Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

Title: The King of Attolia
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2007 (Paperback)
Length: 385 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Started: January 22, 2010
Finished: January 26, 2010

From the publisher:
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.

The King of Attolia is the third book in The Queen's Thief series, and is my favourite thus far (book 4 comes out in April, so we'll see about that one). I don't know if it's because the author's skill grew during the years between each installment, or whether each subsequent book just dealt with subject matter I enjoyed more, but each book has been better in my opinion, than its predecessor.

Eugenides has now married the Queen of Attolia and become the king. All of Attolia believes he forced the queen to marry him, and of course how could they love each other when she was responsible for cutting off his hand? The king's royal guard plays dangerous tricks on him daily, and the country's barons are scheming to kill him in order to win the favour and power of the queen. When the guard Costis assaults Eugenides openly, he is prepared for death but is instead made to spend time with the king 24/7 as his lieutenant. Costis eventually learns to respect Eugenides and learns that he is not incompetent as the nation believes, and that he also loves their queen dearly. That respect spreads to the whole of the Attolian court as Eugenides proves himself worthy as a king.

I think the best part of this book was seeing the small romantic moments between Eugenides and Irene (the queen). We were told in the previous book that they both love each other, but never really saw anything to back that up. The touches, the endearments, the glances and unsaid communication were all written wonderfully, as if the king and queen were any other married couple (except that they must be proper and discreet). You see it all through Costis' eyes too, so it's as if you're learning about the characters all over again. Eugenides' trickery and intelligence is downplayed while he plans the downfall of a baron that threatens the peace in Attolia, but the way he pulls it all together is amazing.

Best book in The Queen's Thief series so far, read this!

Thoughts on the cover:
Eugenides in his formal dress, and you can see the queen's hand behind him on his shoulder. The cover makes Eugenides look young, which he is, but I never think of him that way because he's very capable. Considering how in the novel, the Attolians think the king is controlling the queen, the cover makes it look like the queen is controlling Eugenides by the way her hand is placed and the expression on his face.

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