Friday, December 23, 2011

The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief #2)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I elected Froi as my favorite male character of the year for 2011, but Eugenides definitely gets second place.

The Queen of Attolia is the second book in The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and in this review THERE WILL be spoilers. If you haven't read the first book, The Thief, I strongly suggest you not to continue reading this.

I think that, if you liked The Thief, you'll probably like this book even more. I'd rather not get into the synopsis to leave all details undiscovered but this book is way more complex than the first one.

A big detail that makes the reading experience completely different is that, while The Thief was told in our Eugenides' unreliable narrator's first person POV, The Queen of Attolia is narrated in third person omniscient, therefore giving the reader a glimpse into all protagonists minds and actions and a better understanding of the political mechanisms of the story.

So while, on the one hand, this latter technique is more "complete" for the reader, who's not constrained into one single character's biased and purposefully misdirected point of view, on the other hand, this book lacks, for obvious reasons, the big jaw-dropper that made the first book so special.

While in The Thief, the whole book revolved around obnoxious Gen who played the lion's share, in The Queen of Attolia other characters finally get to play protagonists' roles and the reader gets the chance to form a personal opinion on them, unfiltered by Gen's eyes.

Eugenides is very much changed from the first book. He's still obnoxious, but more charmingly so. His relationship, hid friendship with Eddis reminded me often of Finnikin and Isaboe in Finnikin of the Rock, I have to say.

He grows quite a lot in the course of the book and I really connected with his character. He's bound to break your heart very early in the story, be warned and he's not a character that will leave you indifferent.

Attolia was also a great character to discover, perhaps one of the more fascinating and complex. A fierce woman, she is constantly underestimated by her enemies but she is also a victim of her environment, a woman who had to build herself with steel, who has been fed to the sharks from childhood and had to learn to fight and survive, or be eaten. Hints about the nature of her relationship with Eugenides are detectable right from the start of the story and, even though I still did not quite see where Eugenides' love came from, I was really pleased with how it was developed.

I'm not giving this book the highest rating because, even though to a lesser extent, I had problems with the pacing, like for The Thief. It was a tad too focused on political intrigues and descriptions of war strategies for my taste. I felt caught up and extremely involved in some scenes with Eugenides or Attolia protagonists, but rather detached and slightly bored during conquering of islands and naval deployments.

Furthermore, I don't know it if was specifically my edition of the book that lacked one but I felt in dire need of a map to follow all this moving around of people and ships. Maybe, with the help of a little map, I would have been able to follow better the action and I wouldn't have felt so uninterested.

Still, I was very satisfied with the book, I love Turner's writing style, concise and very a propos "military" I daresay and will be looking forward to secure a copy of the next book The King of Attolia.

My dear Eugenides, what will you surprise us with next?

1 comment:

  1. Already left a comment in your Goodreads review but just wanted to say again that it makes me happy that you enjoyed reading this. I'm a huge Megan Whalen Turner fangirl. :P


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