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The King of Attolia

The King of Attolia

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The King of Attolia

évaluations:
4.5/5 (132 évaluations)
Longueur:
364 pages
5 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 22, 2009
ISBN:
9780061968433
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. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.

Eugenides, no stranger to desperate circumstances, has gotten himself into difficulties he can’t get out of. Used to being treated with a certain measure of wariness, if not respect, he suffers the pranks, insults, and intrigue of the Attolian court with dwindling patience. As usual, nothing is as it appears when he rescues a hot-headed young soldier in the Palace Guard. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, 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 The King of Attolia includes “Wine Shop,” an exclusive story about Eugenides by 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.

School Library Journal Best Book
Horn Book Fanfare
ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age

“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 The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows

“One of the most fascinating and original children’s fantasies to appear in years. . . . Rarely does one see a hero as psychologically knowing and irresistibly attractive as Turner’s Thief.”—The Horn Book (starred review)

“A winner.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Eugenides, the former Thief of Eddis, is back and just as clever as ever.”—School Library Journal (starred review)

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Sep 22, 2009
ISBN:
9780061968433
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 King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

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PROLOGUE

The queen waited. Sitting at the window, she watched the lights of the town glow in the last of the long twilight. The sun had been down for hours and it was still not fully dark. True dark wouldn’t come, except in the odd unlit corners. The lanterns would burn all night as the people moved from celebration to celebration until they greeted the sun’s return and the new day and staggered home at last. They celebrated, with wine and music and dancing, a day they had thought would never come. The queen’s wedding day. She sat at the window, watching the lights, listening for the music, waiting for her husband.

In Attolia, a woman came to her husband on the wedding night. In Eddis, a man came to his bride. They had chosen to keep the custom of Eddis. The Eddisians could see this as the queen bowing to the Eddisian customs of her new husband, but the Attolians would see the queen still flouting the traditional duties of an Attolian woman. It was a careful dance of shadows and unsubstance, but under it all, there was a marriage of two people. Today she had yielded the sovereignty of her country to Eugenides, who had given up everything he had ever hoped for, to be her king.

In the palace’s great open court, filled with tables and the glowing lanterns in colored paper shades, Ornon, the Ambassador from Eddis, smothered a yawn and the smile that followed it as he considered the future of the former Thief of Eddis. He and Eugenides were old adversaries, and the happy vision of the Thief fettered by the responsibilities of sovereignty warmed his heart. It was far more satisfying than any petty revenge Ornon might have planned. The Queen of Eddis knew his thoughts from across the room and gave him a look that made him sit straighter, take another sip of wine, and turn his smile toward his dinner companion.

On the palace wall, a young guard on duty looked out over the town with much the same view as the Attolian queen had from her window. He was missing the celebrations, but he didn’t much care for drinking and brawling, and he didn’t mind. He liked being stationed high above the palace. The solitude, and the time away from the noise of the barracks and his companions, gave him space to think. These stints on the upper reaches of the palace walls were his favorite. There was no danger he needed to watch for: no ships of Sounis’s could reach their harbor, no armies would be dropping from the hills across the valley. Attolia’s most dangerous enemy was already within the palace and an enemy no more, he supposed. Costis could have been asleep for all his duty mattered, this night. Still, he straightened to attention and tried to look alert as his captain came up beside him.

Costis, said the captain, you are missing the feasting.

So are you, sir.

I don’t mind. No emotion colored the captain’s voice.

Deeper into the night, when the official banquets in the palace had ended, far from the still-noisy celebrations in the streets of the city, the Secretary of the Archives idly shifted the papers on his desk. More than anyone, he had cause to fear the new king. He had approached the queen privately and suggested they discuss means of limiting the king’s power. Eugenides was young; he was untrained, impetuous, and naive. He would be easy to control once the power of his Eddisian advisors waned, as it necessarily must. The queen had responded with a look that was all the warning Relius needed to know that he had overstepped his authority. He withdrew with apologies. He would leave the fate of the king to the queen, but would not pretend to himself that he was not afraid.

CHAPTER ONE

COSTIS sat in his room. On the table in front of him was a piece of paper meant to hold a report on the squad of men he directed. He’d scratched out the first few lines of the report and written underneath the beginnings of a letter to his father. It began, Sir, I must explain my actions, and then stopped. Costis couldn’t explain his actions. He rubbed his face with his hands and tried again to compose his anguished thoughts into cold words and orderly sentences.

He looked over the mess in his quarters. His small trunk of clothes was tipped out onto the floor. The tray that had sat in the top of it to hold his sleeve links and buttons and pins was thrown down by the bed. The links, the spare buttons, and the small image of his god were scattered everywhere. His books were gone. He’d had three. So, he assumed, was his wallet with what money he kept in his room. That was a pity. He would have given the money to his friend Aristogiton. His sword was gone from its rack on the wall. He would have given that to Aris as well.

The two soldiers who’d brought him back from the training ground, almost dragging him along by their grip at his elbows, had taken every sharp thing out of the room. They were veterans, who’d served in the Guard for most of their lives. They’d searched his small trunk and dragged the thin mattress, as well as the blanket, off the narrow bed frame. One had pulled down Costis’s sword and swept up his knife from the windowsill while the other had collected his papers, crumpling them together in his fist. Without looking at him again, they’d gone. Costis had turned the stool upright on its three legs. They had left his cloak pins, his plain everyday one and his fancy one with the amber bead. He had been a little surprised. His good pin was fibula-shaped with a shaft four inches long and as thick as a cornstalk. It would be as effective as a sword, if Costis chose to use it. Even the smaller pin would do; two inches in the right place was all it took.

As Costis had considered, without any real motivation, the possibilities of the cloak pins, the curtain across his doorway had swept back and one of the soldiers had returned to kick his feet briskly through the detritus on the floor, quickly locating the cloak pins. After scooping them up, he had checked the floor again to see if there were more. He had seen the sandal straps and taken those. He’d looked Costis over once and shaken his head in contempt as he left.

Costis looked back at the letter in front of him. It was almost the only paper they’d left him. He shouldn’t waste it, but he didn’t know how he could explain his actions to his father when he couldn’t explain them to himself. He’d broken a sacred oath, had destroyed his career, his life, and perhaps his family in one moment. It was unnatural to look back at events and be unable to believe that what you remembered could actually have happened.

It was afternoon. He’d made no progress on his letter since morning, when the sun had been slanting into the narrow window and filling the small room with light. The sun had climbed over the roof of the barracks and the room was grown dim, lit only indirectly by the sunlight falling into the narrow courtyard between barracks. Costis was waiting for the queen. She had left the palace for the first time since her marriage and had gone hunting. She was to eat at midday at one of the lodges and return sometime in the afternoon.

Costis got up from his stool and paced for the hundredth, the thousandth time across the room. He would be sentenced when she returned, almost certainly to death. Even worse than death would come if she thought that he had acted as part of a conspiracy or that even one member of his family had known of his actions in advance. If that happened, his family would have to leave the farm outside Pomea in the Gede Valley. Every single one of them, not just his father and his sister, but uncles, aunts, and cousins. Their property would be forfeit to the crown and they would be no longer members of the landowning class, but would be okloi—merchants if they were lucky, beggars if they were not.

Of course, even he had had no foreknowledge of what was going to happen. He would never have guessed that he could so compound calamity with disaster, but the truth hardly mattered now. Costis thought of the papers they had taken away and tried to remember exactly what was in them that could be mistaken for plans of treason. The Secretary of the Archives could see treason in a single word. One hint of a plan and Costis would be put to torture instead of hanging in the morning. He knew that when torture began, Truth, which had mattered very little to begin with, soon mattered not at all.

He stepped to the window and looked out at the shadows falling on the barracks across from him. The midafternoon trumpets would be sounding soon and the watches would be changing. He was supposed to be on the palace walls. Behind him he heard the curtain rings sliding on the rod across his doorway. He turned to face the men who would take him to the palace.

There were no guards. Standing alone in the doorway was the king. The ruler, anointed by priests and priestesses, of all the lands of Attolia, the official father of the people, the lord of the barons who’d one by one sworn him their oaths of obedience, the undisputed, uncontested, and absolute sovereign of the land. The swollen discoloration by his mouth closely matched the elaborate purple embroidery on his collar.

Most people in your circumstances would kneel, said the king, and Costis, who had been staring transfixed, belatedly dropped to his knees. He should have bowed his head, but he couldn’t take his eyes from the king’s face. Only the king’s returning stare broke his rigor, and he finally lowered his head.

The king stepped to the table, and out of the corner of his eye Costis could see the jug held in his hand, a finger looped through the handle and two cups pinched in his fingers. The king lifted them onto the table, putting the jug down first. With a flick of his hand he sent one of the cups spinning into the air, and carefully set the other on the wood. Catching the one in the air as it began to fall, he set it delicately beside its partner. He moved casually, as if this little bit of juggling was second nature. Yet it was necessity made into grace because the king had only one hand.

Costis closed his eyes in shame. All the events of the day, which had been so nightmarish and unreal, were terribly, terribly true, the mark beside the king’s mouth unmistakable and incontrovertible, every knuckle of Costis’s fist indelibly represented there.

Eugenides said, You did swear less than two months ago to defend my self and my throne with your life—didn’t you?

He’d gone down like a rag doll.

Yes.

Is this some Attolian ritual that I am unaware of? Was I supposed to defend myself? He had one hand; he couldn’t have defended himself against a man both taller and heavier, a whole man.

I beg your pardon.

The words were those of a gentleman. They sounded odd, even to Costis, under the circumstances, and the king laughed briefly, without humor. My pardon is not a matter of civil pleasantry, Costis. My pardon is a very real thing these days. A royal pardon would spare your life.

A royal pardon was impossible. I just meant that I am sorry, Costis said, helpless to explain the inexplicable. I have never, I would never. I—I . . .

Don’t usually attack cripples?

Costis’s shame closed his throat. He heard the wine being poured into a cup.

Put the mattress back on your cot, sit down, and drink this.

Moving stiffly, Costis did as he was told. By the time he took the cup and sat gingerly in the presence of the king, the king himself was seated on the stool, leaning back against the wall behind him with his legs out and crossed at the ankle. Costis couldn’t help thinking he looked like a printer’s apprentice after a bar fight and not at all like a king. He took a drink from his cup and stared into it in surprise. The wine was chilled. Sweet and clear, it was like liquid sunlight and better than anything Costis had ever had in his life.

The king’s smile spread slowly. A royal prerogative, that wine. Be careful of it, it isn’t watered. Have you eaten today?

No, Your Majesty.

The king turned his head and shouted at the curtain, and after a moment there were footsteps in the corridor and the curtain was drawn aside. Laecdomon, one of the men of Aristogiton’s squad, stood in the doorway. Aris was a friend of Costis’s. It couldn’t be pleasant for him to be standing guard outside with his squad.

The king asked for food to be brought from the mess hall. Looking contemptuous, Laecdomon bowed and went away.

That’s a loyal servant I could do without, the king said quietly as he turned back to Costis. No doubt he thinks the food is for me, and he will bring a hard loaf and olives sealed in a jar.

Costis couldn’t blame him for his opinion of Laecdomon. He’d never liked the guard. Laecdomon was a little surly, a little aloof, and Costis had been glad not to have him in his own squad. Aris didn’t much like him either, but complained more often of another one of his squad, Legarus, whom he called Legarus the Awesomely Beautiful. In addition to a pretty face, Legarus was born to a landowning family, as Aristogiton was not. Legarus would never rise to squad leader no matter how elevated his family, and this occasionally caused tension in Aristogiton’s squad.

The king interrupted Costis’s distracted thoughts.

Tell me, Costis, why do people persist in offering me food I can’t eat and then looking like wounded innocents when I point out that I can’t cut it myself? Or open a jar? Or apply soft cheese with a trowel, much less a butter knife?

Because you’re a jumped-up barbarian goatfoot who abducted the Queen of Attolia and forced her to accept you as a husband and you have no right to be king, was Costis’s thought. Aloud, he said, I don’t know, Your Majesty.

Guessing at the thoughts, Eugenides must have found them amusing. He laughed. Costis hid his flush in another swallow of the wine. It was cool in his mouth, and it eased the sick tight ball of despair in his belly.

Where are you from, Costis?

Ortia, Your Majesty. The Gede Valley above Pomea.

How big is the farm?

Not big, but we’ve held it for a long time.

The house of Ormentiedes, isn’t it?

Yes.

You’re a younger son?

My father is.

You would have been hoping for land for service?

Costis couldn’t speak. He nodded.

Costis.

Costis looked up.

If it wasn’t premeditated treason, she won’t take the farm.

Costis waved his hand, unable to put into words his knowledge that the truth of his crime was less important than the seeming.

I am king, Eugenides pointed out mildly.

Costis nodded and drank again. If Eugenides was the sovereign ruler of Attolia, why were they both sitting, waiting for the queen to return? If the king guessed again at Costis’s thought, he made no sign this time. He swung his legs back and stood up to refill Costis’s glass. Costis shivered, wondering if he should allow the king to serve him. Should he stand when he had been told to sit, should he help himself to the king’s wine? Before he could decide what was best, Eugenides had replaced the jug on the table and dropped gracefully back to the stool.

Tell me about the farm, said the king.

Haltingly, unsure of himself in this interview that was as unreal as the rest of the day, Costis took refuge in the training of hierarchy and did as he was told. He talked about the olive groves and the corn crops, the house he shared with his father and his younger sister. In between his words, he sipped his wine and the king refilled his cup. The gesture was less startling the second time. As he thought of the farm, Costis’s words came more easily. His father had quarreled with his cousin who was the head of the family, and they had moved out of the main house when Costis was young.

Your father lost the argument?

Costis shrugged. He said the only thing worse than being wrong in a family argument was being right. He said a particular dam wouldn’t hold through the spring. When it didn’t, we moved out of the house.

Not very fair.

Costis shrugged again. It had suited him. The house was small, meant for one of the farm’s managers, but it was private. Costis had been happy to be away from his cousins.

The king nodded in understanding. I didn’t get along with my cousins either. They held me face down in a rain cache once and wouldn’t let me up until I repeated several filthy insults about my family. Not that I would admit that to anyone but you. He sipped his wine. We’ve gotten along better recently, my cousins and I. Perhaps something similar will happen as you get older.

Costis finished the wine in his cup and wondered what sort of creature you would have to be to forgive your cousins a history like that. He shrugged. The king sounded like an old man giving advice to a child. The official father of the people was younger, Costis thought, than he was himself, and Costis was very young to be a squad leader. Anyway, Costis’s relationships with his cousins would have little opportunity to mature if he was going to be dead by morning. No doubt that was why the king felt safe in his embarrassing revelation.

The king refilled Costis’s cup.

When he sat again, he said, Don’t give up so soon, Costis. Tell me why you hit me.

Costis swallowed the wine in his mouth.

Or should we review? You and your friend came through the entryway while you were repeating all the insults you no doubt heard from my dear attendant Sejanus. I understand he was off drinking with his old friends from the Guard last night. Aristogiton must have missed the fun. Was he on duty?

He’s okloi. His family has no land. Sejanus wouldn’t drink with him.

But your family are patronoi? And you and Aris are friends?

Yes.

How unfortunate that the arched entryway amplified your words so well. I thought I was being magnanimous when I pretended not to have heard.

Yes, Your Majesty.

I was talking to Teleus then, wasn’t I? He called you over to join us. I think we were trying to gloss over the unpleasantness. Do you remember? We were discussing whether or not I would train with the Guard.

Yes, Your Majesty.

And you . . . , he prompted.

Hit you, Your Majesty. Costis sighed.

He’d pulled the king around and swung his fist into the king’s startled face, knocking him to the dusty ground of the training yard, where he rolled, howling and cursing and dirtying the fine white cloth of his blouse.

Why?

I don’t know.

How can you not know why you hit someone?

Costis shook his head.

It must have been something I said. Was that it?

I don’t know. He knew. The king had commiserated with Teleus on having men so inept that they allowed their own queen to be abducted.

You must admit, Costis, that I did whisk her right out from under your noses.

It was nothing you said. Y-Your Majesty was, of course, entirely correct, Costis said, hating him.

Then why? the king badgered plaintively. Tell me, Costis, why?

Costis didn’t know why he said what he said next, except perhaps that he was going to die and he didn’t want to do it with a lie on his lips.

Because you didn’t look like a king, he said.

The king stared in mild astonishment.

Costis went on, growing angrier with every word. Sejanus says you’re an idiot, and he’s right. You have no idea even how to look like a king, much less be one. You don’t walk like a king, you don’t stand like a king, you sit on the throne like . . . like a printer’s apprentice in a wineshop.

So?

So—

You mistook me for one of your cousins?

Costis surged on. So, everything Teleus said was right. You have no business wanting to practice with the Guard. You can practice with the rest of the useless aristocrats in the court, you can call up a garrison of Eddisians to train with if you want.

There aren’t any Eddisian soldiers in the palace, the king interrupted to point out.

"They are half an hour away in Thegmis port. They are scattered all over the country like boils. You can send for them. We are the Queen’s Guard, and you can leave us alone. Teleus was right. You had no business—"

Shocked at his own words, Costis lifted his hand for another swallow from his cup and paused, looking into it. It was empty. He rolled it in his fingertips and tried to think. How many times had the king filled it? Have you eaten? the king had asked before he sent for food that still hadn’t come, that he had known wouldn’t come soon. How many cups of unwatered wine had there been? Enough that his joints felt watery and his head was light. Enough that his tongue was loose in his head. He looked up to meet a mild, inquiring look from the king.

He wasn’t an idiot, whatever Sejanus said. He was a conniving bastard.

Who put you up to it? the king asked quietly.

No one, snapped Costis.

Teleus? the king prompted softly. Tell me it was Teleus and I’ll see you pardoned.

No! Costis shouted. He jumped to his feet, and his hands balled into fists. The cup in his hand fell unheeded to the floor and smashed. He could feel the heat of the rage and the wine in his face. The curtain in the doorway was swept aside.

The queen had arrived.

Costis gaped, as breathless as if the air had been driven out of him by a blow. He hadn’t heard the sounds of her arrival. He looked at Eugenides, still sitting on the stool. The king hadn’t been distracted by the noise Costis was making. He must have heard the footsteps in the hall. He’d spoken softly so that those approaching wouldn’t hear him. But they had certainly heard Costis. They had heard him shouting at the king. Smashing wine cups. Now they could see him standing over the king like a threat.

Costis took a ragged breath. He wanted to kill the king. He wanted to cry. He dropped to his knees before his queen and lowered his head almost to the floor, covering his face with his hands, still balled into fists, tightening knots of rage and bitter, bitter shame.

CHAPTER TWO

COSTIS heard the queen’s voice over his head. Do tell me why I should come to the barracks to speak to my guard?

And Eugenides answered, as calmly, You could have summoned him.

You would have come, too? Following like the tail behind the dog?

Am I insufficiently kinglike? Costis has been telling me so.

Unkingly, in so many ways, My King. Not the least of which is listening to your guard tell you so.

Eugenides accepted the rebuke without a word.

You haven’t ordered a hanging, said the queen.

Costis fought with the desire to throw himself onto his stomach and crawl toward the queen. He’d never been so helpless. Like a fly in a web, the more he struggled, the sooner he would be lost.

No, said the king. Costis hoped silently. I don’t want to hang him. Costis’s hopes fell and shattered. He cursed himself for believing even in the smallest corner of his heart that the king might try to prevent the loss of his family’s farm.

"You will not meddle with the machinery of justice," the queen warned.

Very well, then, said the king casually. Hang them both.

Him and which other of my most loyal servants, My King? Her voice never rose, every word was cool and precise, and her anger made Costis, still on his knees, shake.

Teleus, said the king with a shrug, and the queen was silenced.

It was premeditated, then, she said at last.

Gods defend them both, it wasn’t premeditated. Costis pushed himself up from the floor.

My Queen. He spoke as calmly as he could and looked up at her face as she turned to look down at him. He would rather have done anything than draw her attention.

You have something to say? She spoke as if her dog had suddenly sat up and begged to be heard.

He shouldn’t have addressed her as His Queen. He should have said Your Majesty. She was always Your Majesty no matter who addressed her, but if he was a traitor, she was no longer His Queen. The thought brought a twisting pain in his chest. He’d served her with the unrelenting loyalty of every member of her Guard, from the day he was recruited. Teleus himself had selected him, younger than most trainees, for service, and after a year of training had selected him again for the Queen’s Guard. He didn’t look away from her gaze as he spoke.

Your Majesty, please, it was stupidity, not treason. Let me prove it, if I can. Please don’t hang my Captain for something that was only my fault. He was too afraid even to speak of the farm.

Do you know what you offer? asked the queen.

No, Your Majesty, Costis admitted in a whisper. He didn’t know the details and didn’t think he should try to guess at them now. He was scared white already. But I will do anything.

Oh, very well, said the king petulantly, as if he were losing a game of chess. Don’t hang Teleus. But I don’t see how you can hang Costis if you won’t hang his superior officer.

The queen turned back to face him. "I could hang you," she said.

Eugenides looked up at her. You missed your chance for that, he said.

The queen lifted a hand to briefly cover her eyes. It is remarkable how you cloud my otherwise clear vision, she said. What is it you propose?

I propose that you let me trade him to Teleus. His life in return for Teleus’s good behavior.

Go on, prompted the queen.

Teleus thinks well of him. He performed well at the Battle of Thegmis, and his name was mentioned to you when he was promoted to squad leader.

Costis winced, having dreamed that he might someday hear that his name had been mentioned to the queen. Not like this.

I am willing to offer Teleus Costis’s life if Teleus is willing to guarantee my continued well-being.

"He is the

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  • (4/5)
    The King of Attolia is the third in the Queen’s Thief series, which starts with The Thief. I would suggest reading at least The Queen of Attolia beforehand to know the background on the different characters going in. Note – there will be inevitable spoilers for previous books in this review.The King of Attolia is a introspective, character based YA fantasy novel. Honestly, if I hadn’t known it was marketed as YA, I wouldn’t have guessed. The characters ages are never explicitly stated, although we know Eugenides to be young. It’s also has very low levels of magic. There’s a bit of communicating with the gods, but nothing beyond that. Certainly, there’s no wizards or dragons.The King of Attolia takes up not too long after The Queen of Attolia left off. Eugenides has married Attolia (Irene), but the court absolutely hates him. They consider him to be weak and stupid, and to be fair, he doesn’t give them many reasons to think otherwise.The majority of the novel is told from the point of view of Costis, a palace guard. Costis has the misfortune of losing his temper at the king and punching Eugenides in the face. Certain he’s about to be executed, Costis is instead made Eugenides personal guard. Costis provides the perspective of an outsider and lets the reader see Eugenides from the perspective of the court. Costis gradually comes to see more and more of who we know Eugenides to be from previous books.The strength of this series is the characterization, which is excellent. There’s so many complexities and subtleties going on. All of these characters feel realistic, and the joy of the series comes from getting to understand them. It’s a pleasure to spend time in their company, and Eugenides is relentlessly charming.Plot wise, The King of Attolia is slower paced book focused around court intrigue. It reminds me a lot of The Goblin Emperor, actually. My main criticism is that there’s a bit of a lull about a hundred pages from the end, where it seems like everything’s wrapped up. There’s still somethings to be taken care of, but it throws off the pacing.I’d recommend The King of Attolia for those looking for a quiet but well wrought shorter fantasy novel.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (4/5)
    The King of Attolia feels different than The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. That is not to say that it's bad, but after two superb books, this one seemed more laid back. It is still the story of Gen, but this time we get to see it from someone else's eyes. And this someone else is a new character in the series – Costis. Costis is a royal guard, and very much loyal to his Queen. And since there is much speculation on whether she had any choice in marrying the King, it means he is not going out of his way to protect him. But when he punches the King in face he knows he has gone too far. Actually he doesn't really understand how he got to that point, but since he is also a very honourable person, he awaits his punishment. He does get it, in a way, but not what he expected. He becomes the King's sparring partner, his guard, and sometimes his confident. And through the eyes of Costis we get to see Gen, that now needs to be a bit more covert about his tricks, and who has to comes to terms that he is a king.At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like The King of Attolia – it was too different comparing to the previous books. There didn't seem to be much of a plot at the beginning – no wars to fight, no jewels to steal. There is a plot, off course, but it's not action-centered, it's more of a coming to terms with responsibility. And also about loyalty.There is also a small insight about the relationship of Attolia and Gen, but again, mostly through Costis eyes. It did work for me, because not only it allowed me to see into the relationship, but Costis was also learning something. And by the end of the book I had come to like Costis. He might not be as memorable as the other main characters, but he developed very well throughout the book, and his love-hate-incomprehension relationship with Gen was hilarious at times.I did like The King of Attolia, but not as much as the first two. It was a fun read, with a peek into Attolia's court life, with some twists, and some laughs. What I found myself missing was Sophos, who hasn't appeared since book 1, but has been mentioned a lot. There is a bit of an intrigue with his disappearance that is not resolved (it is in the next book, though).Also at Spoilers and Nuts
  • (5/5)
    The premise: ganked from BN.com: By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making. Attolia's barons seethe with resentment, the Mede emperor is returning to the attack, and the king is surrounded by the subtle and dangerous intrigue of the Attolian court. When a naive young guard expresses his contempt for the king in no uncertain terms, he is dragged by Eugenides into the center of the political maelstrom. Like the king, he cannot escape the difficulties he makes for himself. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but he discovers a reluctant sympathy for Eugenides as he watches the newly crowned king struggle against his fate.My RatingMust Have: it's very, very close to a "Keeper Shelf" because I'm very, very tempted to sit down with the first three books and read them all over again. The King of Attolia was beautiful, and I'm not sure what else I can say. When I finished, I just sat there, savoring it, not wanting to rush to the next book in my TBR pile because I simply wanted let the book resonate with me. There's so much beauty here, and what a heroic and clever journey for Eugenides. It's a quiet, subtle fantasy that delights the mind and warms the heart PROVIDED you already have the first two books under your belt. Mind you, this could be read as a stand-alone, but you're missing a whole other dimension to this book if you do so. So don't. This book is by far the best of the three, and I can honestly say I look forward to the fourth book in the series, A Conspiracy of Kings, once it's available in paperback (though I won't say no to a free hardcover if it came my way). I did get the bonus of a short story in the back of my The King of Attolia copy, which focused on a childhood experience between the girl who would become Eddis and the gods, and that too was beautiful. Honestly, I have to say I love the way Turner handles the magic and religion of this series, as it's honest while being fictional, honest without being trite. Fantastic work, and I highly recommend this book, let alone the series, to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy but hasn't yet checked this out. Just note: The Thief is very different in tone and style than the rest of the books, so don't be jarred like I originally was when I read The Queen of Attolia. :)Review style: I'm going to talk about why time heals (some) reading wounds, how the style isn't as jarring this time around and why, and how having the first two books under your belt really helps the enjoyment of the novel even though it could be read as a stand-alone, and lastly, how this series just doesn't feel like YA in the slightest, and how I'm not convinced that the characters I'm reading about are even teenagers. Spoilers? Unlike Eugenides, I'll behave. The full review is in my LJ, for anyone who's interested. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)REVIEW: Megan Whalen Turner's THE KING OF ATTOLIAHappy Reading!
  • (3/5)
    Irritating, punctuated by intervals of interesting.

    Others have already expressed the gist of my dissatisfaction--if it weren't for the good bits being very good, this would be a one or two star book. As it is, I'm basically done with the series--I thought 2 was a huge let-down after 1, and 3 is much the same if not slightly worse.

    The author has created some wonderful characters and then kept them away from us. She's created compelling relationships that we don't get to see. Eventually (not really a spoiler) you from-time-to-time find out that some interesting things were happening while she wasn't telling you about them, which is maddening.

    My favourite kind of writing will let you in enough on the plan to lure you in, but withholds enough to keep its eventual unfolding surprising. Not here. I'm done.

    (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).
  • (4/5)
    Gen you lovable little shit
  • (5/5)
    THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE SERIES.I'm a sucker for outside point of view and competence, and this book has both in spades. Costis is an immensely good-hearted but kind of blockheaded character. He's irritatingly noble, but lovely. His devotion to his queen is beautiful, and his derision of the king gives me life.Furthermore, seeing he outside view of the Eugenides-Attolia relationship is actually really amazing. After the Queen of Attolia, it's a little ambiguous whether they'll succeed as a marriage, but in the King of Attolia, it's made clear that despite their old issues, they well and truly love each other.And Eugenides fighting off all the assassins himself--that was great.Final desperate hope: Please don't let this be the last we see of Costis. It's possible he was just a character who was meant to illustrate the people's opinion of Eugenides. It's possible he doesn't serve any purpose other than that. BUT. I am still so, so attached to him and his bantering relationship with the king, and I would love more of that.
  • (4/5)
    The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner is the third novel in her Queen’s Thief fantasy series. The setting for these novels reminds me of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. The characters’ names are Greek and this world has many gods, ruled over by the Great Goddess Hephestia. It is impossible to discuss this book without giving spoilers from the first two books, so if you are planning on reading these books, perhaps you should skip this review. Although the story continues on from the last book and is mostly about the marriage between Eugenides and the Queen of Attolia and how the Thief of Eddis takes to being the king, it is largely told from the point of view of Costis, a young soldier in the Queen’s Guard. Costis is honourable, loyal and steadfast, and as he comes to understand the complicated relationship between the Queen and the King, so too, do the readers.The story involves the political intrigues that the marriage between the Thief of Eddis and the Queen of Attolia generates in the Attolian court. Most of the court views him as weak, unfit to be their king, but after an assassination attempt, it becomes very clear that there is a lot more to this new young King and his relationship with the Queen then was previously thought. While the main storyline is of his struggle to accept his destiny, when the true character of the King is finally revealed, Attolia can now concentrate on the danger that threatens from outside. Can the small countries of Attolia and Eddis stand united against an invasion from the Mede Empire?Even though the story unfolds from the viewpoint of Costis, The King of Attolia is front and center as he matures and maneuvers his way to power. Although the reader is not privy to any intimate details between them, the Queen and King have an undeniable chemistry. And while there is less action than in the previous books, the author has crafted a very intelligent, romantic and absorbing story. I am already looking forward to book number four.
  • (5/5)
    Great Book!I love the way the story builds. Since I read the prior books I know there is much ore to Eugenides than what Costis sees. But what is Eugenides up to?
  • (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.

  • (5/5)
    Eugenides is now King of Attolia. He only took the position to avert a Mede invasion...and because he's desperately in love with the Queen of Attolia. He admires her strength and power, and does not want to rule as king, afraid that he'll take that away from her, or that he'll be forced into a role he does not want. Instead, he plays the fool. His deceptions, and the machinations of the Attolian court, all come to a head at last. All of this is slowly revealed via the perspective of Costis, a young and honorable guardsman who dislikes his new king but gradually comes to respect him against his will.

    I adored this book, which showcases both how incredible our beloved characters are, and how much they love each other. I love the relationship between Gen and Irene, tangled up as it is with pride, love, and memories of past brutality. And I love all the intrigues, which made perfect sense once they were revealed but were rather too smart for me to figure out on my own.

  • (5/5)
    wow. gen was like completely Machiavellian but in a good way. loved it.
  • (5/5)
    Super short review b/c this was just pure epicness, through and through! Haven't read a fantasy so good in quite a while. I feel like the first two in the series were pretty much building up to this perfection, even though they were decently good in their own rights! I think the only problem I had with it was my wanting more Attolia/Gen goodness and yet I still wouldn't add anything to keep it as enigmatic as possible. Gonna stop rambling words at 3 in the morning now, but yes. Loved, loved it (best read of the year, maybe?)
  • (5/5)
    Caution: Spoilers for previous books in the seriesBook Three, The King of Attolia, is told from an entirely different point of view from previous books, that of Costis Ormentiedes. Costis is in the Queen’s Guard, and like many others in service to the palace, thought of Eugenides as “a jumped-up barbarian goatfoot who abducted the Queen of Attolia and forced her to accept you as a husband and you have no right to be king…” As this third book begins, Costis has impulsively punched the new king in the jaw, and expects to be executed. Instead, the King comes to him and makes him a part of his own guard.Costis is not the only guard member who has been acting out dislike for the new king. Eugenides has endured sand in his food, snakes in his bed, ink stains on his clothes, and other little acts of aggression from guard members. Once, hunting dogs were even released into the courtyard as he passed through. Repeatedly though, Gen pretended not to notice.But Gen is no one’s fool, and there is always a reason behind what he does and does not do. In the course of this story, his motives become clear, as the Court finally figures out that he is a worthy King indeed.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!
  • (4/5)
    This is probably my favorite book yet in the series. I didn't think Ms. Turner could surprise me when it came to Gen, but she manages it all the same. This story is told primarily from the viewpoint of Costis who goes from insulting the king to being his most loyal defender. I especially loved the scenes between Gen and Irene. Beautiful.
  • (5/5)
    She amazes me. I had high expectations and she surpassed them. God this is GOOD. It's entirely about becoming oneself and coming into one's own, with Turner's usual unexpected twists and turns, wonderful characterization and sharp point of view. Five stars for how she manages to make me care about a character I've never even met before. Five stars for how she manages to make me chuckle every time she writes a joke. Five stars for her ability to create suspense out of thin air. Such wisdom in such few pages. Such stakes. Yet, such humanity. Great sequel and an even better novel.
  • (5/5)
    Oh my goodness! A masterpiece. How can these keep getting better. This one gets more subtle and complex as well. Another seemingly very well thought out and interesting shift in the POV. Third person but mostly through the eyes of a king's guard - sort of.

    I wish Megan Whalen Turner had a much larger list of books already written. The fourth book in this series has been ordered as well as her book of fantasy short stories. I'll probable be picking up the couple of anthologies listed that contain her work.
  • (2/5)
    Deeply disappointing. What seemed so promising at the start reads like self-indulgent slash fic once it really gets going. Goopy.
  • (5/5)
    This series seems to get a lot better as it goes along. In a way, I almost wish I hadn't read The Thief first, because if you've read that, Eugenides won't have you fooled at all in this book. Still, it probably helps to have the background information. At the end of the second book, I was unsure about the romance, and I'm not convinced that aspect was fully developed before it was introduced, but that doesn't matter as much in this book -- the characters are perfectly believable, now, as is their difficult relationship. The difficulties of it are never once forgotten, and the queen remains a strong character.

    Costis, who is for the most part the POV character, is perhaps not that compelling in himself, but that doesn't matter so much -- for all that Costis is the eyes of the narration, Eugenides is the heart and soul of it. It's fantastic to watch his political hijinks, and the way he balances the right thing for Attolia, the right thing to do morally speaking, and what he wants to do. Even through Costis, we see Eugenides' emotional state when it's important, too, so I kind of felt there was nothing lacking here.

    It was also funny, in that fantastic situational way where you can't explain it when someone asks. It's fantastic.
  • (2/5)
    I don't particularly like the star system of rating, but I can see where it comes in handy with my review here. If it wasn't for the 5, 5, 5 stars running down the page for this book, I would have marked it 3. It's just not that good.

    It's a fun read, engaging and easy, but this author gets no quarter until she comes up with a few female characters that are more than Queen-pawns on Gen's chessboard. Even Dorothy L "Wimsey Worship" Sayers could write some cracking good female characters and they got something to do.

    I was chuffed to read the short story about young Eddis at the end of my edition, so it's not as if Turner's incapable of female characters. More of that please.

    Looking forward to Queen of Attolia, for which I am only approx 75th on the hold list at the library.
  • (4/5)
    Loved this one, once I got over the POV change. I think I'd like to re-read these in about a year, once I've forgotten enough, and see how I feel about the first one then.

    This book plays a deeper game than the second. It's also a lot of fun, and deepens some of the characters appreciably. The plot twists and wriggles, and it's a nice ride.

  • (5/5)
    This has so many levels of awesome its hard to pick which is the best. But seriously Gen is one of my all time favorite YA characters.
  • (4/5)
    A lot happened in this book. In some places I wished I was reading the Kindle edition, because so many things happened that it would have been very helpful to be able to search for a name in the later half when an event or person from earlier was referenced and I didn't remember the details any longer.

    Only when I finished did I realize that this book uses third person in the way I find most interesting: to reveal, through the eyes of another person (or people) another character far more fully than would be possible when shackled in first person, with all inherent the blinds points of that viewpoint. (Certainly we saw in the Thief just how unreliable an unreliable narrator can be.) Because this book is definitely about Eugenides, and I thought that in some ways it was more successful than the Queen of Attolia in that the reader experienced Costis' gradual acceptance of who Eugenides is, in earning that characterization in a way that made perfect sense with everything we know about him from the first two books.

    My one issue is that I felt like that total acceptance of the Guard and Teleus came possibly too easily in the end, although I suppose if we accept that the Guard's dislike of him was based mainly on their disbelief a his prowess with a sword, it makes sense.
  • (5/5)
    I had a hard time putting these books down. Gen is always so miserable at the beginning of the book. I keep reading through the books quickly to find out what he has up his sleeves and how he will get out of his troubles. I'm glad to have another book to read that follows this one, but I'm sure I'll just miss the characters more after finishing it. Great story telling. I'm very attached to this world and the people who live there.
  • (4/5)
    Continuing the story of Eugenides, this installment follows the former thief in his new role as the King of Attolia. Surrounded by former enemies and conspiring aristocrats, Eugenides must navigate the difficult waters of his wife's royal court. His subtle tactics create an unlikely ally of Costis, a young guardsmen, and must eventually prove his worth as the king.
  • (4/5)
    "The King of Attolia" is yet again a very different book than its predecessors, "The Thief" and "The Queen of Attolia". Building upon events from the prior books I believe that this one is my favorite of the series so far. There is one more book to go. The Thief of Eddis, Eugenides, now the King of Attolia, plays a dangerous game in this book. Attolia has long been rife with rival factions and some if not most would be happy to have the new King dead and gone. This story is told through the eyes of a young guard who adores his Queen, but initially hates and despises the King, but is very honest and devoted to his service and becomes fiercely loyal to Eugenides.This was a well told tale that I enjoyed very much.
  • (5/5)
    So hard to say much about this as everything is a spoiler. So suffice to say the series has become one of my favorite ever. Gen is such a terrifically complex and surprising character. His schemes and plans are always so complex that although you know he's up to something, it's never quite clear just what until the whole thing falls into place.This book shows him through the eyes of a guard who, the poor thing, has no clue who or what Gen is, but has to find a way to deal with him. At first hating him, as do most of his fellows, and then coming eventually to a fierce loyalty even he can't explain.On to the last current book [Conspiracy of Kings].
  • (5/5)
    Eugenides, former Thief of Eddis, only wanted the Queen of Attolia, but he got the title of king as well. Attolians openly scorn and ridicule their dim-witted and utterly incompetent foreigner king, but, even with only one hand, Eugenides has many more tricks up his sleeve, starting with all the events that transpire after an encounter with an honest young guard named Costis…Oh my word. Megan Whalen Turner rewards devoted fans of this series by presenting a third installment that is suspenseful, plot-twistingly smart, and surprisingly romantic.When you read or reread MWT’s books, you never do so with the intention that you’ll completely understand how these characters’ minds work. That’s what I admire so much about this series—even if, at times, I do not completely like the books. Do you know the difference? Eugenides and Attolia are not entirely likable: they’re each way too clever, powerful, manipulative, and ruthless for me to actually want to be friends with them. I related most to something that Costis’ friend Aristogiton said regarding loving the queen: he would follow her to the ends of the earth and give up his life for her, but he would never for anything be her lover or partner. Eugenides and Attolia clearly work together, yet we readers, just like pretty much all Eddisians and Attolians, cannot precisely describe how.In a ways, Megan Whalen Turner’s unique narrative style allows this distant admiration of the two main characters. Instead of giving us the point of view of the narrator—and furthermore, in MWT’s case, the narrator(s) and main characters aren’t necessarily one and the same!—MWT often gives no character’s point of view: the “narrator,” the flimsy definition of which is just the character whose reactions might have been mentioned first in each scene, is simply an outside observer like us readers. The result is that THE KING OF ATTOLIA read like a true “novelization” of a movie or TV show—because, just like when you watch movies or TV, you see the actions and characters’ reactions, but never entirely get their thoughts on matters, so you have kind of the same thing going on in KING. It’s a rare occurrence in literature, and does nothing to help you better comprehend Eugenides, Attolia, and others, but it’s precisely how MWT manages to keep readers on their figurative toes throughout the entire book, even if all the little action going on is confined within palace walls.The series stumbled for me a bit with The Queen of Attolia, because I thought that MWT’s unique narrative style didn’t work quite as well when the plot revolved around a multi-country war, but KING pulled me right back in by focusing more on characters and their relationships with one another. Like I mentioned earlier, KING rewards devoted fans of the series by the very fact that it keeps us out of the minds of the beloved main characters, making it so that the allure of the enigmatic continues to surround them even as we read more about them. I thought I had figured Eugenides out after accompanying him through two books, but that was not the case, and it delighted me all the more that I was never able to pin what I know down enough to successfully make any predictions about plot or character at all.THE KING OF ATTOLIA is a literary feast for the intelligent, for sure. Megan Whalen Turner keeps you on your toes right from the start, and continues to do so all the way to the end, where she still succeeds in shocking you. What a book. What an accomplishment.
  • (5/5)
    In this third book of the series, Megan Whalen Turner leaves the threat to Attolia and its neighbouring monarchies from the Medes simmering in the background as motivation for the urgency of a strong rule, and instead gives the reader a splendidly intimate insight into the problems of the young King’s new position. Gen is enduring a great deal for his love of the Queen, as witnessed by Costis, a guard with little political savvy and no liking for the thief who stole a throne, but who Eugenides nevertheless enlists as a personal lieutenant. The author has cleverly deposited Gen in a position where he is once again initially unimpressive; his youth and comparative freedom to date so obviously against him, removing him from everyone who has grown to respect his strengths, and once again leaves the reader – who should know better by now – wondering if the Thief of Eddis can handle ruling as King.I am really enjoying these books; all the characters are strong, but since meeting Gen in the first person narration of book one, the reader has immediate sympathy with him in these next two books; watching him manipulate the people who would try to manipulate him is a delight, and watching him win their respect is even better.
  • (4/5)
    Gen, now king, struggles with how to be king while retaining his identity as the Thief, honoring his role in Eddis, and learning to be a husband. He’d prefer to be thought weak so that the queen can continue to rule, but it doesn’t quite work that way. I’m describing the book badly—it’s very controlled, and it spends half the time in the POV of a guard who really doesn’t like Gen at the outset and comes instead to see him with half respect, half incomprehension. It does very interesting things with palace intrigue and Greek-ish settings where, among other things, Gen’s god does intervene—but only to prevent him from dying in a specific way.
  • (5/5)
    Another fascinating entry in this amazing series, where Eugenides tries to figure out what kind of king he will be as no one in Attolia wants him to be king. The main voice is young Costis, a member of the Royal Guard who doesn't understand this young man who is suddenly his ruler and struggles in Eugenides' wake. These books are a great series for readers in middle and high school who enjoy political intrigue and historical fiction as they are inspired by the history of Greece. They hold a reminder of how dangerous the world of politics can be and the violence is approached seriously, which a reader should be aware of.