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4 Book Series by Megan Whalen Turner
BOOK CLUB REVIEW, April 2010, by Jenny McWha
4 Book Fantasy Series
by Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief, The Queen of Attolia,
the King of Atollia, A Conspiracy of Kings.
I am very excited this month, ladies. That’s because I FINALLY get to share with you some of my favourite books ever. The problem is that a lot of people don’t know about them, so I couldn’t wait to tell all you about them. What are they? Well…
The Good: A series of books by Megan Whalen Turner beginning with The Thief. (A Conspiracy of Kings, out this month, is the fourth book). It tells the story of Gen, a thief who gets himself arrested when he boasts that he can do anything, even steal the King of Sounis’s seal ring. Well, that goes wrong, but Gen gets out when Sounis’s magus enlists his help to steal something from a neighbouring country. The only problem is that what Gen has to steal may not even exist. The only thing I can say about the rest of the books is that Gen starts to get in more and bigger trouble (and somehow manages to get out of it EVERY time).
So, this may seem like a really vague summary, but there is totally a reason. One of the reasons I love these books so much is that each one contains a very large twist and/or surprise that the reader never expects. Unfortunately, even to give a summary of the current book will ruin some very big twists! Let me just tell you that you will never expect anything that the author throws at you. Part of the fun of this is that when you re-read the books (and I have re-read them many times) you can try to find all the hints that you missed by a long shot the first time.
Another thing that makes these books so good is the main character, Gen. I am not kidding when I say that I think he is the best character that I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. There is something so fun, dangerous, petulant, hilarious, sarcastic, and absolutely loveable about him. I don’t know how Megan Whalen Turner does it, but I never tire about reading what new messes he gets himself into. In him is a mixture of loyalty and mischief that makes for a very entertaining read. Plus, Turner is extra sneaky and never tells the reader how old he is. If you’re wary about reading so many books with a guy as the main character, then don’t despair. Not only is Gen really fun, but he is surrounded by some very strong and very powerful women that any reader would be happy to look up to.
I also really like the setting. As Turner described it, it is like ancient Greece, but in the 1500s, with technology like guns and books. But the Mediterranean landscape and culture gives a nice uniqueness to these books, with so many fantasy novels using a more medieval-England setting. If you are afraid of fantasy, though, these are good books to try, as they have more of a historical than fantasy feel, and the only thing that can really be described as magic is the fact that the gods come down for occasional visits.
Lastly, I love these books because of Megan Whalen Turner’s writing. She is far from hard to read, and the books go by very quickly, but her writing has a kind of complexity that you can only see upon going back to experience them again. There are parts that I still don’t understand, and probably won’t until all the books are written, and maybe not even then. I enjoy them every time, and still marvel about how much the author packs into one sentence, scene, or story. I would love to tell you more, but I just have to say, try them!
Downside: Do I really have to? Well, I’ll try. Again, if you really don’t like books with a guy as the main character, then maybe these books aren’t for you. Something that also threw me off at first is that each book changes the point of view, sometimes even following a character that is totally new. But I did get used to it, and eventually loved those characters just as much as the originals. If you’re not used to fantasy this may be hard, too, but I think the story works so well independently of this that it shouldn’t be a problem.
Genre: Fantasy, but with more a historical fiction feel.
Ages: 9 to 10 and up, although there is nothing too mature about these books. The great thing about them is that as you age, you see more things about them, and get a totally new experience.
Other Books: Well, I’ll start off by telling you all the books in the series: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, the King of Atollia, and A Conspiracy of Kings. Megan Whalen Turner also has a book of short stories called Instead of Three Wishes. Really, I can’t think of any other books like these!
Rating: Two thumbs WAY UP!
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April 2010 Blogs
BOOK CLUB SELECTION:
AWESOME 4 Book Fantasy Series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Atollia, and A Conspiracy of Kings.
MUSIC CLUB PICKS: