Book Review: The Thief (Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner

4 Dec

TheThiefGen is a thief, and as thieves so often are, he’s in prison. When he’s offered an opportunity to escape prison (at least for a little while) by stealing something for the King of Sounis, he’s forced into the chance. He spends his days traveling with the king’s magus, two useless boys, and a guard. No one will tell him where they’re going or what he’s meant to be stealing. But Gen has his own secrets, too, and it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do next.

I rated this book a 4/5 on Goodreads. To be honest, I think that’s a bit high. I think I was intimidated by the silver Newbery Honor medal on the cover.

I’ll start with the good: it is quite an interesting story, and Gen is a fantastic narrator–smart, witty, sarcastic, full of fire–I loved him from the first few pages.

However.

This wasn’t great as a fantasy novel. The world was not developed enough. Things that were happening in these countries were not expounded upon, just mentioned in passing. The time period seemed a bit mixed up (the author notes in the “Extras” section that there’s not specific date in our world that correlates). Much as I loved Gen, he and the rest of the characters weren’t developed very much either. When a couple of characters died, I was like, “Well, that happened.” I’d prefer to feel a tug at my heartstrings, not apathy.

I think a lot of this development was sacrificed for the “big reveal” at the end (which I admittedly did see coming, but I’m rarely surprised!). Rather than risk telling too much, the author told too little. I might have been more impressed if I knew that it didn’t have to be this way. The more recent The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen had some similar elements and a similar “big reveal” and did it much better, in my opinion.

Still, this was an entertaining book and for all of my complaints I won’t hesitate to grab the sequels when I can.

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6 Responses to “Book Review: The Thief (Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner”

  1. siamesemayhem December 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Thank you. I tried to read this book, but I dropped it midway through. Something about the characters put me off, and I do remember the setting being too vague.

    • inkhearted December 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      I’m glad to find someone who feels the same way! So many reviews I read raved about this book. It really wasn’t great. :/

      • siamesemayhem December 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

        Any idea why so many people liked it? I was very young when I tried to read it, so I don’t remember it that well.

      • inkhearted December 6, 2014 at 6:43 am #

        I think the story itself is actually quite interesting, and it was a fast-paced read that did keep me turning pages despite the lack of setting and character development. So I can see why people liked it, I just like a bit more out of a book personally (sounds like you do too!). I did find a couple more negative reviews that said that the sequel is much better, so maybe some people have read the sequel and are just giving the whole series a few more stars than it warrants!

      • siamesemayhem December 6, 2014 at 6:46 am #

        Yeah, now that I think about it, the whole thing WAS kind of bare bones. I like culture exploration in my fantasy and sci fi.

        That’s very possible; sometimes sequels make up for the deficiencies of the first one.

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