When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eudenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.
...at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph--and his greatest loss--comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...
Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL) and Bulletin Blue Ribbon Best of 2000 Award
The Queen of Attoliaby Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen of Attolia is one of the most beautiful stories ever written. It is the second book by Megan Whalen Turner, following her first book The Thief (The Queen's Thief). The author does this amazing thing where she starts you off absolutely loathing characters, but gradually she twists your vision to discover there is something incredibly sad and unutterably sweet about them.
Where The Thief is told in first person, this novel is told from multiple points of view. We get interjections from the Queen of Eddis, the Queen of Attolia, and the magus of Sounis, with some insertions from other miscellaneous side characters. But the bulk of the story belongs to Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis and hero of the author's previous book.
After a stealthy reconnaissance into enemy territory goes horribly wrong, Eugenides returns to Eddis in despair, thinking he has become useless to his Queen. Suffering from trauma, nightmares and worthlessness, it takes the Thief a long time to rediscover a spark inside him; a spark that will help him steal time, steal peace. Maybe even steal a kingdom.
Eugenides is an awesomely complex character. He is maddening to a point where you want to strangle him, but vulnerable enough you would do anything to protect him. He hides himself behind swagger and sarcasm. He might complain, he might boast and rage and threaten the gods themselves, but he is willing to do anything he can to achieve peace and save the heart of the woman he loves. Even if it means sacrificing himself in exchange.
This is a story centered more about the fates of three kingdoms and their battles for independence, but there is a thread of romance that is made sweeter for its unexpectedness. I would recommend a reader start off with The Thief, but this story is detailed enough to be read on its own.
Profanity/Language: 5 religious exclamations; 14 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: A character is pursued through a city, suffering injuries; character strikes his head; character is attacked by dogs; character is imprisoned; there are descriptions of a character's wounds; characters are occasionally threatened with death; characters are sometimes slapped or struck; character suffers a crippling injury (not overly graphic); character suffers from a severe fever; character struggles with nightmares; character's wounded arm is frequently mentioned; character sometimes wishes she had killed another; there are frequent reports of war; there are occasional reports of property damage, such as fire, flooding, etc.; there are some reports of military deaths; characters occasionally threaten harm on others; a couple of characters are abducted; there are some reports of piracy; characters sometimes fight with others; a character occasionally suffers phantom pains from a missing appendage; there are several descriptions of wars and skirmishes (not graphic); character recalls the violence she committed to hold onto her power; there are some recollections of the deaths of family members; character once poisoned someone; characters cross dangerous terrain with some loss of life; characters sometimes think they are about to die; character is killed by a crossbow quarrel; characters are captured; characters offer to commit suicide; character sees bodies hung from a palace's wall (not overly graphic); character is nearly strangled to death; character is kicked in the head; character is accused of undermining a country; character thinks another has been poisoned; character sacrifices a young goat on an altar (not overly graphic); glass shatters over a character; character has a vision of a city's future destruction; characters sometimes mention or recall the maiming of another.
Sex/Nudity: A character's attendants help her undress (not sexual); a male character kisses a female character's fingers; a male character helps his son undress for bed; characters are believed to be having an affair; a female character kisses a male character on the forehead; characters gossip about another being in love; a character in a story is said to have had a son by a blacksmith; characters sometimes walk arm-in-arm; a female character lays in a male character's arms; there are a few instances where characters are implied to be intimate; two characters discuss marriage; a character is forced into a political marriage; there is a mention of concubines; a character bathes (not sexual); character realizes she loves another; character pretends to choose a mistress; characters will occasionally touch another's face; A character announces an engagement; character is dressed by her attendants (not sexual); characters discuss another's love; characters question each other's love; characters say they love each other.
Mature Subject Matter:
Torture, war, death, espionage, theft, piracy, amputation, sacrifice, nightmares, murder, assassination, arranged marriage.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A character is given drugs a couple times to help him sleep; characters often drink wine at meals; a character will occasionally mix up a sleeping draught; characters are said to be asleep in a wine shop; character poisons another; characters are occasionally drunk or said to be drunkards; mention of medicinal narcotics; character drinks heavily once.
Reviewed By Katrina