loves! I expected them to be good, but story-wise I had no expectations because I didn't know that much about them. I think that helped take me by surprise a bit, and I love when things are unexpected. I just finished a book where I was disappointed because my expectations had been so high, and I was also coming down from an amazing read. I think timing, mood, and expectations all come into play in your enjoyment of a book.

  5. janicu says:

    I loved KING best, but I think my husband had a different opinion of his favorite. It seems to vary. :) I tried to pace myself when I started reading them and it didn't really happen. It sort of pleases me to see you reading one after the other. Have you started THE KING OF ATTOLIA yet?

  6. Heidi says:

    Yes! I'm done with King actually, but haven't started Conspiracy yet. I think King is my favorite, but The Thief is also up there because to me it was the most unexpected.

  7. janicu says:

    I sometimes feel like I change my mind about what my favorite was. I hear ya about THE THIEF.

  8. Chachic says:

    Yay! So glad you loved this one. Excellent non-spoilery review, by the way. My favorites in the series are QoA and KoA, they're also the ones that I've reread the most (my most recent reread was during Queen's Thief Week). So, so, so. Will I be seeing a Melina Marchetta review on your blog a few weeks from now? 😛

  9. Heidi says:

    Thanks, Chachic! And I hope so. Have to finish Sloppy Firsts and read Iron Daughter off my Kindle before I can turn my wireless back on and lose them. 😛

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.