by Megan Whalen Turner
Eos, copyright 2006, 1997.
Gen, a thief in Sounis, brags that he can steal anything, a boast that lands him a bet to steal the king's seal. He does so, only to show it off in the wine shop to prove it, and is promptly clapped in chains and brought to the king's jail. The king's magus comes to Gen with a proposition: steal something for me, and I'll set you free; fail to steal it, and you die.
This is one of my all-time favorite books. When I first read it about three years ago, I remember stopping every so often to look at how many pages left thinking, "What is this author doing? There are so many pages left, what on earth can happen?" Of course, as I kept reading, I realized how brilliantly Megan Whalen Turner had been spinning her story, surprising me yet absolutely convincing me that she knew exactly what she was doing. Two rereads later, and the story has not lost its charm. Gen is a great character, and I love following his narrative and being in his head even when I remembered most of the story. The world-building of a whole pantheon, mythology, and politics of three countries, is just about perfect. This first book in the series, followed by Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia, is by far my favorite of the series, but I highly recommend them all.
Though I mentioned the series briefly when I wrapped up my summer reading 'way back in 2007, I never did review each of the books individually. Now that I'm rereading the series in preparation for A Conspiracy of Kings, I'll be posting reviews with the caveat that though I will try my best to avoid spoilers for each title: 1. each review will necessarily give spoilers for previous titles, so do yourself a favor and read the books before you read my reviews and 2. this will be my third read of the books, and it's really hard for me to bring myself back to the first read and avoid said spoilers. It's sort of like those college professors who read the assigned reading about ten times and couldn't bring themselves back to the undergrad's position of having never read the books before - they just kind of expected you to see some themes and connections that were only obvious after rereads. But I will try my hardest.