The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

“I can steal anything.”

Summary from the author’s site:

The most powerful advisor to the King of Sounis is the magus. He’s not a wizard, he’s a scholar, an aging solider, not a thief. When he needs something stolen, he pulls a young thief from the King’s prison to do the job for him.

Gen is a thief and proud of it. When his bragging lands him behind bars he has one chance to win his freedom– journey to a neighboring kingdom with the magus, find a legendary stone called Hamiathes’s Gift and steal it.

The magus has plans for his King and his country. Gen has plans of his own.

Personal Thoughts:

I’ve been hearing about this book and this series (The Queen’s Thief) since I discover book blogging late last year. It took me awhile to get the first three books from local book stores and when I finally did I jump ahead with the first book. I’m supposed to write one review for all the books that has been released but since the fourth book, Conspiracy  of Kings  which I ordered from Book Depository hasn’t arrived yet, I decided to just review this one first.

The story opens in a prison in Sounis, where Gen (short for Eugenides) is being held for stealing the King’s seal. He is a self-proclaimed thief who brag that he can steal anything – including “stealing” himself out of the King’s prison. Due to his reputation of being a great thief, the Magus a scholar and King’s most trusted advisor pulls Gen out of prison and sets him an impossible task in a secret mission for the King. Gen without so much choice agrees to the terms and sets out on the journey with the Magus and three other companions. They search the hidden temple of the Gods where Gen’s stealing skills were put to the test in getting a legendary stone.

The story gets off with a slow start but I enjoy the writing so it doesn’t bother me much. Gen’s voice is captivating enough, I enjoy reading from his point of view. He’s sneaky, brilliant and cunning. It is clear from the beginning that there is more to him than meets the eye, but it is not reveal until the last part of the book. Gen as a narrator doesn’t give much of himself, sometimes he is too annoying and self-centered but don’t get fooled by him because Gen will surprise you when you finally know more about him.

The other characters were surprisingly likeable. I enjoy their development from beginning to end. They were all complex with hidden motives, desires, and dreams. The Magus who I didn’t like at first win my respect throughout the end. Sophos is charming who has a potential to be a great King. I would love to see more of him in the future books.

The setting of The Thief is especially interesting. Some were developed through storytelling of some old legends about Gods and Goddesses. The changing scenery as the characters travel were believable. Sure it is not the fastest moving part of the story but it is interesting enough since you will really get to learn a lot about the old world as well as the characters. The author did a great job crafting the myths of the old gods. I enjoy the twist of legends and mythology about the world creation and Gods war.

The ending surprised me, the revelations were unexpected. I admire the author’s ability to leave some mystery for the reader by leaving some things unsaid without making the narrator unreliable. Gen is clever character and narrator which fit his thief background so much. He doesn’t shows nor tell everything but he surely know how to win his way through his goal.

The Thief is a charming mythological fantasy novel. It has legends, mythology, politics and surprises that you won’t see coming until it was revealed. It may not have magic swords, flying horses & flashy spells like the usual fantasy books but it surely has its own charm through Gen’s wit and cleverness. I’m looking forward for more Gen’s adventures in the other books of the series.

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