Books · REVIEWS

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

“He didn’t marry you to become King. He became King because he wanted to marry you.”

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides (yoo-JEN-ə-deez) wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king’s caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides

Awards: ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2007); Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children’s Literature (2011); School Library Journal Best Book of 2006; Finalist for the Andre Norton Award, 2007. It was on the Horn Book Fanfare list (Best books of 2006), the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, and the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award Masterlist.

Personal Thoughts:

It’s been more than a week since I finished reading The King of Attolia as well as the next book of The Queen’s Thief series, A Conspiracy of Kings. Though I haven’t written a review for any book until now because doing so means leaving the world of this lovely series once again. I don’t know how much more years I have to wait for the next book to come out but since the author released her previous books almost every four years I have no hopes on getting the next book sooner. That’s why I’m trying to relish what’s already out as long as I can. Writing this review now makes me miss more of Eugenides’ world already, what more after?

The plot mostly focus on politics strategies as Eugenides works his way in becoming a King to Attolian people. People who mostly despised him for being an Eddisian. They hate him for stealing their Queen and her throne. They don’t believe that he is capable of ruling and Eugenides needs to prove himself. He needs to figure out how to be a King even all he wanted was the Queen.

From the title of The King of Attolia I did expect the narration to be on Eugenides’ point of view but surprisingly Turner didn’t get back to Eugenides’ voice to narrate Eugenides’ story as a King. Instead she gave us Costis, a young member of the Attolis royal guard who is much loyal to his Queen. At first it is disappointing for me to missed Eugenides point of view once again. But after a while I understand why Turner needs to use someone else voice to tell the story of The King of Attolia. In this case, Costis lack of information and misinterpretation to Eugenides actions works very well in the turn of events. Though, I don’t share the same view with Costis, having read the first two books of the series, it feels that I know more than what Costis know. From the first two books I already learned that Eugunides is not someone to underestimate. He is deceptive and cunning most of the times and I know that he can always works his way out into something if he wants to. That’s why I am more keen on waiting to see how Costis will figure out the real deal about Eugenides and how will Eugenides will show to everyone that he isn’t what they think he is.

As expected from Turner’s writing, Eugenides process to prove himself took awhile. Which makes the first part of the book frustrating. Frustrating not because it is not good, frustrating because she makes me doubt my stand. From the start I believe that Eugenides is just playing one of his game once again, but his act is so convincing that I almost doubt my self and lose my hope in him. I am so eager to see him in action. I want him to fight back, depend himself right away and prove to everyone his real worth. Even I believe that he already orchestrated his moves and just waiting for the right time I still can’t stand how everyone is treating him. His process took most of my patience but the resulting end surely pays off.

Eugenides character really grows a lot from a daring and adventurous boy of The Thief into a haunted man of The Queen of Attolia and now into a worthy leader as a King of Attolia. He never failed to surprised me with his cleverness. He amazed me everytime I reach the end of each book of this series. I don’t know how Turner do it, but she created a multi-layered and unforgettable character in Eugenides. He is all mature and childish, tough and sweet, loyal & stubborn, vulnerable and strong. He is definitely one of the most interesting and complex character I have ever met.

As for Irene, the queen of Attolia, I am really surprise by her in this book. She is still the tough ruler of her kingdom but this book show a little bit of her soft side and her unique sense of humor. She manage to deliver few funny lines which mostly through threatening her husband, Eugenides. As a Queen, she still as powerful as always. I like how she managed to command and retain loyalty at the same time. The loyalty of her people in her is really something to admire. Even she is known for being ruthless she is still loved and respected by everyone around her. And most of them are willing to die for her.

“You are My Queen. Even though you cut my head from my shoulders, with my last breath as a noose tightens, to the last beat of my heart if I hang from the walls of the palace, you are My Queen.

That I have failed you does not change my love for you or my loyalty.”

Turner beautifully portrayed Eugenides and Irene complicated relationship. Reading it from Costis point of view is really intriguing. As much as I want to see more of it from a closer point of view I am also satisfied with the outcome of their relationship. It is fascinating and sweet. I may not fully comprehend how Eugenides fell in love with Irene after what she done to him, but I am convinced by this book that they are indeed in love. Their relationship is strange but still believable. Turner successfully created an intriguing and unique couple in them.

The mythology is still as impressive as before. I really enjoy reading the folklore and tale of the Gods included in each book. I like how Turner presented the Gods and Goddesses as part of the mortal world. They don’t necessary exist in human form but the characters believe in them not just as existing and real but as close and interested to their lives. They even believe that these Gods talk to them either through their dreams or in actual. This fantasy aspect of the story is believable. Eugenides & Eddis faith to their Gods is simply inspiring.

“Safety is an illusion, Costis. A Thief might fall at any time, and eventually the day must come when the god will let him. Whether I am on a rafter three stories up or on a staircase three steps up, I am in my god’s hands. He will keep me safe, or he will not, here or on the stairs.”

I don’t know how Turner works magic with this novel, but she definitely done it all well. Just like the first two books of The Queen Thief series, The King Of Attolia is a well-crafted and engaging read that is masterfully written. With Turner’s engrossing writing style she weaved an absorbing world filled with compelling, multi-layered & clever characters, believable & inspiring mythology and intriguing political issues. A very impressive addition to the series that I officially love.

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3 thoughts on “The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

    1. This is really good. Too bad you’re not into fantasy series. But if you finally want to try something from this genre I hope you got the chance to pick up this series too.. someday 🙂 It is really worth your time.

      I haven’t review much books lately because of this book. I’m still hang up into this one. Though I’m trying to read a few but none get the same satisfaction I had with this one.

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      1. WOW! Really? It’s been a long time since something like that happened to me… 😀
        I finished rereading If I Die for the SSRC like a month ago… only one book after that one has succeeded on taking my mind off of it 😀 I hope to get to read these books though 😛

        Like

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