Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gen Can Steal Anything, Even This Story

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Book one of a four part series from HarperCollins, this story will have you page turning as fast as you can. The story begins with Gen in prison for stealing the king's seal. He is brought before the magus and given an opportunity to get out of prison if he steals something for the king. Gen is in no position to argue and agrees to the deal. We follow Gen on his journey to the neighboring kingdom of Attollia with the magus and three other companions. Gen maybe a convicted thief but he does not let that stop him from making sure everyone knows that his skills are what are needed to complete this job. He learns that he is supposed to steal Hamiathes's Gift, which is how power once passed from king to king in Eddis, another neighboring kingdom. The magus hopes that if his king possesses the stone the queen of Eddis will have to marry him, uniting the two kingdoms and making them strong enough to wage war on Attollia. But of course Gen has other ideas. Trust me when I say that you will never see the end coming.

I am conflicted about this book. I liked it and was always trying to find another spare minute to read it but I am confused about the time period it is supposed to take place in. Attollia I am assuming is supposed to be Anatolia, or modern day Turkey. The books talks a lot about a pantheon of old gods that very forgotten after the invaders came and they have some crude guns. I am guessing this is supposed to be set around 1500's or so, but it is hard to tell. Being something of a history nut I find it jarring to the story to not have the time set in my mind. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you then I think you will find this story very enjoyable. It is very well told and I like how feisty Gen is no matter what the circumstances. He has something of an honest pride about him that is only fully explained at the end of the book. I loved the end of the story! My mouth fell open. I probably should have seen it coming but I was so engrossed in the action and tension of the story that when the twist was revealed I was shocked. It is a great ending to the book. At first I thought it took a while to get to know the characters but before I knew it I was already 70 pages in, so I think I just thought I had read less than I had. There are three other books in this series but this book ends nicely so you do not have to run out and get the next one the minute you finish the first. Although I am anxious to know what happens next. If you like a good fantasy book with a slightly historical feel pick up The Thief. Recommended for readers 12-16.

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