Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

Thick as Thieves 
by Megan Whalen Turner
Read: February 7 - 9, 2017
Published:  May 16, 2017 by Greenwillow Books

Source: ALA MW 2017
Tags: YA, Fantasy, 

Series: The Queen's Thief 5/6?
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository Indiebound

Thick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. 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.

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, an ordinary hero takes on an extraordinary mission. Includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey.

Spoiler free thoughts

The Queen's Thief series is one of my favorite series of all time. I just cannot express how much I am in love with this world and Gen and Irene and Eddis and Costis and Sophos and and now Kamet and and and. I count myself lucky to have discovered this series after the fourth book was released, as they come out every five years or more. That means I didn't have quite so long to wait for number five, but of course the wait is on for six. *cue sobbing* For newbies to the series, each book is a complete entity with its own narrative approach, but they all build on each other. So while this addition is being called a "standalone," I would argue strongly that it's in fact, part of a series, and you must read the previous four installments to understand the magic of this one. Trust me. 

If you're interested in my thoughts on the previous books in this series, see my reviews of The Thief & The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings

Every book in The Queen's Thief series is something different, but they all build on each other in a magical way that is defies explanation. My favorite remains The King of Attolia, but this is a more than worthy edition to the collection. MWT's books are filled with quiet moments and an intense thoughtfulness that add up to greatness. You never know where you're going until all of a sudden you're there, and then you're blown away when you turn around and see the full picture. I was thrilled to learn which characters would be the focus of this installment, and I loved the theme of an unlikely friendship. I cannot recommend this series enough.

Thick As Thieves is narrated in first person by Kamet, secretary and slave to Nahuseresh
, the nephew of the Mede Emperor and one time suitor of the Queen of Attolia. Despite being a slave, Kamet is content in his high position within Nahuseresh's household, and as his master advances in rank, Kamet has the potential to as well. Nothing would induce him to leave his role, until one day, his perfectly planned out future comes crashing down and the entire course of his life changes. This leads to a journey fraught with much danger and adventure, as well as a an unlikely friendship that Kamet never would have anticipated, and which had me cheering. 

One of my forever favorite parts of this series is the opportunity to see beloved characters from different perspectives, and this installment does not disappoint in that respect. Cue sobbing for the next installment. 

Love Triangle Factor: None (this book is much more focused on friendship)

Cliffhanger Scale: Low. This seres has at least one more book, though this part of the larger narrative is complete. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer
by Laini Taylor
Read: March 2 - 6, 2017
Published: March 28, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA
Category: YA, Fantasy

Book Description: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

I am a huge fan of Laini Taylor's books. She creates intensely details fantasy worlds, characters who jump vividly off the page and romances that tear you apart with their beauty and longing. I could not wait to get my hands on her newest work Strange the Dreamer, and when I finally read it, I was completely blown away. This story is everything I expected in her books and more, including the fantastic creatures and heartbreak amidst the gorgeous words and imagery. 

Strange the Dreamer is not fast paced, but it is completely mesmerizing, and I was enthralled all the way through. I love the way the story begins with Lazlo Strange and builds slowly and powerfully. I fell harder and harder in love with Lazlo and then Sarai, and then their connection with each other as the tale unfolded. Especially Lazlo, whose love of stories and dreams of seeing Weep made me ache with longing along with him. 

Strange the Dreamer has a dreamlike quality that mirrors the themes in a mind-bendingly gorgeous way. But dreams can easily tip into nightmares and this story creeps into terrifying darkness as well. I loved everything about this tale save one thing that broke me into a million pieces. I'm never going to get over it, though I should have expected it. I'm such an emotional reader, and I was so mad when I finished that it took me a few weeks to recover, but there's no denying this story's magical pull. 

I know I didn't give very many specific details in these thoughts, which is mostly because this story was so wonderful to discover on its own without much influence. Also, often the less I say, the more protective I feel about a book. I highly, highly recommend this, and now I'm desperate for the sequel Muse of Nightmares. 

Love Triangle Factor: None 
Cliffhanger Scale: High

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