Monday, January 14, 2013

King of Attolia

by Megan Whalen Turner
Read: December 5-6, 2012
Published: January 24, 2006 by Greenwillow Books
Source: Library book
Category: Fantasy
Series: The Queen's Thief book 3

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides (yoo-JEN-ə-deez) wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides. (from Goodreads)

NOTE: The King of Attolia is the third book in The Queen's Thief series. My review contains SPOILERS for the first two. If you haven't read The Thief or The Queen of Attolia yet, you should probably not read below. See my spoiler free thoughts on those books HERE

I have a confession. I was really worried about Eugenides' choice of brides when I finished The Queen of Attolia. Don't get me wrong, I love unconventional relationships. I am especially amazed when an author has the ability to make me like a character that I had previously despised. But by the end of The Queen of Attolia, we had seen very little interaction between Gen and Irene, and every second of it was strained. Not only was it impossible for me to get a sense of how they would work as a couple, but I'll admit that I was still angry at her for hurting Gen over and over again. 

I know you can't always choose who you love, but I thought Gen made a particularly poor match in the queen. However, that's also one of my favorite things about Eugenides' character, the fact that people are constantly underestimating him and questioning his decisions. He proves them wrong every time. You win again, Eugenides.

The King of Attolia is told in rotating third person limited perspective. This time, instead of focusing on Gen's thoughts, most of the book is told to us by a palace guard named Costis. At first I was put out by this choice. I wanted to be in Eugenides' head, and find out from him how he was handling his new role as king. But the more I read, the more I believed that the book was stronger because of the way it was written. 

As king Eugenides is in a very public role. How his subjects see him is essential to his reign. As a reader invested in this series, I know that Gen is always up to something. But the people of Attolia don’t know that, and through Costis we are able to see what they think about their new ruler. I also had many of the same questions that Costis wonders about Eugenides and Irene's relationship. Do they really love each other? Is Irene still intimidating Gen? Is Eugenides going to step up to his role as king? Getting the answers to these questions by watching Gen through Costis' eyes made the the answers more meaningful, because I could see how the new king affected those around him.

Eugenides and Irene are still an unconventional couple and very different from each other, but as this book progressed I was able to see the strength of their bond, and how powerful they are together. I especially I loved the few peeks we got into their private world. That isn’t to say their relationship (or either of them) is perfect. Irene comes across as cold and abrasive at times, and it's clear she's still struggling with guilt over what she did to Gen in the previous book. Eugenides on the other hand, appears uncomfortable with his role as king and continues to get on everybody's nerves.

“He whines, and complains, he ducks out of the most obvious responsibility. He is vain, petty, and maddening, but he doesn’t ever quit.” 

As The Queen's Thief series continues, I love thinking about how we first saw Gen in The Thief and compare that to who he has become now. He is still so much the same person but has grown tremendously. Eugenides is never to be underestimated and truly is a force to be reckoned with.

After four books, I've become amazed at Megan Whalen Turner's abilities as a writer. The care and life she's breathed into Eugenides' world is visible on every page. She excels at using small, subtle moments to tell her readers important information, and has a brilliant mind for political strategy and intrigue. Often things are not what they seem, and everyone is somewhat sympathetic if you view the world from their perspective. That alone brings a complexity to this series that I rarely see.

I love The Queen's Thief series so much, and The King of Attolia is the best book yet. Do yourself a favor and pick it up now. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low


  1. I was commenting on this today morning and then my iPod died in the middle of my comment. =.= Anyway you truly did justice to this book, Lauren! I don't think I could have written such a perfect review for it. I just LOVED this one, especially the manner in which Turner managed to make this so political and yet so introspective and character-driven too. Really, she's a genius!

    Also, is it just me, or is romance told from an outside perspective the most swoon-worthy? I remember there's this one scene in Finnikin of the Rock where Froi sees Finnikin and Isaboe kissing and it was the best kiss of the book hands down!

    I also loved what you said about Gen being the same, yet subtly different. Somehow, that always blows me away - the fact that he is so inherently himself, while having such SMALL changes go a long way in making him a leader and consort. I really am SO thrilled you loved this one and I can't wait to read your thoughts on the latest book too!(:

    1. Ugh. Commenting on iPhones or iPods is a nightmare in general. Sorry you lost it!

      I love what you said about an outside perspective. I completely agree with that - I especially love authors that wright with that concept in mind. I think that Maggie Stiefvater also is fantastic at various perspectives. And I need to go back and re-read Finnikin. That series stole my heart and I want to relive it.

      I adore Gen more and more every book. He grows up even more in book 4.

  2. I love this review so hard, Lauren!!! YES YES YES. You GET it. I loved the choice to use Costis as our viewpoint for this one, and it was so much stronger as a result--we got to see them from the outside and have our questions answered. Blergh, I could go on and on but I feel like I'd just be repeating your entire review, which is fantastic! So happy you got into this series.

    1. Thank you for the gift of this series! I'm pretty sure you're the first person to encourage me to read it, and it was so much better than I could have ever imagined. I love when that happens!

  3. I love that the synopsis now includes a proper pronunciation of Eugenides' name. :)

    I really think you hit the nail on the head as to the significance of Costis' narration. I still miss Eugenides being our narrator, but having Costis thrown in does make a lot of sense. I also think the dynamics between Costis and Eugenides is the best ever. One of my favorite quotes:
    "How many cups, Costis?" he asked without lifting his head.
    Costis flushed. "Ten."
    "Ten gold cups for my sake?" He looked up, surprised. "I thought you hated me."
    "I do."

    And of course I love Eugenides and Irene, something I never thought possible. But it's so fantastically wonderful. And I just love Megan Whalen Turner's writing.

    Lovely review, Lauren! And now I feel the urge to go re-read the entire series once more. :)

    1. I am thankful for the pronunciation, because I would never have gotten it right! And I love seeing Costis and Eugenides together as well - that quote and the scene around it is one of my favorites. When Costis starts to get a glimpse of the real Gen.

      I want to re-read and I just read the series in December.

  4. I was visiting your blog for the Masque giveaway when I saw KoA on your sidebar. Hello, fellow MWT lover!

    I loved this post. Loved, loved, loved it. To be honest, I hated KoA when I first read it. I didn't want to be in Costis's head, I wanted to be in Gen's! I wanted to know what was going on as it happened. Of course, the twists blew me away, and the more often I read this book, the more I've come to completely adore everyone in it. Gen and Attolia are a given, but I also love Costis and even Dite.

    I'm doing a post next week on my favorite romances, and the scenes from KoA put Gen and Attolia right up there for me.

    Man, now I need to reread the book.

    1. YAY! I am a recent convert to this series but I feel like I want to tell everyone how awesome MWT is! I can't believe it took me so long to discover her. Yes, I was put off by the way the story was written at first, but I do think it's better this way. After Irene's behavior in QoA, I can't believe how much I love them together now.


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