Monday, March 22, 2010
Review - A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Published by Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) on March 23, 2010
Review based on ARC
Rating: 5 bookcases
Summary from Goodreads: Heart-stopping action, intrigue, danger, revenge, and romance, with a hint of a supernatural force as great as the gods—here is the epic story of an unlikely prince and his quest to save his kingdom. The fourth book in Megan Whalen Turner’s award-winning series about Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis.
Sophos, heir to Sounis, doesn’t look like much of a prince. At least, according to those in power. At least, to those who do not know him or the size of his heart and the depth of his courage, loyalty, and love. But Helen, Queen of Eddis, knows him, and so does Gen, the queen’s Thief, who is now King of Attolia. Gen and the queen believe that Sophos is dead. But they also believe in hope, especially since a body was never found. So when Sophos is discovered in Attolia, the obvious question becomes: where has he been all this time?
**Before the start of the review, I wanted to put a spoiler warning. This being the fourth book in the series, there will be some minor spoilers, nothing plot related or anything major. But the ocassional mention of some small piece of information from one of the previous books is included for purposes of clarity.**
It’s no secret that The Queen’s Thief series is one of my favorite series. I read the first three books in about two weeks and then did a second read-through with the purpose of going back and finding all the clues, details, and bits I missed the first time. I was excited when I heard there was going to be a fourth book because it meant that I would get to spend more time in the Queen’s Thief world. It would have been fine if the series ended with The King of Attolia. In fact, each of the first three books stands on its own, so that if you were to pick up any of them, you could understand the story. This really isn’t true for A Conspiracy of Kings. Now, there is too much background information to know. You could still read it on its own, but it wouldn’t amount to the same experience or the same level of understanding.
Getting the ARC was exciting – much squeeing and happy dancing occurred. I stared at it for awhile, opening it to the first page, reading the first line and then closing it again. When I did start it for real, it was so easy to get lost in the writing and the story. Just like the other three books, there are lots of twists and turns, plenty of “what just happened?” and “what did he say?” moments, including going back and re-reading paragraphs or whole scenes.
Reading A Conspiracy of Kings felt like reading about long lost friends. I cared about what happened to the characters, especially about Sophos who really did grow up in between the end of The Thief and the start of A Conspiracy of Kings. This was his book. Parts 1 and 3 are his story; in his words spoken to someone he loves. So it made me wonder if any of it was colored by that, was anything left out or changed at all because of who he was telling. These two sections were very narrow in scope, focusing solely on Sophos’s experiences. Parts 2 and 4 are told in third person point of view, they give more information about what is going on in the wider world and place certain actions and events in context.
If The King of Attolia was about outward appearances and how a person’s actions can dictate what other’s think about them, then A Conspiracy of Kings was about the roles people play and the various personas they have to adopt and/or play in different situations. It is also about changing friendships and relationships and how people in power have to balance personal and royal relationships. Despite his changing circumstances, it was reassuring to see that Sophos was still Sophos; someone prone to blushing, interested in learning as much as possible from those around him, still enamored with the Magus. I was glad to see that the other characters were much as I remembered them. They all met my expectations and responded to things mostly how I thought they would. The absence of certain characters did make me wonder and hope that we will find out where they were and what they might have been doing in the next book.
A Conspiracy of Kings was the first book in the series whose ending really left me with more questions than answers. There are always questions at the end of Ms Turner’s books, but more so with A Conspiracy of Kings. I am looking forward to the next installment very much. Overall, this was a wonderful book, an amazing addition to the Queen's Thief series. I wholeheartedly recommend this book (and series) to just about everyone. If you like fantasy, poltical thrillers, mysteries, romances, or philosophy and humor you will enjoy the Queen's Thief series.