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The Queen of Attolia

The Queen of Attolia

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The Queen of Attolia

évaluations:
4.5/5 (157 évaluations)
Longueur:
353 pages
5 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 22, 2009
ISBN:
9780061968464
Format:
Livre

Description

Revenge

When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eudenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.

...but

Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.

...at what price?

When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph--and his greatest loss--comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...

Bulletin Blue Ribbon Best of 2000 Award

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 22, 2009
ISBN:
9780061968464
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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The Queen of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

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CHAPTER ONE

HE WAS ASLEEP, BUT WOKE at the sound of the key turning in the lock. The storage room held winter linens, and no one should have been interested in it in the middle of summer, and certainly not in the middle of the night. By the time the door was open, he had slipped through a square hole in the stones of the wall and soundlessly closed the metal door that covered it. He was in the narrow tunnel that connected a stoking room to the hypocaust of a minor audience chamber down the corridor. The door he’d crawled through was intended to allow smoke into the storage room to fumigate the linens. Moving quietly, he inched down the tunnel to the open space of the hypocaust. Squat pillars held the stone floor above him. There wasn’t room to sit up, so he lay on his back and listened to the thumping noises, like drumbeats, as people hurried across the floor of the audience chamber over his head. They could only be looking for him, but he wasn’t particularly worried. He’d hidden before in the spaces under the floors of the palace. His ancestors had used the tunnels of the hypocausts to hide in since the invaders had built them to heat their new buildings hundreds of years earlier.

Noises traveled down the long, narrow tunnel from the stoking room: shuffling thumps and a crackle that he strained his ears to hear. A fire was being lit in the furnace chamber. Soon the warm air and, of more concern to him, the smoke would be fanned into the hypocaust to warm the audience room above and drive the quarry out. Silently, in the pitch-dark, he moved between the brick pillars to a wall and then along it to a flue in the wall with an opening slightly larger than the others. Even with the enlarged opening, it was not an easy task to fit himself into the narrow vent, and while he maneuvered, the warm, smoky air blew around him. He remembered how easily he had slipped into the flue the first time he’d tried it. His grandfather, who’d brought him to the palace, had grown too old and too big for most of the passages and had had to stay at an inn in the town while his grandson explored on his own, finding everything just as he’d heard it described.

Once inside the flue, he wedged his fingers into cracks and braced himself with his feet to climb until the space turned at an angle to join the chimney above the audience room. When he reached the chimney, he cursed silently, though what he found was no more than he should have expected. There was a fire in the hearth below. Fortunately they hadn’t already had a roaring blaze going when they chased him out of the linen room. They must have just lighted the fire, but the air in the chimney was smoky and quickly growing hot. With no other choice, the thief climbed into the chimney and moved up it as quickly as he could, relying on the sound of the fire to cover the sounds his soft boots made on the ridged bricks of the walls. The chimney was much wider than the flue, and the ridged bricks were intended to be climbed easily by sweepers.

He went on until he reached an intersection where several chimneys came together into a much larger one that rose to the roof of the palace. The chimney was warm and filled with smoke, but instead of climbing it, he turned to another opening and climbed down. He guessed that the queen had soldiers posted on the roof of the palace to watch the openings of the chimneys.

He breathed shallowly and slowly, stifling a need to cough. Any sound might betray him. As he dropped lower in the chimney he’d chosen, the smoke grew thicker, his eyes watered, and he missed a handhold and slid down with a thump to a ledge below. He sucked in a lungful of smoke and then covered his mouth with both hands while his face turned red and the blood pounded in his ears. The breath trickled out between his fingers and he breathed in again more cautiously, but his throat burned and his head swam. His breath came and went in huffs of suppressed coughs.

He was on a ledge where the chimney divided into smaller flues that led down to several different rooms. He closed his eyes and listened for sounds, but there was no shouting, only the muted crackling of the fire somewhere below. He poked his head into one chimney after another, debating with himself before choosing one he hoped led to the stateroom of some foreign ambassador too prestigious to be disturbed in the middle of the night by soldiers wanting to light an unnecessary fire in his hearth.

The chimney he chose descended from the main one in a long, shallow slope. Once he was away from the main chimney, the air was free of smoke and he stopped to draw grateful breaths until his head cleared. When he reached the turn where the chimney dropped straight to the hearth below, he paused and settled himself to wait. There was no sign of a fire laid underneath him, so there was no immediate need to get down, and he thought it best to be sure there was no one waiting for him in the room below. After a long silence he heard the creak of a bed as if its occupant had shifted in his sleep.

Still cautious, the thief lowered himself down the chimney until he was just at the upper edge of the fireplace. Then he braced himself across the bricks and lowered his head to glance into the bedroom. It seemed to be empty of guardsmen, and he dropped soundlessly to the hearthstones. The figure he could see stretched out on the bed didn’t move, and the room was otherwise unoccupied. He squatted there in the empty fireplace while he reviewed what he knew of the sleeping arrangements in the palace. He didn’t think there were very many rooms nearby where the soldiers hadn’t already lit fires. They probably hadn’t disturbed the occupant of this room because they were waiting out in the hall for their quarry to open the door and walk into their arms.

He didn’t intend to go through the door to the hall. The bedchamber was on an outside wall of the palace. The wall dropped straight down to a road that separated the palace from the city around it. He stepped past the bed and went to the window and pulled aside the curtains to look down at the perimeter road. He opened the window and glanced up to be sure that no guards on the roof were looking down. He saw no one leaning over the parapet and so swung himself across the windowsill and began to descend. The gaps between the marble facing stones of the palace were narrow, but wide enough for fingers and toes. He was halfway to the ground when there was a shout above him. He had been seen. The thief crabbed sideways along the wall, expecting a crossbow quarrel to bury itself in his shoulder at any moment, but none came. The queen’s personal guard would have guns, he remembered, but no bullets came either. Maybe they didn’t use the guns in the middle of the night, the thief thought. Maybe they didn’t want to wake the queen. That didn’t explain the absence of quarrels, but he had little attention to spare on the puzzle. He’d reached a window, and he swung inside.

He was in an office. Most of the floor where the queen’s taxmen worked would be offices and storage rooms, many of them connected to one another. He’d eluded the guards on the floor above, and if he hurried, he could be gone before they’d reorganized the search. There was little point in trying to hide now that they’d come so close to catching him. He had to get out of the palace and safely into the town.

In the light of the lamps burning in the corridor, he got a good look at himself and winced. Though he was dressed in the household uniform of one of Attolia’s servants, he was filthy, covered in soot and cobwebs, and much too dirty to pass as an innocent inmate of the palace awakened by all the noise. Not that there was any noise. It was a very quiet hunt moving through the corridors of the queen’s palace in Attolia, with her guardsmen creeping quietly, hoping to surprise him, and him creeping even more quietly, hoping to evade them. It was an increasingly frantic game as he found soldiers at every turn. They were in every space he needed to move through until at last they were chasing him at a run, their boots crashing on the bare floors as he forced the lock on a door that led out onto a wall that enclosed one of the palace courtyards.

They were still behind him when he sprinted the length of the parapet, but they had slowed to a walk. There was a sheer drop of fatal length into the courtyard on one side and down to the perimeter road on the other. Another group of the queen’s guardsmen was ahead of the thief, around the corner of the wall. Both groups were confident they would catch the thief between them. The thief could imagine too well what might happen to him if he were captured, and when he reached the corner, he didn’t slow as the guards expected, and he didn’t turn. He stepped onto the edge of the parapet and threw himself off it, into the black night air beyond.

Too late, the guardsmen raced to the edge of the parapet. They lay on their bellies on the wide stones to look down the sheer walls to the pavement of the road. Remembering their specific orders to capture the thief alive, they looked for the broken body in the interlocking shadows cast by the lanterns hung on the palace walls. The shadows made it difficult to see, and it took time to realize that there was no body below.

Finally one guardsman pointed to the rooftops on the far side of the boulevard that surrounded the palace. Stumbling, the thief had gotten to his feet and was crossing a rooftop as quickly as he was able. He dropped to a lower rooftop and was out of sight until they caught a glimpse of him as he dropped from that roof into the alley beyond. Someone in the group of guards swore, partly in frustration, partly in admiration.

Did you see where he went? a cold voice asked behind them, and the soldiers pulled themselves to attention as their lieutenant answered, Into an alley, Your Majesty.

Fire your crossbows into it. The guards on the ground should hear where the quarrels fall.

The queen turned and strode down the wall to a doorway leading back inside. She’d wanted to capture the thief in the palace. Four times in the last year she knew he had moved through one of her strongholds, once leaving a room only moments before she entered and once, she suspected, passing through her own bedchamber while she slept. He’d escaped only by a narrow margin on his last visit, and she knew he wouldn’t escape again. Still, it galled her that he hadn’t been captured within the walls of the palace.

In the alley the thief heard the quarrels clattering down behind him and heard a corresponding shout not far away. He gave up moving quietly and ran as fast as he could through the twisting streets. The drop from the palace wall had been a sickening one, and though he’d rolled, he’d been shaken by the force of the landing. His hands stung, and his shoulders ached. Before the hollow feeling in his chest faded, it was replaced by a stitch in his side as he ran on, sweating in the warm night.

There were so many turns and intersections to the narrow streets that no pursuers could have kept him in sight, or heard his footsteps over the noise they themselves were making, but there seemed to be more soldiers at every corner, and no sooner had the thief dropped out of sight than he was found again. He was breathing heavily when he came to a straight street at last. He turned onto it and sprinted. He could hear dogs barking and thought they were not the city dogs that had been barking since the shouting started but the palace dogs brought out to hunt for him.

The road he ran on came to an abrupt dead end at the town wall. Like the palace, the town’s walls were new, built shortly before the end of the invader’s occupation. They were sheer, rising straight to the walks above, unlike the banked walls of older cities. He had no hope of scrambling up them, but at their base, where the narrow road canted into a ditch that drained heavy winter rains, there was a sewer that ran under the city walls. Halfway through the wall there should have been an iron grate, as there was in the other drainage sewers, but the grate in this one was broken loose. It had been repaired once, several years before, and the thief had spent three long nights filing through the new bars to reopen this private entrance to the city.

The drain was not large. Coming into the city, the evening before, the thief had moved slowly on his hands and the tips of his toes, taking great care not to get his clothes dirty. He’d washed his mucky hands at a public fountain, wiped the tops of his boots, and gone to buy his dinner.

With the palace dogs somewhere behind him, he raced at the walls without slowing and threw himself facedown at the entrance to the tunnel, sliding the first few feet into the sewer on the mud and slime inside. Behind him he could hear people running and dogs barking. When he reached the iron grate lying in the mud halfway along the tunnel, he crawled over it, then turned back to lift it upright. When he heard it scraping the walls, he yanked it harder, hoping that if the dogs pressed against it, their weight would force the grate further into place, not over into the mud again.

After crawling the rest of the way through the sewer, he dragged himself out from under the city wall at the edge of an olive orchard. Dawn was hours away, and with no moon to light the sky, he could barely make out his hand in front of his face, but he didn’t need to see to know where he was. There were olive trees in front of him, planted in orderly rows. If he headed downhill between the rows, he’d reach the river at the bottom of the olive grove. Once in the river, he could pull himself out of the water into one of the trees along its bank. He’d lose the dogs and then could get farther from the city before the dawn revealed him.

The nearest gate through the wall was well away to his right. Pinpricks of light issuing from it were the lanterns of more pursuers. Trusting in his knowledge of the olive grove and the orderliness of the trees, the thief got to his feet and ran. The trees were shifting shadows against the black night as he headed downhill, moving faster and faster, placing his feet carefully in case he landed on a root. Thinking of the river, he had no warning when a shadow appeared directly in front of him and he ran face first into a wall. As he fell heavily to the ground, he was dimly aware that his feet hadn’t hit anything, only his head.

The pain was overwhelming, and he lay on his back while he struggled to see past the lights flashing behind his eyes. He clutched at the sparse grass of the orchard, then rolled onto his stomach and pushed himself to his knees, trying not to be sick. He crawled to a nearby olive tree, following its roots through the hard dirt, and holding it, he got to his feet. The night, which had been dark before, had become impenetrably black. With one arm still around the tree, he waved a hand hesitantly through the darkness until he felt it strike something solid. It was a board, he realized slowly, stretching between the trees. He pushed on it. It was nailed in place. It was just at the height of his head, and a stone wall couldn’t have been more effective.

He was wondering why it was there when he heard someone uphill shout. He managed only a few uneven steps away from the tree, not even certain of his direction, before the first of the dogs reached him. It jumped onto his back, and another dog hit him behind the knees. He was driven back down into the grass, feeling the dry, hard dirt underneath it. He curled into a ball and hoped the dogs’ handlers arrived before the animals chewed him to pieces.

The queen of Attolia waited by the city wall, listening to the triumphant shouts of her men and the barking of the dogs. She was on horseback, and when they brought the thief to her, two guards half carrying him, he had to tilt his head back to look at her. The skin between his eyebrows was split, and a few drops of blood leaked from the tear. The blood from his nose flowed over his lips and down his chin to drop in heavy splashes that mixed with the mud on his house tunic.

So good to see you again, Eugenides, said the queen.

A pleasure to see you—always, Your Majesty, he said, but he turned his head slowly away and closed his eyes as if the light from the torches around her was too strong.

Teleus, said Attolia to the captain of her personal guard, see that our guest is locked up very carefully. She turned her horse and rode back to her gate and through the city to her palace. In her private chambers her attendants waited to undress her and comb out her long hair. When they were done, she dismissed them and sat for a moment before the hearth. It was summertime, and the fireplace was empty. Behind her, she heard a woman’s voice.

You have caught him.

Oh, yes, said the queen without turning her head. I have caught him.

Be cautious, said the other. Do not offend the gods.

Left by the guardsmen in a cell at the end of a hallway at the bottom of a narrow stair below the palace, surrounded by stone walls, the Thief dropped as gently as he could to all fours and immediately lifted a hand in disgust. The floor was wet. He turned his head to look across the cell. The dim light coming through a barred window in the door behind him reflected off the stone floor with little variation in its pattern. The floor was wet all over.

Turning his head had been a mistake. He crawled to a corner and retched until what was left of his dinner was gone. Then he crawled to the opposite corner of the cell and lay down on the damp stones. He prayed to the God of Thieves. There was no answer, and he slept.

CHAPTER TWO

DAYS PASSED BEFORE NEWS OF the arrest reached the valleys high in the Hephestial Mountains. A man from a wineshop raced the other talebearers and reached the palace of the queen of Eddis just as her court had gathered in the ceremonial hall for dinner. The queen stood talking with several of her ministers. Behind her was the elaborate ceremonial throne. In front of her the dishes were gold, and by her plate was the gold, figured cup the kings and queens of Eddis had drunk from for centuries.

As the queen took her place at the table and the members of the royal family, followed by the barons in residence at the palace and various ambassadors, did the same, one of Eddis’s guardsmen crossed the hall to stand behind her chair. The court watched while he bent to speak to her quietly. The queen listened without moving, except to glance down the long table at her uncle, who was also her minister of war. The queen spoke to the guardsman and dismissed him, then turned back to the table.

If my ministers will join me, I’m sure we will return shortly. Do please enjoy your dinner, she announced calmly. Then she stood and crossed the room with a decisive step that didn’t match her finery. She moved toward a narrow doorway that led to a smaller throne room, the original megaron of her ancestors’ stronghold. Her ministers collected around her, following as she led down the three shallow steps through the doorway and across the painted floor to the dais. The original throne room of Eddis was smaller, the original throne simpler than the ceremonial throne in the dining hall. Carved from stone and softened by embroidered cushions, the old throne was quite plain. Being a plain person, Eddis preferred it to the gilded glory of the new throne. She ruled her country from the smaller throne room, and saved the glories of the Greater Hall for banquets.

Pulling impatiently at her long skirts, she seated herself. Eugenides has been arrested in Attolia, she said to her ministers. A tradesman has come with the news from the capital city. I asked the guard to bring him here. She didn’t look at her minister of war as she spoke. Her counselors exchanged worried glances but waited patiently without speaking.

Eddis’s guard, as they escorted the Attolian in, watched him carefully in case he was less harmless than he appeared, but he only stood before the throne, nervously twisting the collar of his shirt. It was bad news that he’d brought, and he knew it. Having come so far to deliver it, hoping to be well paid, he was afraid of his reception.

What do you know about the arrest of my Thief? the queen asked, and the tradesman cleared his throat a few times before he spoke.

They found him in the palace and drove him out through the town. He was outside the city walls before they caught him.

They arrested him outside the city? Was he injured?

They used dogs, Your Majesty.

I see, said the queen, and the tradesman shuffled his feet nervously. And how do you know it was my Thief?

The members of the guard said so in the wineshop. We all saw him arrested, at least I and my wife did, but it was the middle of the night, and we didn’t know who it might be, but the guards were talking the next day in the shop. They said it was the Thief of Eddis that the queen had caught and that . . . The tradesman tapered off into embarrassed throat-clearing noises.

Go on, said the queen, quietly, struggling to appear nonthreatening when she wanted to shake him until his teeth rattled.

They said she’s going to make him pay for taunting her, leaving things in the palace so she knows he’s been there.

The queen’s eyes closed and opened slowly. It was Eugenides she wanted to shake until his teeth rattled.

She said, You’ve come a long way in a short time.

Yes, Your Majesty.

Hoping no doubt to be paid for it.

The tradesman was silent. He’d ridden his horse to exhaustion and climbed a narrow mountain trail on foot, hurrying every step in order to be the first one to reach Eddis with the news.

Give him a double weight in silver, the queen directed the lieutenant of her guard. And feed him before he goes home. Give a silver griffin to anyone else who brings the news today, she added, and I want to speak to anyone who brings fresh news.

When the tradesman was gone, she sat staring into space and frowning. Her ministers waited while she thought.

I was wrong to send him, she said at last. The admission was as much concession as she could make to the horror she felt at her mistake. Eugenides had hinted that the risks would be greater if he returned to Attolia so soon after his last visit. She hadn’t listened. She needed the information only he could get, and the Thief had so easily outwitted his opponents in the past, Eddis had assumed he would do so again. She had sent him, and he hadn’t hesitated to go. She turned to her minister of war. It was his son who would die for her error in judgment.

I am sorry, she said. She won’t take a ransom.

With a small shake of his head, Eugenides’s father concurred.

Eddis continued. He’s too valuable to us and could be much too dangerous to her if she let him go. She won’t be inclined to do anything in a hurry, and if he’s been taunting her, and she’s lost face in front of her court . . . whatever she eventually decides to do is going to be unpleasant. We will have to see, she said. We will have to see what we can do.

Eugenides lay in his cell. When the pain in his head woke him, he opened his eyes briefly, then slept again. He should have tried to stay awake, but he hardly cared. Sometimes, in his deepest sleep, he thought he heard someone calling his name, and he struggled back to consciousness to find himself alone in the dark. He woke when food and water were pushed through a slot in the bottom of the door and sometimes crawled across the floor to drink the stale water. Other times the effort required was too great, and he left it.

Slowly the stones in the floor stopped heaving under him, and the blinding pain abated, leaving him with a headache marginally less fierce. More food and water were delivered from time to time. Finally the door of his cell was unlocked and opened. He felt sick again as he was hoisted to his feet but didn’t know if it was from his headache or from fear. He leaned on the guards and tried to collect his ragged thoughts as they led him up from the cells to the

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  • (4/5)
    The premise: Eugenides luck finally runs out while he's thieving in the Attolian court and caught once more by the beautiful but cold and heartless Queen of Attolia. And her punishment is worse than death, throwing Attolia into war with Eddis, Eugenides's home. And Eugenides isn't recovering from his trip from Attolia very well, which encourages Sounis to attack Eddis as well. But that's not all: Attolia has allies, the Medes, and if the Medes manage to win Attolia over, the whole continent could be lost. All Eugenides has to do to stop it is steal a man, steal a queen, and steal peace.My RatingWorth the Cash: WITH CAUTION. If you've read The Thief, be prepared that despite the same setting and same characters, this is an entirely different book, especially in terms of voice. I can see how people coming to this book FIRST without having read The Thief will have an easier time than I have, because they won't be jarred by the voice or certain revelations. However, coming from The Thief, I am now very suspicious and cautious about reading The King of Attolia. I will, don't get me wrong: I want to see how this trilogy ends and how it fits together as a whole. Whereas The Thief was personal, bold, and often funny, The Queen of Attolia is quiet, reflective, and distant to a certain degree. Like the title character herself. I may have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't had The Thief to compare it to, so it'll be interesting to see how the final book compares.The full review, which contains spoilers and explains in detail the trouble I had reading this, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.REVIEW: Megan Whalen Turner's THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIAHappy Reading! :)
  • (4/5)
    I read the first book in early 2018 and really enjoyed it and for some reason didn't pick up the second book right away. As always when I do that I forgot what I had read in the first book so it took a bit to get into this second instalment. Once I got into it I really liked both Queens and Gen, for very different reasons. I have picked up the third book right away and hopefully will buy more from this series this year.
  • (5/5)
    The Queen of Attolia is the sequel to The Thief. While they are very different books, you probably should read The Thief first. The Queen of Attolia jumps into action immediately, and you’ll likely need the background information that The Thief provides.Whereas The Thief was a more limited story with a first person narration, The Queen of Attolia is a much broader story with a third person omniscient viewpoint that helps it show the relationships and intrigue between three warring kingdoms.Sounis, Attolia, and Eddis are three neighboring kingdoms, all threatened with invasion from the powerful Medes. The countries must unite to stand against the Medes’ powerful empire, but which kingdom will rule the others? Who’s independence will be sacrificed? Eddis, the small mountain kingdom, has one of the most precarious positions of all, but Eddis is determined to maintain her freedom.Much of the book revolves around the battle of wills of the queen of Eddis and the queen of Attolia. It would be easy to fall into the Good Queen vs. the Bad Queen trap, especially as the country of Eddis is the one belonging to the protagonists. However, the situation’s more complex than that, and Attolia is never presented as one dimensional or evil. She’s simply acting as she has to in order to maintain power and do the best for her country, even if it involves taking brutal steps. “She thought of the hardness and the coldness she had cultivated over those years and wondered if they were the mask she wore or if the mask had become her self. If the longing inside her for kindness, for warmth, for compassion, was the last seed of hope for her, she didn’t know how to nurture it or if it could live.” Compared to Attolia, Eddis has an easy time of it. She was instantly accepted as queen and her court adores her. She has people around her that she can trust. She can afford to be nice where Attolia can’t.The characterization is splendid. Eugenides, Eddis, and Attolia are at the heart of the novel and all fascinating characters. If you haven’t guessed, Attolia’s the one who I find most interesting.While Queen of Attolia is marketed as young adult, it almost has more in common with the second world fantasy novels aimed at adults. Political intrigue is not a common feature of the YA genera. However, this makes Queen of Attolia a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t fit into preconceived genre tropes and is allowed to be original and different.My one qualm is that I was a bit dubious with how the romance worked. I was alright with it in the end, but I was giving it sideways glances the entire time.I’d recommend The Queen of Attolia to fans of well written second world fantasy.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (5/5)
    After loving The Thief so much, its sequel wasn't going stay long on both the wishlist and the TBR pile. I was expecting more adventures with Gen, more of his awesomeness, more of the mythos of Eddis, Attolia and Sounis, and, going by the name of this book, a lot more about the queen of Attolia.What I was not expecting, though, was to like this one even more than the first.The Thief was amazing, introducing Gen and his quirks and cunning and cleverness. But it was focused mostly on Gen. I am not complaining, but the rest of the characters of this series are quite good as well. In this book, the queens of Eddis and Attolia get more air-time, and they are quite different from Gen. They are complex and, being queens, there is a lot about them that has to do with how they rule. (Oh, and they rule!)And if, to those two queens, we add one king, one pesky foreign ambassador and a whole bunch of disloyal barons and ministers, we get a lot of political intrigue. And I really like that. The expression that comes to mind about this book is "political machinations". And to do yet another comparison with The Thief, in the first there was a lot of cunning on Gen's part, a lot of twists, and a lot of surprises. So this time around, I was on the lookout for those, having learnt to expect the less sensible course of action from Gen. But that doesn't mean that it didn't surprise me here and there (it did, and especially at the beginning that I was afraid of the direction the story was going), but there was nothing really major as on the first book. But I did spend a lot of the time trying to figure out how exactly Gen would get out of his troubles.So, to summarize, I loved this book and will keep on reading (the next book is on its way!).Also at Spoilers and Nuts
  • (4/5)
    I wobbled between 3 and 4 stars for much of this. Cards on the table: a lot of what happens in this book was upsetting to me--"No, not that!" I would cry out, mentally, while reading. It kept going in the opposite direction of where I wanted it to go, and there's a good chunk in the early-middle that felt like, if it weren't going opposite, then it wasn't really going anywhere at all.

    (It also didn't feel much like Book One, which felt pitched to a younger audience, more delightful, etc., and was more my taste).

    That said, it gained steam in the middle, and once I got near the end some of my reservations were dismissed--no spoilers, but I guess there's sort of a twist that makes much of this better. And the writing's lovely, and the characters so well drawn, and if you get bored by battle tactics, politics, or treaties, well, the dullest bits are really quite short.

    (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).
  • (5/5)
    I super enjoyed this sequel to The Thief. The political intrigue, the new POV characters, the setting and the plot were on point. I really enjoyed having a perspective from Attolia and Eddis as well. It was very interesting to see how the think and what lengths they would go to for their people and countries. Eugenides character really developed in this book I feel a lot more than in the first book. Turner writes so well that I just had to keep reading.

    I really enjoyed the plot and how the story progressed. Turner has a way of writing that just pulls you in and makes you care about the characters.

    Lovely book and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one :)
  • (4/5)
    Very enjoyable.
  • (5/5)
    The Best book ever!
  • (4/5)
    Aww.. :) Happy Endings. <3
  • (5/5)
    First, read my review for The Thief.Then times everything by two.Seriously, this series has addicted me. The moment I closed the covers of The Queen of Attolia I was off to read the third book and obsess over whether or not there will be a fourth, and whether it will come out soon. In Queen, a few years have passed since Eugenides stole the Gift and he has taken to taunting the Queen of Attolia by slipping in and out of her palace. One day she catches him, and does something to him that inflames the already existing tensions between their countries.If The Thief was more of a quest-type fantasy, The Queen of Attolia is about war. Of course, such simple labels don’t suffice to describe the intricacy and thought Turner puts into her writing. Politics twist and turn with a maturity that will satisfy adult readers as well as young adults. Eugenides as well seems to have grown up some, and the third person POV in this book as opposed to Thief’s first person POV makes him more adult and enigmatic a figure. As usual, there is a twist, this time concerning Eugenides and the Queen of Attolia, which I adored.I also appreciate the way Turner characterizes women. For being independent queens during war, Attolia and Eddis do not read as Spunky Girl cliches but real people. Attolia in particular was well drawn out in that she reacts to situations the way I would expect a woman of her personality and circumstances to.
  • (5/5)
    More than a book for children, a fine story with interesting turns and traps.
  • (5/5)
    Eugendes, the Queen of Eddis’ Thief, our charming, brilliant, and annoying hero, is attracted like a moth to a flame to the cold, cruel Queen of Attolia. This YA and up novel is the second in the Queen’s Thief series. It continues the twisting plot turns the first novel so delightfully presented, but this is a darker, deeper tale. Attolia fights to control her barons while fending off the offers of “assistance” from the Mede ambassador. Eddis, its mountainous neighbor, is beset by the two lowland nations around it. Both countries are ruled by single women with gender expectations that lead others to oppress — and underestimate — them. A grand and poignant intrigue.
  • (5/5)
    I wasn't the biggest fan of the first book in this series, the Thief, but this one really took it up a notch. As far as plot there was good pacing, and alliances and plans I didn't see coming. The characters were another thing that really made this book for me, they felt so real and fleshed out and really made you root for them. I felt more interested than ever in being immersed in this world with all it's lore and political intrigue, characters and banter. It's good stuff
  • (4/5)
    The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner is a very worthy sequel to the first book in her Queen’s Thief trilogy. From it’s breath-taking opening when Eugenides falls into the hands of the Queen of Attolia to it’s ending where again Eugenides is under the Queen’s power we have the pleasure of reading a well plotted, creative fantasy story that is loosely based on the ancient countries that once circled the Mediterranean Sea. This is a story of strategy, a cat-and-mouse game between the Thief of Eddis and the Queen of Attolia. Like a complicated dance these two weave in and out, around each other, each trying to gain the upper hand.There is a leap of faith required by the readers when late in the book it becomes obvious that Eugenides has a romantic angle to his quest, but everything unfolds with flair and humor, so that leap wasn’t too hard to take. While this was a much broader story than the first, detailing as it does the relationship and intrigue between a number of countries, at it’s heart are the two Queens and their relationships with the Thief. Although I immediately loved the Queen of Eddis, I found the Queen of Attolia to be a fascinating character that I want to learn more about.I am looking forward to the third book in the trilogy to find out what is going to happen next to these characters and their countries.
  • (5/5)
    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.

  • (4/5)
    This is the second book the Queen’s Thief series and was a good continuation of that series. This book deals mainly with the Queen of Attolia and her struggles to hold her throne against Sounis and Eddis.This is a long book and a lot happens in it. Eugenides is in the story a lot but not as much as the first book. The point of view bounces between Eugenides, Eddis, Attolia, and the Medean ambassador Nahuseresh.This book was much more epic fantasy-like than the first book with more about war between nations than any adventure. I didn't like it quite as much because of that but it was still really well done with some unique twists and turns, just like the first book.My 10 year old son and I read it together and we both enjoyed it a lot; although we both agree that the we liked the first book better.Overall this is a very well done epic fantasy and I plan on continuing the series with my son.
  • (4/5)
    This is insanely good. The craft with which this is written is just unbelievable.
  • (4/5)
    very nicely done. i loved it.
  • (2/5)
    bgcrrrrcr ft e w ddccffxd fd xxx ccr even rg
  • (3/5)
    I had decided to pick this series up because I had dipped briefly into the sequel, "The King of Attolia" and found it intriguing. The first book, "The Thief", had much to recommend it, with its invented Greek mythology, its Alexandrian science (these ancient Greeks have primitive guns), its unreliable narrator, and its rather Roman architecture. This one, while still innovative in its way, is contrived, with a grim tale leavened with unsuitable humour, some bizarre plot holes, and no real explanation of the gods' behavior. I'm still hanging in there for the third one, since that is what got me interested in the series in the first place.
  • (5/5)
    The saga centers on Eugenides, or Gen, named after The God of Thieves. Indeed, he has been trained, and has trained himself, to steal anything and everything in service to his cousin Helen, Queen of Eddis. Eddis is one of neighboring countries frequently at war, including Sounis, Attolia, and the Medean Empire. The countries surround a sea, much like the world would have been near the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times. Gen often helps Eddis realize their political aims (his father, it should be noted, is the Minister of War), but as The Queen of Attolia begins, it is the Queen of Attolia who "steals" Eugenides by having him captured.Irene, the Queen of Attolia is beautiful, but keeps a rigid countenance at all times, and her emotions at bay. She cannot show fear or revulsion or weakness; she felt she needed a stone-faced mask to rule.:“Surrounded by people who hated or feared her, she trusted no one and told herself that she didn’t need to.”How heart-breaking it is when she shares her thoughts about love!Something then very bad happens to Gen, something that makes him question his gods, but it seems the gods have long-range plans for him that unfortunately included some suffering, and ironically add a welcome and touching note of reality to this fantasy.The book ends though on a charming note.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)
    I was told by many people that book 2 in the series is stronger than book 1. I'm not sure I agree, but I can see how it would hold a different appeal. The Queen of Attolia is a different type of book than The Thief--more "politics of the kingdoms" instead of a traveling adventure heist. The political maneuverings were interesting and the 3rd-person perspective gave things a more well-rounded feel, but still something was missing for me.

    I can't quite put my finger on why I don't love these books. While I enjoy the storyline and the characters, there is something that doesn't connect with me about the writing style. The pacing is slow and steady, even when it should be exciting like an escape or a battle. And both books lacked in details so I kept feeling like I had missed something along the way. I still like the series and I will continue reading, but it could easily fall into 4 star territory and it's missing the mark so far, and almost verging into 2 stars instead.

    I did enjoy Eugenides more than I did in The Thief. I felt we got more insights into him this time around and I thought she did a good job with the portrayal of his PTSD. Oddly, this made him a more likable character to me. Rather than immediately move past things after the action in the beginning, we get insights into how Eugenides is coping, or not coping with his return to Eddis. It helped me to better understand him. But I still felt a lack of insight into Attolia. I understood more about Eddis than I did about her. I needed more information to truly accept the ending from both Eugenides and Attolia's perspective. It felt a bit like, "Surprise! Here's all of the things you didn't know. The End. Read book 3 to find out what you missed in book 2!"

    I know it sounds like I hate the series, but I really don't. I like it, and the books are well-written, but something is lacking. Maybe I will feel differently about book 3.
  • (3/5)
    I liked The Queen of Attolia, it turned out to be a great book about loyalty and had many political aspects. The queen of Attolia especially went from dislike to hatred to mild admiration all in one book, although admiring might be too strong of a word just yet.I liked seeing elements of high fantasy play about in this book that weren’t as pronounced in the first book. It got a bit boring in the middle where it was a lot more setup and we’re just waiting to get on with the main twists.Learning more about Attolia’s history as well as Eddis was really amazing, and showed their maturity at relatively young ages. One of the things that threw me off was the out of nowhere love for Gen had for Attolia (if someone can pinpoint when exactly he fell in love with her, I might’ve missed it somehow).Also, the book has some bargains set that really turned the book around for me. It was basically like watching a historical TV show unfolds all in one episode. And I found that a lot of the dinners could’ve been skipped in the middle but I see Turner was trying to show Gen’s desperation after basically losing his life’s meaning. Beginning of the book: 4 stars, middle: 2 stars, and end: 4 stars.
  • (4/5)
    The beginning of this book is a shock and the rest of the book isn't much less of one, truth to be told. There is a bit of grim romance in this second book in the series and the sweetness of the end of the story makes up for much of the war and intrigue that fills so much of this story. I like Eugenides more and more.
  • (4/5)
    It's always a treat when the the second book in a series is better than the first.
  • (5/5)
    Oh how wonderful! I love Turner's ability to seemingly slow down the plot while simultaneously having chaos and war at stake. The character development in this is second to none and I was awestruck by her portrayal of the Queen of Attolia as I went from loathing her to being utterly impressed by her by the end of the book. Her female characters are amazingly complex and some of my favourite passages have to do with the two queens' developing friendship. Such carefully detailed writing too which conveys a range of emotions. Beautiful series.
  • (5/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    Every time I read this series by Turner, I like both the books and the author better. Eugenides is a great character (one of my all-time favorites) – complex and engaging, funny and quirky -- and I care so deeply about what happens to him. I care about all the characters! There are no stick figures in the world Turner creates, nor caricatures. Even characters who only appear briefly give me the feeling that they are real and that it would be interesting to get to know them better. Even the villains – like the Mede ambassador in [Queen of Attolia] is not a stock character but one whose motivations and actions you understand by the end of the book – although your sympathies definitely lie elsewhere. Turner is a master storyteller – even knowing all the plot twists and turns from previous readings doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of her telling. It may be that I enjoy each subsequent reading more because I am able to recognize the subtle clues and careful hints that I missed the first time in my eagerness to find out "what happens."This is classified under Young Adult, but the complexity of the political machinations and characterizations are satisfying to adult readers as well, and over the heads of some YA readers.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (4/5)
    I quite liked the first book, The Thief, but this was far better, for me. There were a couple of points I worried about, as I read -- how the author would deal with disability, and how the romance would turn out -- but as I got to the end, I felt entirely satisfied with both.

    The attitude to disability is refreshing. It happens, and the character reacts realistically, but goes through a process of healing rather than either remaining sunk in despair or just suddenly getting better as if nothing has changed. The character changes because of what happens to them, and that change isn't wished away, even after the intercession of the gods. I was so happy with this aspect -- as compared to other narratives involving disability -- that I ended up buying a couple of my friends copies of the first and second books of these series, because this kind of thing needs to be supported.

    Another aspect of this book that I loved was the development of the Queens. They were interesting characters, in the first book, but very background. In this book, they both get a chance to shine, and some of the narration is limited to their point of view -- although the narration of this book is third person, not first person.

    In terms of the romance, I thought it... rather sudden, at first, but as it developed a little I began to like it despite the suddenness. It isn't really surprising, given how much the narrative in the first book hides from the reader, that I didn't get any sense of foreshadowing of it.

    Like the first book, this one contains a bit of a twist at the end -- perhaps a little more telegraphed than in the first book, and not quite as integral to the plot, maybe. Still, I thought it was a nice touch.
  • (4/5)
    It's rare that the second book in a series stands head and shoulders above the first. In my opinion, this second book is worlds better than the first. The characters are more complex, the twists more satisfying, and the plotting tighter. The world-building is good but not great, but the awkwardness of setting doesn't stand in the way of this ripping good story.
  • (5/5)
    When someone loses a hand in the first 30 pages, you know its on. YA fantasy at its best. Turner expands the world in an effortless and masterful way. Reminds me of Cashore's Graceling and Fire, only better.