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A Conspiracy of Kings

A Conspiracy of Kings

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A Conspiracy of Kings

évaluations:
4.5/5 (109 évaluations)
Longueur:
315 pages
4 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 23, 2010
ISBN:
9780061986697
Format:
Livre

Description

Discover and rediscover the world of the Queen's Thief, from the acclaimed novel The Thief to the thrilling, twenty-years-in-the-making conclusion, The Return of the Thief. The epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief can be read in any order.

New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. The Queen’s Thief series is rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. The New York Times bestseller A Conspiracy of Kings won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.

After an attempted assassination and kidnapping, Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears. Those who care for him—including the thief Eugenides and the Queen of Eddis—are left to wonder if he is alive and if they will ever see him again. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans and have been honored with glowing reviews and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. 

This edition of A Conspiracy of Kings includes a conversation between bestselling author Leigh Bardugo and Megan Whalen Turner, an introduction to the characters from the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief.

Winner of the LA Times Book Award

A New York Times Bestseller

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book

A School Library Journal Best Book

“The Queen’s Thief books awe and inspire me. They have the feel of a secret, discovered history of real but forgotten lands. The plot-craft is peerless, the revelations stunning, and the characters flawed, cunning, heartbreaking, exceptional. Megan Whalen Turner’s books have a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, with space waiting for more books to come.”—Laini Taylor, New York Times-bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone novels and Strange the Dreamer

"Unforgettable characters, plot twists that will make your head spin, a world rendered in elegant detail—you will fall in love with every page of these stories. Megan Whalen Turner writes vivid, immersive, heartbreaking fantasy that will leave you desperate to return to Attolia again and again."—Leigh Bardugo, New York Times-bestselling author of The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows

“Megan Whalen Turner is one of my all-time favorite writers . . . impossible to put down.”—Holly Black, award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Modern Faerie Tale series and The Darkest Part of the Forest

“Romance, intrigue, mystery, surprises, and sheer beautiful writing.”—Cassandra Clare, award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments and Lady Midnight

“The world Turner creates is so tangible that not only do I believe in its characters, I almost believe in its gods.”—Kristin Cashore, award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series

A Conspiracy of Kings brings the sweetest, sharpest kind of reading pleasure. Megan Whalen Turner’s books are pure joy.”—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medalist and New York Times-bestselling author of When You Reach Me and Goodbye Stranger

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 23, 2010
ISBN:
9780061986697
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Megan Whalen Turner is the New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author of five stand-alone novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Return of the Thief marks her long-awaited conclusion to the epic and unforgettable story of the thief Eugenides—a story more than twenty years in the making. She has been awarded a Newbery Honor and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. She has twice been a finalist for the Andre Norton Award and won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. www.meganwhalenturner.org

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A Conspiracy of Kings - Megan Whalen Turner

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PROLOGUE

THE king of Attolia was passing through his city, on his way to the port to greet ambassadors newly arrived from distant parts of the world. The king was a newcomer and a foreigner, king only by virtue of a political marriage to the queen of Attolia and still unfamiliar to most Attolians. They massed along the Sacred Way to see him for themselves, as well as to cheer their queen, who rode beside him in the open coach. One member of the crowd, a young man with a broken nose, a lip twisted by scar tissue, and dirty clothes that combined to suggest a person of violent and criminal habits, had a particular need to get close. He was in the company of an older man, unscarred, but no less shabby, who boosted him up the side of a stone street marker that labeled the intersection of the Sacred Way and one of the larger cross streets.

Lift your right foot up another few inches. There’s a chip out of the corner. Yes, that’s it. Are you secure? Can you see?

Yes, I am set, and I can see. Stop nagging, said the younger man. With one foot on a narrow ledge and the other pressed against the chipped indentation, he was high enough to wrap his left hand around the narrow top of the marker. From this vantage point, he could see easily over the heads of the people gathered in the streets, and with a good grip for one hand, he had the other free. They had chosen the marker the day before because it offered a view up a long straight stretch of the Sacred Way and he would have plenty of time to aim.

The crowds were growing thicker. The talk was loud, some of it the usual complaints about the cost of cooking oil and good wine, and the behavior of the young these days; some of it about the new king. One and all disparaged his Eddisian background, but a few grudging supporters mentioned his rumored love for their queen in his favor. Such romantic stories were dismissed as foolish by the more outspoken, but a few expressions softened. Latecomers eyed the position on the street marker, but the older man defended the approach to it with the unwitting assistance of a portly woman and her gaggle of small children. They blocked the access of those who might have thought they could share the high ground or force the occupier of it to relinquish his spot. The only danger came from one or two of the small children who tried to climb up. The younger man stepped on a few fingers and apologized perfunctorily. The woman gave him a dirty look but pulled her children down. As the commotion uphill signaled the approach of the royal procession, the children’s father appeared, pushing his way through the crowd, wiping his hands on his dirty smock as he came. He swept up two of the smallest of the children to his shoulders, and they all watched for the arrival of the carriage bearing the king and queen.

The young man, with his free hand, dipped into his pocket and then lifted his hand to his mouth. He lowered his hand again but this time took a thin tube from the other man standing below.

The king was visible now, sitting upright in the carriage beside the queen. The carriage drew closer. The young man clinging to the street marker took his aim, waited for the right moment, and with a concentrated puff of air, fired the shot.

The pea hit the king on the cheek. He didn’t react, and the small pellet dropped out of sight into his lap. He tilted his head to murmur something to his wife, the queen. His assailant waved and shouted the king’s name, just like everyone else in the crowd, and when the king looked up, his eyes passed over his attacker without pause.

The royal carriage rolled by. The young man dropped from the stele.

Did you hit him? the older man asked.

Yes, said the younger.

Did he see you?

If he did, he didn’t recognize me.

His companion looked grim. We’d better go, he said just as a woman’s voice said more loudly, He did what?

Both of them turned a little too quickly to see the mother of the brood of children with her hand on the littlest one’s shoulder, the boy clutching her skirts. Who did what now? asked the father wearily. But the woman wasn’t angry with her son.

He says that one—up there on the stele—he shot something at the king and hit him in the face, she said. Her words drew unwelcome attention from those within hearing. Other heads turned toward them.

I did not— The young man tried to deny the accusation, but the woman was having none of his protest, and his denial was abbreviated by a stinging smack from the older man, who then seized him by the upper arm and shook him so hard his teeth rattled.

I cannot believe you! the man shouted. And what your mother will say, I don’t know. He swore with venom and then apologized to the brood mother. My nephew, he explained, he breaks his poor mother’s heart. The mother nodded warily, only partly satisfied.

I never— said the younger man sullenly, only to be shaken again.

You’ll shut your mouth and come home with me, snarled his companion.

The youth allowed himself to be dragged off, followed by the approving nods of the witnesses, and complaining bitterly to his uncle that he’d done nothing at all wrong. The two men turned down the first cross street they reached and out of sight of the crowd began to walk faster, the older man still pulling the younger along by the arm.

You know, I don’t think you’re allowed to treat me like this, the younger pointed out woefully. The older man laughed.

Gods protect us, he said, we can only hope the little monster isn’t telling them right now that I handed you the peashooter.

They both glanced back. A small crowd of shadowy figures, black against the sunlit street, appeared around the corner behind them, the silhouettes of their skirts and smocks easy to identify.

He told them, said the younger man.

Faster, said the elder, and the two broke into a run. Pursued by shouts, they raced down the street and around another corner, and skidded to an abrupt halt, face to face with a squad of the Royal Guard.

Back! Back! the older man shouted, revealing, in his alarm, a Sounisian accent previously concealed. But their retreat was already cut off by the people behind them. Through that crowd came another squad of soldiers. Murmuring grew at the sight of the Guard, the two men’s transgression exaggerated with each retelling. It was a poison dart they shot at the king! they heard a voice shout from the crowd.

There was a narrow space between two apartment houses, but it was only an alcove to a door. The older man pushed the younger in and turned to face the soldiers. The accent of Sounis now clear in his voice, he warned them, Your king doesn’t want us dead.

Hours later they sat locked in a dark cell under the palace. At last they heard a door somewhere open with a bang and a light set of footsteps approaching, followed by several more sets of footsteps, all heavier, but moving as fast. The younger man jumped to his feet, but the older, who stepped between him and the door, was first to see the face of the king of Attolia when it opened.

We are uninjured, the magus of Sounis quickly reassured him.

Thank the gods, said the king. I thought to find you black and blue.

Indeed, we thought the same, said the magus. He exchanged a look with his companion that made them both laugh, and he welcomed the king into his arms for a mutually crushing embrace.

I cannot stay, I am between audiences, said Eugenides, king of Attolia. All the embassies from the Continent seem to have arrived at the same time. With Eddis here as well, we are scheduled every moment. He looked at their shabby clothes in puzzlement.

We were traveling anonymously for safety— explained the magus.

But surely—

—and then we were robbed on the road.

Ah, said the king, the danger in being anonymous. Your novel approach made me think secrecy must be important, so I told my captain nothing but that you were to be conveyed quickly and quietly. I just learned that he had seen you shooting peas in my face, and I am relieved not to find the two of you hanging by your thumbs.

Your Majesty, someone called from beyond the door, we must go.

Yes, said the king before turning back to the magus. They will take you up to a room where you can get clean, and perhaps have a view. He looked around the tiny stone-walled room. I will give credit to Teleus on safety, at least.

The young man at the back of the cell snorted at that. The king stepped around the magus to hug him fiercely. He then released him but didn’t step away. Looking up, he examined the scarring on his lip that lifted it into a slight sneer, and the broken nose. My god, you’ve been in the wars. Once you are clean and have had some rest, I will want to hear all about where you have been and why. He pulled the younger man’s head down and kissed him solidly on his forehead, saying seriously, Gods-all, I am glad to see you safe, Sophos.

The young man smiled back. Sounis, he said, just as someone called from the door.

The king looked away and then back, as if uncertain that he had heard correctly. What?

I am Sounis, said the young man. My uncle is dead.

All the king’s happiness was wiped away. You’re joking? he suggested.

Bewildered, the younger king shook his head. No, I am Sounis. He meant to make a remark about keeping a visiting king locked in a cellar, but his own happiness faltered.

Your Majesty, please, the man in the passage called again. The king of Attolia looked to the door, and then at the magus, and then at the magus’s former apprentice, the new king of Sounis.

I’m sorry, he said, and clearly meant it. He grasped the younger man briefly by the sleeve, said I am sorry again, and was gone, leaving the magus of Sounis and his king standing alone, with the open door of their cell before them.

Sounis turned to the magus. He cannot think that I cared about my uncle?

I think he was delighted to see you safe, said the magus, and grieved that the next time you meet, it must be as king and king and not as friends.

I hope that I will always be his friend, said Sounis.

I know that he hopes so as well, the magus assured him. But now, let us follow our escort to a bath, if you please, and some food. You will need your strength, I think, to answer many questions about where you have been and what has become of you, since they saw you last.

CHAPTER ONE

MY father sacked another tutor. I see that doesn’t surprise you at all. Terve was my eighth. The magus had been my seventh. My father and my uncle who was Sounis had sent me to Letnos with Terve to separate me from the magus after the ground-shaking set-to the three of them had had after my private correspondence was discovered. Terve was an old army veteran. He was to teach me riding and sword and military history and the hell with anything else. I didn’t really mind. I liked Terve, and he didn’t get in the way of my real studies. What he mainly did was drink and tell war stories. In the mornings he oversaw my sword training from a stump in the training yard with a wineskin in his lap, tending to be overgenerous in his praise, unlike all my previous tutors, shouting things like, A natural! A natural! in between swallows of wine.

I did some riding on my own, though not with any real discipline, and in the afternoon I studied as I pleased. By that time Terve was well into his second amphora and would lie on a couch in the study. He might suddenly shout, You’re being attacked by six men with swords! or something similar, and I would have to come up with a plan for my defense. He would pick apart my answers and then drift off into another war story until, eventually, he fell asleep. He was there, snoring quietly, when my father arrived to check on my progress.

Terve was immediately replaced. A soldier from my father’s guard was assigned to teach me sword work, and a hateful, condescending bully named Sigis Malatesta was my new tutor—from the Peninsula, as you can tell by the name, supposedly educated at the University in Ferria. He had accompanied my father to Letnos, so my father must have had some idea of replacing Terve even before he found him on the couch, though perhaps not with so much shouting.

I have no idea what my father saw in Malatesta. In the normal run of things, he doesn’t give a bent pin for learning, but he’d met Malatesta at the court of Sounis, and I suspect that he thought hiring Malatesta would be a poke in the eye for the magus, whom he has never liked. Years ago he sent me to be the magus’s apprentice with the explicit hope that the magus’s razor tongue would be the end of my intellectual pretensions. When that didn’t work out as he intended, it only made him dislike the magus more.

Of course the magus had long since left Sounis, stolen away in the night by the Thief of Eddis, though my uncle didn’t know who was responsible at first. I’d heard rumors, which I didn’t believe for a minute, that the magus was an Attolian spy who’d fled the city when he was about to be discovered. I was not surprised at all to learn subsequently that it had been Eugenides at work. By the time Malatesta came, I was positive the magus was busily tramping around the mountains of Eddis, collecting botanical specimens and enjoying his captivity as a prisoner of the queen of Eddis. I am quite sure he was not suffering any distress because I had a new tutor.

I hated Malatesta. He could barely manage the multiplication of greater numbers, and he didn’t know any prime over thirteen. He’d never read the Eponymiad, but he tried to pretend he had. I doubt very much he’d ever set foot in a seminar at the University in Ferria. He’d studied no medicine and no natural history. The only thing he’d read was poetry. That should have made us friends, but I hated his taste in poetry, too. Where he admired the sweet and the overwrought, I liked the Eponymiad.

My mother knew how I felt, of course. She and my sisters sympathized with me, but there was little they could do. My mother would never act against my father’s judgment, no matter how poorly she thought of Malatesta. If my father had stayed at the villa longer than a day, she might have changed his opinion, drawing him into alignment with her own as invisibly as a magnet works on a lodestone, but my father had been gone within a day of installing my new tutor.

I knew that it made my mother sad to see my distress, so I hid it as well as I could. I also knew that with the slightest encouragement, Ina and Eurydice would have filled Malatesta’s bed with bees. They are delicate girls, so small in stature, and fine-boned like my mother, that I can still lift both of them with one hand. You could be forgiven for thinking them the incarnation of every ladylike grace, but my father has had frequent cause to swear that they got the spine so notably absent in me. A bed full of bees wasn’t going to get rid of Malatesta; only my father could do that. The bees would only make him more spiteful, so I tried not to encourage the girls.

The one person I did complain to, and at length, was Hyacinth, my single friend on the island of Letnos. He lived in a villa nearby and came down to visit almost every day, arriving as my mother and sisters were rising from their afternoon rest, his visits therefore coinciding with their afternoon meal. On the rare occasions that he was late, Eurydice always saved him a cake.

He was my only companion of my own age, and I should have been more grateful to have him, but it was hard to be grateful for Hyacinth. His father was a patron with a property of only medium size, holding few of the king’s responsibilities, and Hyacinth was gratified to consider himself a friend of the heir to Sounis. He was always smiling and always eager to please. Everything I said he agreed with, which was trying, and his flute playing would make the deaf wince, but I think the real problem with Hyacinth was that he reminded me of myself. He read poetry. He flinched at loud noises. In addition to having no musical skills, he had no martial skills. He avoided any situation that might require a physical effort on his part. Seeing him, I found it no wonder that my father despised me.

Yet I was his companion, and he mine, and when Malatesta beat me, I went to him for sympathy. Oh, yes, I was taller than Malatesta by inches, and long since old enough to be considered a man, but my tutor was still switching me across the palms of my hands and leaving painful blisters there. And I was still sniffing back tears of rage and humiliation like a big baby. Especially so, when I was switched for insisting that burn did not rhyme with horn or that I couldn’t produce any factors for 31 or 43. Malatesta used to say things that even he knew were wrong and then watch me in contempt when I let them pass, too cowed to contradict him.

While I was failing to manage my own petty problems, my uncle who was Sounis was dealing with greater ones. After the sabotage of his fleet in its own harbor, he’d jumped into war with Attolia without hesitation. The magus would have counseled him otherwise, but the magus, as you know, was whisked away before he could counsel anything. Then Sounis discovered it was Eddis who was responsible for both the destruction of his ships and the disappearance of his valuable advisor, and he started a new war without any more forethought. He was confident, I think, of success over both Eddis and Attolia right up until the world heard that the Thief of Eddis had stolen the queen of Attolia and meant to marry her.

When the stars aligned in that very unexpected way, my uncle was at a loss. Together, Attolia and Eddis were far more powerful than they were alone. He was overmatched, and everyone knew it. There were more rumors each day. The maids picked up news from who knows where and retold it to Ina and Eurydice, who carried it to Mother and me. My mother scolded them for listening to gossip, but she never insisted they stop.

One morning at breakfast Ina said, Our uncle has agreed to marry the cousin of the queen of Eddis.

Your uncle who is Sounis? my mother said, gently reminding Ina of the honorific.

Indeed, said Ina, not touching on the unspoken truth that only one of our uncles, the king of Sounis, survived. They say her name is Agape.

I should have been glad that it might mean peace among our three countries, but my pleasure was more selfish. My uncle had given up his pursuit of Eddis. He would marry someone else and might soon produce an heir. My mother warned me not to put faith in rumors, but I was quite filled with hope.

I wrote to my father, as politely as I knew how, to say that my sword work was improved and that I was sick of poetry (sick of Malatesta’s, at least). With a marriage to the queen’s cousin Agape planned, there would soon be a much more appropriate heir to replace me, and could I please come back to the mainland? I prayed to the household gods to save me from one more day on Letnos. Within a day of sending the letter, like an idiot in an old wives’ tale, I got what I asked for.

I was crossing the courtyard of the villa, and it was as if one of Terve’s lessons had come to life. He may as well have been there, shouting, You are suddenly attacked by fifteen men; what are you going to do? Only they weren’t a product of Terve’s imagination; they were real men, cutting down the guards at the front gate and streaming into the courtyard of the villa.

Terve’s first question: Where’s your weapon? My sword of course was in my room, upstairs at the back of the main house and as useless to me as if it had been on the moon. The men were spreading out across the courtyard toward all entrances to the house, and by the time I got to my rooms to fetch my sword it would be too late to do anything with it. Terve’s sword, I was almost certain, was still in my study under the couch where my father had thrown it in disgust when he’d seen its condition. Malatesta had taken control of my study and my books, allowing me in only for his insipid lessons; he didn’t know that the sword was there, and I doubted that the servants would have moved it. None of the armed men racing across the courtyard was headed for the study, which was just opposite from where I stood, its door open to the courtyard.

My feet were moving in that direction before my head had finished reaching a decision. The study had a door and a window. I jumped through the open window because it was faster and fell to the stone floor on my stomach, scrabbling in the dust under the couch until my hand closed on a stiff leather strap. I dragged the sword free of its sheath with difficulty and turned, still on my knees, as a man filled the doorway. Coming from light into the dark, he was looking ahead of him, not down toward me. My lunge, as I came to my feet, took him in the chest as I drove the sword upward with the strength of my legs. Even rusted, the sword slid through him, and I found, for the first time, how easy it is to kill a man.

Astonished, I pulled the sword free and immediately plunged it into the man behind him, who had as little warning as his fellow. I hit bone that time, but the man’s momentum drove him onto the point. It was harder to draw the sword out, but I pulled mightily, desperate to get it free.

Terve’s second question: What are you going to do with the weapon? I knew what I meant to do: defend my mother and my sisters.

The villa on Letnos is typical, with the courtyard formed on three sides by buildings of a single story—my study was on one side, close to the house. My father’s study was on the opposite. In between, facing into the courtyard, were the dormitories, the stables, and the kitchen, as well as the office of the steward and the officer of the guard.

The fourth side of the courtyard was the main house, with a porch on the uppermost story for the women’s rooms. There was a stair in the wall that led to the roofs of the lower buildings, and a drain tile, I knew, that offered a handhold for a climb from the lower roofs to the porch. I’d taken that route before when my father was looking for me and I was avoiding him. If I hurried, I thought I might beat the men who were already

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  • (4/5)
    The fourth installment of the Queen’s Thief fantasy series is called A Conspiracy of Kings and features as it’s main character Sophos, the heir to the Kingdom of Sounis. As civil war erupts in his country armed men arrive at the villa that houses himself, his mother and sisters. He escapes by selling himself into slavery and when the opportunity comes he escapes and finds his way to the country of Attolia and seeks the aid of his friend Eugenides, the King of Attolia. Sophos and Eugenides, along with both the Queen of Attolia and the Queen of Eddis hatch a plot to see Sophos placed on the throne and recover control of his country.I have loved all the books in this series, and A Conspiracy of Kings may just be my favorite one so far. Sophos is much more transparent than Eugenides as well as being painfully honest and not entirely sure if he should be the King of Sounis. He matures and develops over the course of the book, also his romance with the Queen of Eddis is downplayed but nevertheless is one that I was rooting for. I know there are two more books in the series, and I expect that these books will deal with the upcoming showdown between these three small kingdoms and the Empire of Mede and I, for one, can hardly wait to see what happens next.
  • (4/5)
    A Conspiracy of Kings is the fourth book in the Queen’s Thief series, and I would suggest you at least read books two and three beforehand – The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. While plot of the fourth book mostly stands alone, there’s a lot of background politics going on that it would be useful to have read some of the previous books for.Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, reappears unexpectedly in Attolia. Where has he been all this time? A Conspiracy of Kings tells the story of Sophos’s adventure and the beginnings of his rule as king.The series is often classified as YA, but aside from the shorter length and the lack of “adult content,” it’s not very different from most non-YA second world fantasy novels. Actually there is one major difference: there’s no magic as such in this series. However, the gods of the kingdoms to appear to actually exist to some extent and the main characters may have meaningful dreams or receive divine assistance.The overarching story of the series has been the Mede Empire threatening from across the sea. Due to the existence of the Great Powers on the continent, the Medes cannot attack Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia directly unprovoked. But in A Conspiracy of Kings, the Medes have taken advantage of a rebellion within Sounis to play for power.Sophos has always been more interested in poetry and philosophy than ruler ship, but the events of A Conspiracy of Kings will force him to take responsibility and make some hard choices. To what lengths will he go to protect his country from the Medes?While The Queen of Attolia remains my favorite novel in the series, I thought A Conspiracy of Kings was definitely a solid installment. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes thoughtful, character based fantasy.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (5/5)
    The premise: ganked from publisher's website: Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, has disappeared without a trace. Eugenides, the new and unlikely king of Attolia, has never stopped wondering what happened to his friend. Nor has the Queen of Eddis, who once offered Sophos her hand. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again.Battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Across the sea, a ruthless empire watches for even the slightest weakness. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Until, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the magus -- and Eddis -- Sophos sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.My Rating: Couldn't Put It DownI'm still amazed that I had such an adverse reaction to book two, The Queen of Attolia, because I'm such an avid and devoted reader of the series now. It's a telling sign that while reading an installment for the first time, that I want to go BACK to the beginning and re-read the series all over again from the start, and I definitely want to do that with Turner's Queen's Thief series. Once it wraps up, and I have no idea if this is the last book (surely not!), or if Turner's got another title or two up her sleeve. But I utterly enjoy reading her work, exploring her worlds, and watching how characters interact with each other and how those interactions have so much weight politically for these books. I'm so glad I'm finally caught up on this series, and if there's going to be more, I cannot wait to read it.Spoilers, yay or nay?: Nay. There's really not much for me to spoil, as I'm spending too much time marveling over this series. If you want the full review, just click the link below, which goes to my blog. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. REVIEW: Megan Whalen Turner's A CONSPIRACY OF KINGSHappy Reading!
  • (4/5)
    A Conspiracy of Kings has a different tone from the rest of the series – the first person POV is back (although not completely), and Sophos is back, after all, this is his story.In this book we get to know what happened to Sophos, whose fate has been mentioned and speculated in the previous book. And since it is Sophos himself who tells it, we see who he really is, not just the innocent blushing boy from The Thief. And since that book his life has not been easy. First his uncle, the King of Sounis, decides that the magus is not a suitable tutor (for his purposes, of course), then comes exile to island of Letnos and a whole string of tutors who are bad, drunk, silly, idiot or any combination of those. But that is not the worse part, when Sounis dies, Sophos becomes king, and everyone knows he is spineless and gullible, so everyone wants to be the one pulling his strings. First comes abduction and betrayal, then Sophos manages to escape only to become a slave, and then he has to escape again, while trying to decide whether he actually wants to be king.This book is divided in four parts, two of those narrated by Sophos (and it takes a while to become apparent to whom he is telling his story), and the other two, when the gang (as I call Gen, Attolia, Eddis and Sophos) is all together. Sophos's story is brilliant, poignant, and very true to his character. One cannot help but feel for him. But there is also his relationship with the other characters. Attolia, the one he has had less contact with was actually surprising – I could see the beginning of a friendship there. With Gen, it was heartbreaking, because he is no longer just a rowdy boy thief, he is king, of a rival country, one that is at war with his. And since this is Sophos story, we don't get much of Gen's inner feelings, only glimpses, and at first he comes across way too cold.And then there is Eddis, who once proposed marriage to him, only now there are a lot more political trappings with that marriage. For once, I wished Megan Whalen Turner focused more on the love stories of her characters (a character in The King of Attolia says "the love of kings and queens is beyond the compass of us lesser mortals", and it's certainly true for this series). Even more, because in the light of the ending, Eddis's feelings don't sound as true as they could have (I know they are true, but still...).Overall it was a very good book, mostly because of Sophos development (who, in my mind, already is Sounis), who is a great character, and thus making up for the fact that there is less Gen (and less than stellar Gen). But I expected more of the ending. It wasn't bad, but I was under the impression this was going to be the last book of the series (now I know there are plans for two more, yay!), and as such it lacked the grand finale vibe. Still, it was a decent ending, with a promise of more adventures to come.Also at Spoilers and Nuts
  • (4/5)
    Enjoyable, but not as compelling as the previous book in the series the King of Attolia. Solid addition the story arc.
  • (5/5)
    Summary: War has come to the kingdom of Sounis, and Sophos, the reluctant heir to the king, is kidnapped and enslaved. As he grows and toughens, he realizes that in order to bring peace to Sounis, he needs the help of his old friend Eugenides, the King of Attolia.Review: I love this series. Love, love, love. I’ve had [A Conspiracy of Kings] pre-ordered since the moment I found out that Megan Whalen Turner was writing another book. I could gush on and on, but I’ll actually try to say something intelligent, haha.Megan Whalen Turner is a writer’s writer. A master of the craft. She writes slowly (painfully slow, her fans would say!), but her every word seems deliberate and subtle, nuclear-packed with information. I often had to go back because there was a crucial piece of information hidden in a passage I had foolishly overlooked. Just as often I reread passages to savour the way Turner builds hugely important moments out of ordinary material. Just a word here, a look there, and the story becomes richer than if there were pages and pages of explanation.And the characters! All of them very human and yet very enigmatic. Turner’s POV is so, so tight, and she makes you realize how constrained and limited it is, especially in this book where she shifts from Sophos/Sounis’ first person narration to the third person omniscient. It hurt a bit to see Sophos grow from the rather naive boy we met in the first book to a king who has to make tough decisions. I wasn’t sure if I would like a Sophos-centric book when my favourite characters of the series have always been Gen and Irene. But Sophos turned out to be capable of the same steely resolve and tender vulnerability. The scene with him in the amphitheater of Elisa? I was clutching my chest!And I love, have always loved, the hardness of this series. How queens and kings cannot always be good people, though they may try. How loving someone does not mean an absence of cruelty. How people are not so much born great as they are forced by necessity to be great, because they want to save their country, their family, their friends.Conclusion: Squeeeeee.
  • (3/5)
    In this instalment of the Queen's Thief series, Sophos' adventures take over the continuing saga of the fight against the Mede. His evolution towards an autonomous kingship develops as he becomes a more decisive leader.The saga of Sophos as a slave was an interesting development. His thoughts about this simple, though harsh life, show how ambivalent he was about his royal status. His eventual escape and return to Attolia for help in regaining his kingdom when he finds out his uncle died was a bit convoluted. Megan W. Turner writes well but I find her "Thief series" (other than Book 1) becomes entrenched in trivial detail that drags down the narrative about halfway through. However, since I have so much fun reading about Gen's participation in the life and times of these adventures, I look forward to the next book, Thick as thieves.
  • (4/5)
    Before reading this book, I made the conscious decision to not read the first 3 books in this series. This book received 5 starred reviews and has been discussed as a possible Printz nominee or winner. Therefore, I wanted to see whether or not this book could be read and understood without having read the previous books.Unfortunately, it does not. Although the book is excellent, I felt that I was lost and confused much of the time without having read the other books. Whalen Turner is a great author and this book definitely made me want to read the other books. However, because one of the Printz criteria is that a book in a series must stand alone, I don't think this book meets that criteria. However, if you have read the 3 previous books, I definitely think this one won't disappoint!
  • (4/5)
    Children's Books Too Cool for SchoolI'm going to have to get this out of the way right up front: I was disappointed when I finished this book. It was about 2 am, I was slap-happy, and I kept waiting for Megan Whalen Turner to leave me with my jaw on the floor, as she did in her previous books. Since the last Attolia novel managed to surprise me by making me think I had already been surprised, I guess the next clever trick was to surprise me by not surprising me at all. SURPRISE!So, Attolia addicts be warned: There is no "WOW!" moment in this book.After a few hours sleep and further reflection, I decided not to be disappointed after all. Because this book can stand proud next to any of the other Attolia novels in terms of the quality writing, fast-paced storyline, complex politics, and everything else that has made the Attolia novels some of my favorite reads since I first encountered them a few years ago.Here's what you do have: The pleasure of meeting with Sophos again. Sophos is a great character, although, admittedly, a little pitiful.He's smart, loves to read, and is very introspective. So, of course, he is expected to fight, council and read. He is still very much a boy.A Conspiracy of Kings gives us the chance to watch him become a man, and none of that experience is boring. There are several interesting, distinct phases here, but none of them drag. As usual with an Attolia novel, there is a good constant sense of suspense and mystery.Whalen Turner also continues her tradition of playing with narrative structure. The first part of the novel is told from the first-person perspective of Sophos to an unknown listener... just one of the many fun mysteries for the reader to ponder. Then the we get a chance to delve a little into the minds and motivations of others with a 3rd person semi-omniscient perspective. The narration eventually is given to Sophos again, and concludes in 3rd person. Thankfully, Whalen Turner is skilled at this, so it becomes fascinating rather than confusing.All in all, this is a fine Attolia novel, even if it will never be my favorite. More to the point, it was nice to just relish being in that world again. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Great for all genders.
  • (4/5)
    It’s easy to find something to say about a thing you hated, because usually you hated one particular thing or another. It’s also easy to talk about things you liked, because you usually liked one particular thing or another.

    I’ve always found it hard to say something about things that I truly, deeply love. Things that have no faults in my mind. Things that don’t have a favorite part, because the whole thing is my favorite part. My favorite books are always the ones I have the least words for, and it never ceases to frustrate me.

    But, having finished the four books that are currently out, and having found a new favorite series and author in the process, I felt I needed to say something.

    This review covers my thoughts on every book in the series, because for some strange reason that felt like the right way to do this, even though that’s not something I’ve ever seen anyone do before. I’ve been sure to include spoiler tags though, so don’t worry.

    The Thief (4.5/5)

    The first book is a cute little fantasy story about a thief and an artifact as old as the gods themselves that he’s tasked with stealing in order to gain his freedom after he’s caught bragging about a royal seal he stole right from under a king’s nose.

    It draws heavily on Greek mythology and culture, and the setting is directly inspired by Greece, as said by the author herself. It’s an interesting aesthetic that you don’t see a lot in fantasy. It also has a great plot twist at the end that makes you rethink everything you’ve just read.


    The Queen of Attolia (5/5)

    In book two Megan changes it up. Instead of a first person narration from the point of view of our thief, Gen, it’s switched to third person. This was a smart move, because the second book is deeper and wider than the previous. Focusing on complex political situations between the three countries introduced in the first book and a potential invader from outside their borders.

    This results in multiple viewpoint characters such as the queens of Attolia and Eddis, and all are equally interesting. The main character, Gen, suffers the loss of his dominant hand early on and it takes him a while to work through, but his character arc is both magnificent and enthralling. He basically accepts his handicap and the fact that there’s always going to be certain things he can’t do, but realizes that his mind is his greatest asset, and so goes from, “I can steal anything” to, “I can plan anything” and becomes a general and tactician without compare. In the end he comes up with a plan to steal the queen of Attolia herself, right out from under the noses of her guards in her own Megaron. So freaking cool.

    In order to provide political stability and stave off the threat of the Mede, Gen gains the queen of Attolia’s hand in marriage, creating an alliance between Atollia and Eddis. He does this first through cunning, then through honest, heartfelt love. It’s a romance that’s unique, complex, and doesn’t feel tacked on as so many romance subplots in books often can.


    The King of Attolia (5/5) (Personal Favorite)

    I think the thing I like the most about this series is how each book continues Gen’s story, but doesn’t repeat it. The second book completely switches the point of view it’s told in, because that was the only way it could work. That’s how different it was. While the third book isn’t quite that different, it does feel almost like a different genre. Gone is Gen’s angst and military strategies. Instead we get courtroom conspiracies and assassination attempts as a kingdom rejects its new king and the king strains against his new responsibilities, all the while fixing the country’s biggest political issues the only way he knows how—by being clever, ruthless, and a better liar than everyone else.

    The most interesting thing about this book is that we, as readers, are mostly viewing events from the point of view of a guard named Costis. Early on he punches Eugenides in the face in a moment of anger and rather than executing him, Gen makes him one of his personal guard.

    Costis, of course, doesn’t know that Gen and Attolia really love each other. He doesn’t know Gen isn’t as incompetent (quite the opposite, in fact) as he appears, or that he’s fixing Attolia’s corrupt government in his own, secret way. He finds out slowly, just like us, and the way his view of the king changes over the course of the book is fascinating.

    One of my favorite things in fiction is when somebody is underestimated, and then that moment when the person who did the underestimating sees how wrong they truly were. That happens constantly in this book, as Costis and the rest of the Attolians get small glimspes behind the mask of an incompetent, flippant king that they despise and see the real man underneath—the cunning, ruthless, former Queen’s Thief of Eddis. The man who can steal anything, even a queen and a country. Even political stability. Even the hearts and minds of a people who hated him since his first day on the throne.


    A Conspiracy of Kings (4/5)

    Remember Sophos? That timid kid that joined Gen for his first adventure with the Magus, way back in book one? Yeah, I kind of forgot about him too, seeing as how he made no appearances past the first book, but Megan wanted to make sure we didn’t forget about him for too long. He is the heir to Sounis, after all, which is I guess kind of important.

    This book is more similar to the first book in the series in both story and structure than the previous two books were. It’s back to first-person perspective instead of third (technically three small portions of the book at the beginning, middle, and end are written in third), as we, the readers, as well as Gen are told Sophos’ story from his own lips (you may remember some off-hand comments about him disappearing during the last book The King of Attolia. Well now you get to know exactly what happened, starting with his kidnapping, the death of his entire family, and a beating to the face so bad it permanently disfigures him. Yay?).

    Unfortunately Sophos is not as interesting as Gen, and I found the beginning of the story (which deals with his kidnap, escape, and time serving as a slave) to be pretty boring. About a hundred pages in things finally start to pick up and from then on it becomes a pretty good book. The first-person switches to third when we catch up to Sophos in the palace of Attolia as he tries to get Gen to agree to help him take back his country. Unfortunately Gen isn’t as helpful as he expected, and he makes him pledge his loyalty to Attolia. But nonetheless he does give him some soldiers, some advice, and sends him on his way. The book then switches back to first-person from Sophos’ perspective again and becomes mostly a military strategy book as Sophos recounts how he managed to win the loyalty of his barons and drive back an army of ten thousand Medes. It was pretty cool, if a bit too drawn out and technical for my taste.

    In the end Sophos marries Eddis, thus joining the three countries together so that they can finally be united against a potential Mede invasion (which will probably happen since Sophos shot a Mede ambassador).

    All in all it was a solid book. My only major problem with it was that Sophos wasn’t as interesting as Gen, so writing a book from his first-person perspective was, in my opinion, a poor choice. The switches between first and third person were a little jarring as well, and I found myself wishing the entire book was written in third, because that’s what Megan is best at, regardless of who the point of view character is. Ultimately though its worst problem is that it was a follow-up to two flawless, amazing books.

  • (5/5)
    A Conspiracy of Kings, the fourth book in Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia series, makes some serious departures from the tone of the first three books. Turner again employs her genius for different narrative voices to convey the story in the most effective way possible. We last left Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, in the hands of rebels who attacked his father's villa. In this installment, Turner picks up the thread of his story... which of course intertwines with the fates of the three small nations struggling to maintain their autonomy against the powerful Mede Empire.Be warned that this review will contain some incidental series spoilers. The Queen's Thief series has so many great twists that it's really a pity if you know about them beforehand. And if you haven't read them yet, why are you wasting time reading this review? They are, in order, The Thief (a Newbery Honor book), The Queen of Attolia (my personal favorite), The King of Attolia, and now A Conspiracy of Kings. I can't recommend them highly enough for fans of fantasy and YA fiction, and really for anyone who enjoys great characters, wry humor, and sensitive, strong prose. These books are fantastic.I found A Conspiracy of Kings to be rather grimmer than the rest of the series. There are flashes of Turner's trademark humor, most often in the wryly witty dialogue, but there is very little of the playful tone of the earlier books. Not that any of the stories are fluffy jokefests; The Queen of Attolia in particular dwells on some pretty horrific things like torture and maiming, and the first three books are all raise weighty questions of religion and royal power. But even with those heavy subjects the humor is still there, side by side with the serious things. In this story there seemed to be less of that easy companionship between the two elements, and I rather missed it.I really like what Turner does with Sophos/Sounis. In The Thief he is dubbed Useless the Younger by Gen, and as he narrates most of this story, we become intimate with his insecurities. This installment is told both in the first person (Sophos) and the third person omniscient. Turner's device of establishing characters through one narrative voice, and then letting them tell their own stories later, is very effective here. Sophos' view of Gen really isn't a surprise, but it's great to see him grow into that friendship and slowly conquer his feelings of inferiority. I wasn't sure what Turner was doing with the character of Ion; his role seems like a repeat of the Relius subplot in The King of Attolia. But it's entirely possible that I missed the subtleties there.A lot of readers will probably dislike Gen in this book. Turner is showing us that the Thief is not just a fun character who gets the better of all his enemies and lives happily and irreverently ever after. Sometimes he gets the better of his friends, characters we are rooting for, and we're forced to acknowledge once again that he is complex enough as a character to divide our feelings. I think I understand why Gen acts the way he does toward Sophos. Sophos has to grow up, learn to assert himself, and decide what kind of king he is going to be. In some ways Gen is acting like his gods — not exactly manipulating those around him, but knowing them so well that he can foresee what they will do. Interesting.The story ends with a flourish, a perfect moment paused on the screen of your imagination like the closing scene of a film. Though there is a good sense of closure with this plot, Turner has certainly left herself some fantastic material for the two more books she's planning. I especially liked how this story dovetails with Eddis' dreams of the coming volcanic eruption (first mentioned in The Queen of Attolia). That part when Eddis relates her dreams has always struck me as rather awkwardly dropped in, as a not-so-subtle hint of future plots. But it's all coming together now, and not in a way I expected. Perhaps it's just because I've been waiting for A Conspiracy of Kings for years and building all kinds of crazy expectations for it, but though it's very well written, I set it down feeling a little deflated. Disoriented might be a better word. Maybe it's just because it's new material that develops (and in developing, changes) the characters I've come to love. It's almost as if any further adventures are non-canonical somehow. This story does lack the oh-my-goodness! twist of the previous three. I suppose it would be difficult to keep pulling them out on a fan base grown wary and watchful! There is a twist, but it isn't of the shocking variety. It's memorable and well written, though.I will probably reread this book very soon and fall in love with it. But right now I'm still digesting. Disoriented, divided, and digesting — but not at all unhappy.
  • (4/5)
    Several years ago, a boy and his tutor sprang another boy from jail, to be their thief in a quest for a holy gem. Now that thief is King of Attolia, and the other little boy has become King of Sounis. Only by trusting to their friendship with each other, and by being good men and wise kings, can they defeat the Mede's invasion.

    I love the way characters are alternately revealed and concealed in these books. Gen is a spineless whiner when he meet him, revealed to be a courageous and sneaky genius, then revealed again to have a complete lack of confidence in some matters. Nothing I would have ever expected, but all completely clear in retrospect. The same with Attolia, who seemed old and cruel when I first read her, but gradually seemed younger and--well, still cruel in cases, but with good reason for her actions, and also possessed of a great sense of humor. Or Sophos, who never thinks of himself as kind or generous or brave, and yet reveals himself to be exactly those things with his every action. The characters alone would make me love these books, but they also have beautifully constructed plots and a truly unique, complex, and believable world.
  • (4/5)
    pretty great although i do wish gen was in it more but sophos was cool.
  • (5/5)
    mm
  • (3/5)
    The first third of this book is quite good, the second two thirds lapse into the histrionics of the previous two books. This book ended in such a way that makes one think that Turner plans to write another. If she does so, it is to be hoped that she'll stick with the wry humour of the first part of the book.
  • (5/5)
    Caution: Spoilers for previous books in the seriesBook Four of this series, A Conspiracy of Kings, again shifts perspective. This book is told from the point of view of Sophos, heir to the throne of the kingdom of Sounis. Sophis lacks self-esteem, has a fear of failure, and hates having expectations laid on his door. When he is captured and enslaved, he welcomes it and feels happy; he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone more than he thinks he can handle. He does feel guilty though for leaving the problems of his kingdom to others. And he thinks often of Helen, the Queen of Eddis whom he loves.Sophos gets an opportunity for redemption when his father unexpectedly shows up for dinner at the house of the Baron in whose fields Sophos works, and Sophos learns about a plot to kill his father and his men at dinner. Sophos manages to sneak in as a server and warn his father, and they escape. But not for long. Sophos, who unbeknownst to him is now eligible to be king because of the death of his uncle, is recaptured, and must figure out how to grow up and grow into his role, with help from his friends.Discussion: This fourth book, like the others, tells a heart-warming story with such winning characters that you won’t miss so much that Gen and Irene take a back-seat, albeit with revealing observations about Gen by Sophos. The characterizations, from Sophos’s fellow slaves to the self-serving, nefarious would-be advisors to the new heir, are excellent. Evaluation: This is a terrific series. For those who fear the steep learning curve of many fantasies, these books won’t put you off at all. Most of the complexity is in the characterization and relationships. The writing and pacing are excellent, and there are plenty of twists that aren’t “artificial” but rather reflect the ongoing political machinations of the actors. Female characters tend to be stronger than the males, but the males won’t disappoint you. The romances are some of the most nuanced and realistic you’ll find in YA books. Prepare to have your heart stolen!
  • (3/5)
    Maybe a bit spoilerish:I wasn’t ready for this book, maybe a bit of a reading slump unfortunately. I had thought this would be the perfect way to get back into good reading since I loved the King of Attolia. But maybe I was hoping for more Gen or even Attolia, but Sounis was not that great of a perspective to read from, at least halfway through the book. I guess the journey aspect follows through as it has throughout this series, but the abductions and running away from Sounis felt hard to believe, compared to the Sounis we met in The Thief. There wasn’t any emotional connection with him, even when he was drilling the fact that he desperately needed to find his mother and sisters (the ending when they met up at the end was underwhelming compared to how desperate he was throughout the book to know if they were alive). The book got more interesting once Sounis met up with Gen, Attolia, and Eddis after which heading out to get kidnapped again! Which is fine since this time, it was all part of the plan.I suppose you will really have to push through this book to get to the essential political controversies, which lacked in detail until halfway through the book.I kinda of loved the very last chapter though; it showed the great relationship between Gen and Sophos that we also see in the prologue/beginning chapters of the book. It bothers me greatly that we won’t be seeing Gen and Attolia until the next unpublished novel, which comes out whoknowswhen.
  • (3/5)
    Okay, I liked the first book and loved the second two. I am less fond of this one, though. The trouble is the structure. More than three quarters of it is Sophos telling his story. Less than a quarter of the entire book is *showing* rather than telling, and sadly, those are the only parts of the book that really feel alive. I wish very much that Turner had dropped the first person for Sophos' sections -- or at least dropped the storyteller conceit.

    The other problem is that while I like Sophos okay, I don't love him like I love Eugenides and Eddis. Then again, not being a twelve year old boy, I'm hardly the target demographic.

    More fannishly, this is a wonderful slashfest. I could happily offer/ask for Gen/Sophos for Yuletide because their love, while apparently platonic, is canon. *g*

    I am assuming (and hope very hard) that there will be a book 5 and that this was merely a necessary transition on the road to war against the Mede Empire. There are vast possibilities for story there, so I'm looking forward to where this series goes next. Hopefully it will have more Gen and Eddis in it.
  • (5/5)
    I made a point of not reading the blurb before starting this one and that was the best idea - what a beautiful treat to have one of my favourite characters return to narrate his part of the story. The stakes are high in this and it's all starting to come together in an astonishing way - I couldn't see where the author was going with the story as a whole before (though it certainly didn't prevent me from falling head over heels in love with the books) but it's really obvious here and the plot's heading towards an astonishing end. Perfect characterization as usual and just the right amount of twists. Very gifted storyteller. I think I'll reread this series once it's completely done and I'm already looking forward to doing that. Love love love.
  • (4/5)
    This was my least favorite of the series, but I loved the others. I enjoyed Sophos as the main character and I like him, but needed more of Gen! You really do have to start with The Thief and I highly recommend you do. (this means you Jill)
  • (3/5)
    This book is the 4th in a very good series and I read the first three at the beginning of this year. Each of these books is quite different from the others both in style and subject. Our primary character here is Sophos, heir to the Kingdom of Sounis. He played a good part in the first book in this series, "The Thief", and then he vanished. The characters in the stories and we the readers did not know what had happened to him. Now we learn his story. The prologue pulled me right back into the series and set up a nice start to the novel. After the prologue the story is told primarily as a first person narrative by Sophos that takes us back in time to early in this series and moves us to the present of the last novel. I really liked learning more about the world and the people in it. However I had difficulty sympathizing with Sophos. I found this book enjoyable and full of the surprises we have come to expect, but I think I'd rank it as the weakest of the series. That isn't a real criticism - these books are very good, esp for readers like me who prefer light fantasy rather than all the dark magic and faerie stuff. 3 - 3 1/2 stars
  • (5/5)
    After the third book I think I said these keep getting better and better. Maybe a plateau has been reached but what an impressive plateau it is. Everything about these books is so well imagined and so well portrayed it's fascinating. The characters are so very complex and yet the story is so interesting that a lot of these complexities could be overlooked and still these books would be a great work. The personalities, the psychology, the religious/mythological aspects, the politics and court behavior, the strategies, everything is just so good it's hard to describe. The Thief himself is one of the best and most well developed characters I've ever come across.

    This series has been marketed as MG and The Thief was a Newbery honor book and while I'm very happy about that I have to say that this is the most extreme examples of my being at a total loss as to how these decisions are made.
  • (5/5)
    Amazon preorder
    A "drop everything and read this" book.

    Turner's world with kings and queens and Medes, and guns and crossbows and such is a non-standard fantasy world based in a Greek sensibility and culture, but seamlessly fitted so that you don't even think about analysing it - it just fits naturally.

    Twisty, twisty, twisty yummy plotting. Once or twice I got some POV whiplash (a mixture of first and third but the whiplash is deliberate and adds to the book.)

    And people surprising themselves in their growth.

    SPOILERS


    I love the glimpse at the ongoing development of Gen's relationship with Attolia, but that Turner doesn't let that take over the story of Sophos (and the development of what goes on with Eddis)
  • (3/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    My girlfriend found this book much less compelling than the others, partially due to the relative lack of Eugenides. I have to agree to some extent, though I found it extremely easy compared to Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, which I was working on for pretty much a week. Megan Whalen Turner's writing is much easier to read, I found, if only in comparison.

    I can see how this book drags, though. Sophos is not the most brilliant of narrators, and some parts seem glossed over and idealised -- his time in captivity, working as a slave, for example -- and other parts seem to be dragged out far too long, i.e. the negotiations in Attolia. Sophos' feelings didn't really come through to me with any urgency.

    There were interesting parts, though -- the involvement of the gods, which expands the growing mythological background of this book, and struggle against the Medes. And somehow despite the faults I mentioned, it's still pretty easy to read and doesn't require mental acrobatics, without being dumbed down.

    I definitely didn't like it as much as the second and third books in this series, those.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (5/5)
    I really love this series. The shifting point of view usually bugs me but here it works really well with the story. I'm amazed at how complex the court intrigue and power struggles are. A very tight and complex story with humor and wit layered throughout. Love, love, love.
  • (3/5)
    Each of the books in this series is very different from each other, and this last was no exception.
    As Sophos' story, it was very different. I feel like this is really the only thing that the book could have been about, but I didn't quite like it as much as the others, for some reason. I'm not quite sure why, because I did like Sophos, and I was engrossed in his story, and delighted by the interactions between him and Eddis. However, when everything was revealed in the end, I felt a bit confused, like I might benefit from a re-reading.

  • (4/5)
    I've put off reviewing this book for weeks now, but I might as well spit it out. A Conspiracy of Kings is good...but it's not as good as the Thief trilogy. Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't hold that against the author - the Thief trilogy is so good it would be pretty darn hard to equal it, let alone top it. But these aren't normal circumstances, because Turner goes out of her way to remind us again and again of how much better the Thief books were. A Conspiracy of Kings is set in the same world as the Thief trilogy, and its protagonist Sophos sits squarely in Eugenides' shadow from start to finish.

    I liked Sophos, I thought his story was interesting, and the writing is excellent of course...but Eugenides (Gen) seems to be lurking in the background of every major plot twist. Gen is such a compelling character, such a scene-stealer, that his mere presence sort of dooms any book that's not directly about him. When Sophos is alone, or far from Gen, he'll ask himself, "What would Gen do?"...and when he has the opportunity, he hies off to Attolia to ask. When Gen is nearby, he dominates the story. He's in charge, he delivers the tough love, he plants the seeds of Sophos' stratagems. And when it's not Gen, it's Attolia.

    A Conspiracy of Kings kind of felt like a satellite, caught in the gravitational pull of the Thief books. I liked it - Turner has a gift, and I'll still buy anything she writes, no questions asked, but I kind of hope she either writes another book about Gen or cuts him out entirely.
  • (4/5)
    Given the other reviews and information I had read about this, I expected it to be a very dense read that took me a lot of time but instead I found it quite the page-turner and difficult to put down.

    Sophos is the heir to his kingdom's throne, but an heir who is not respected or expected to ever actually become king since it is assumed his uncle will marry. Since Sophos is a bit of a disappointment (too intellectual, not ruthless enough - I mean, he likes poetry for goodness sake!) to the current ruler, he's sent off to a country estate with his mother and sisters which suits Sophos just fine - until the raiders/kidnappers arrive. Then things start to get complicated. This is really a coming-of-age story as Sophos tries to figure out if he has what it takes to be a king and if he wants to have what it takes to be a king.

    On Heavy Medal, the mock Newbery blog I follow, there was a lot of talk about whether or not A Conspiracy of Kings stood on its own or if it was too confusing for those who hadn't read the rest of the series. This is the first Turner I've read and I had no trouble following the plot, but I suspect that my reading experience would have been richer if I'd already read the rest of the series. As it is I look forward to reading the others and then (if I can find the time) re-reading this to see what changes for me.
  • (4/5)
    This is Sopho's story, and while I enjoyed it and thought the author did a wonderful job showing his growing up, I missed Gen. The humor and close relationships between the four rulers in these books always make me happy, even though they are constantly faced with terrible decisions and little personal time together. This is another great book in the series.
  • (4/5)
    Still good. I have to remind myself of Sophos' badassery, but the lack of a few things we loved from the previous books (like more of the Gen that Sophos used to know) keeps downplaying this .

    I love these covers. Sophos looks dashing in this one.