Book Review: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Lately, I’ve been obsessively wallowing on GoodReads. The lady in the Young Adult section of Half Price Books knows my face. Recently, I picked up the Newbery-medaled book The Thief and zipped through the ensuing sequels. Here are my thoughts on the third book in The Queen’s Thief series:The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

I finally realized what was bothering me about Turner’s writing: it is unprecedented in my experience to weave a tale so powerful and poignant using third-person limited(?) perspective. I wondered how such unconventional series garnered a Newbery Medal. The political intrigue was likely far beyond my understanding as a child and certainly far beyond skill as a writer today, but wholly engrossing and much appreciated.

The reason why Turner’s writing style works is because it enforces focus. The events are subtle, left to interpretation, and if you half-heartedly read a passage, you are likely to have missed both its meaning and gravity. I don’t want to make the book sound difficult; it is just distinctive compared to a majority of popular novels that explain outright the happenings and thoughts of characters, books that contain readily accessible exposition. Turner is a master of the art of “showing not telling”.

My fealty was earned by the first two books. Eugenides and the Queen of Attolia are characters with such depth and charisma. Even Costis, the new protagonist, was a paragon of integrity and honor. I love reading books about good men, flawed as they may be, struggling and succeeding to win the hearts of their followers. And I love the mysticism of Attolia and Eddis, lands protected by visiting gods. Polytheistic societies are fascinating.

I highly suggest working your way through The Thief and The Queen of Attolia to reach this book.


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KT is an avid foodie/gamer/SFF reader with expertise in a variety of bizarre fields. Her love for technology, science, and internet media is only matched by her fondness for music, language and art. Karen is an aspiring writer with a meandering past. Her law and engineering books make wonderful counterweights to her fiction collections. She hopes to one day publish a novel, most likely in the young adult genre, but the future is an open book.

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