Friday, February 15, 2013

Flashback Friday: The Thief

I've been at a writing conference these past couple of days, and it's been interesting. The highlight has absolutely been meeting and listing to the various authors.  Today, I actually got to meet Megan Whalen Turner, who is absolutely amazing, so I thought I'd choose her first book The Thief for today's Flashback Friday.

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities. 
What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses. Quoted from Goodreads

If you're looking for a good adventure with amazing characters and twists and turns, look no further.  This is the book for you.

Honestly, everyone should read this book.  Let's start with the writing.  It's rich and beautiful without becoming lost in itself.  It always takes her a couple of years for her to come out with her next book (I think it was 4 years between The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia), so you know she spends time on her craft, and it absolutely pays off. She does such a good job of describing her world and her characters.  There is a nitty-gritty realistic feel to the entire series that is rarely duplicated, and while this is a fantastical world, it never feels like one.  It's almost like an alternate greek history, and I think it's delightful.

Then there's Gen himself.  He's a delightfully irreverent thief and slightly unreliable narrator who you can't help but love, and he only gets better as the books go on.

The beginning develops the characters and the world, and it almost comes across more as a character driven plot than an actual adventure.  Then the action starts and we get chases, fights, betrayal, tragedy, and an excellent ending.

This is a wonderful 4 stars for me. It's hard because it's been several years since I read it, but I'm thinking about reading it again soon. If you're looking for a YA book that is perfect for adults as well, this is it.  Then, of course, you have to read the next one in the series, which is possibly even better.  And that leads to the third one, and the fourth one.  And finally you can join the ranks of us who suffer waiting for the fifth one to come out (but don't worry. Each book is complete in itself, so you aren't stuck with a horrible cliff hanger.  You just want another chance to experience Turner's world, writing, and characters).

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