the king of attolia

the thief: Gen steals a holy artifact from the gods
me, thinking that “ I can steal anything” means physical objects: there is literally no way he could steal something crazier
the queen of attolia: Gen steals a queen, a magus, and peace for two kingdoms
me: whaT
the king of attolia: Gen steals the throne, the loyalty of an entire foreign countries barons, and the respect of an entire nation
me: ur kidding
conspiracy of kings: gen steals another kingdom from a corrupt king and steals the new king to safety and steals that entire country’s alliance
me: ….
thick as thieves: Gen steals a secretary from one of the most powerful figures in a vast empire, steals that powerful man’s favor from his emperor, and steals the secrets of that empire, probably turning the tide in a massive, brewing continental war
ME:

now to scream about The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, mostly The King of Attolia

  • Notes about the books:
    - they are standalone-ish stories that share a cast and world
    - The Thief reads like a quaint middle grade novel that is tonally completely different from the rest of the series, which reads like classic YA fantasy with adult characters; the real action begins with The Queen of Attolia. Both books are much better on reread–the foreshadowing will likely fly by you the first time, and as these are more “setup” books, I think they can be difficult to appreciate on their own.
    - The King of Attolia, ho boy, I wasn’t expecting much from the summary and now here I am screaming; this is the one that goes on my all-time favorites.
    - EDIT: I HAVE NOW READ A Conspiracy of Kings AND AM CONSUMED BY EMOTION. MY SOVEREIGN BBS. Thick as Thieves releases in May!!
  • you must first understand: I have no interest in methodical political intrigue. This series is only methodical political intrigue and here I am.
  • it is subtle, unlike me, and every scene is so carefully crafted; concise, deliberate prose that knows exactly what it’s doing and revealing
  • or not revealing
  • VERY SMART PROTAGONISTS whose strength and cunning are balanced by having to make VERY DIFFICULT DECISIONS.
  • the QUEENS. Literal (multiple!) queens are at the forefront of the politics, with unquestioned strength and ferocity even when they may not have the most tenuous hold on their power. They come into the story seasoned rulers, not novices. One is a favorite anti-heroine, cold and cruel and YET.
  • I liked the titular character until The King of Attolia, now I LOVE HIM. All things in the world should star Eugenides.
  • the dash of romance in the series is so unique, so unexpectedly romantic; easily on my list of all-time fav couples
  • the stories build so much: many-layered cast with multiple PoVs, domestic and foreign politics, complicated relationships that have you constantly looking over the characters’ shoulders, a wry humor on top of that, and it is so satisfying to see it all weave together like an elaborate rug
  • a beautiful, elaborate rug that winks at you before pulling itself out from under your feet
I am going to the palace prison to indulge myself. I think I deserve it.
— 

The King of Attolia, pg. 245 of the 2005 paperback

I do not have the words to describe how much I love the fact that our whiny, arrogant, sometimes vindictive, lying, thieving, horrendous son is nearly mortally wounded and decides that the one thing he can do to make himself feel better is to return to the scene of his worst nightmares to bring freedom and relief to the man who once tortured him because they are both wholeheartedly and irrevocably devoted to the same woman and our boy knows he can save the man from himself.

My favorite thing about The King of Attolia was that while Eugenides was distracted by puppeteering the ruin of a Baron’s house, Irene had neatly created the tune that made Gen dance himself into the position of a King, and she did it by barely lifting a finger.

It really was well played.

I got confused near the middle of the book because that’s when all the strands started being pulled together. Costis started respecting his king, the attendants got their well deserved dressing down, the court were realizing that their Queen might be in love with her husband after all, the conspiracies were revealed and dealt with… in a word, stuff that usually takes place more near the end.

But then I finished the book and realized that this was because in this book, the point wasn’t about how Eugenides the Queen’s Thief managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes until just the right moment, it was about Queen Attolia (and the gods) dragging him into the light of day (weather he wanted to be there or not) because being constantly underestimated is all well and good for a thief but a king needs to be reckoned with (and underestimated only under the right circumstances).

And I rather love that.

Also the romance aspects of it were amazing. And having them be slowly revealed through an outsider POV was brilliant.

And I liked Costis a lot too. Especially the further we got into the story and the more he saw of Eugenides’ true personality. And though I absolutely predicted him ending up attacking his king during practice to force him to show that he wasn’t an inept swordsman it was still really satisfying.

I’m hoping he makes further appearances in the following books too.

So currently this is ABSOLUTELY my favorite book in this series. And I’m more and more sure that this series might become one of my favorite ones ever. The best gem I’ve found in recent memory tbh.

ok shit but like

king of attolia is fucking intense

you’d think i’d know that, considering i’ve read it like five times, but guys

everything about the assassination attempt! from costis’s realization in the hound court, to his sprint into the gardens, the split-second where the king is laughing and you think maybe everything’s ok but then the assassin steps into view and then blood! bodies! death! the king’s actually still ok except shit there’s so much blood and don’t forget Ten Gold Cups, “wrong arm dear”, costis looking into gen’s eyes and going oh fuck i’d die for him wouldn’t i, top it all off with a funny scene while Costis knocks over a baron and one Oh Damn Kiss™ and then it’s back to intense worrying while gen’s injuries are looked at

there are so many emotions and i can’t handle it

“The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead in the hollow of the queen’s shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day.” 

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

“No ‘Glory shall be your reward’ for me. Oh, no, for me, it is, 'Stop whining’ and 'Go to bed’.”
― Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

My entry for @meganwhalenturner ’s Thick as Thieves ARC contest, featuring everyone’s favorite one-handed thief-king, Gen.