It is not easy to be the queen of a country anxious to have a king, especially when sovereignty is not enough to ensure obedience let alone loyalty. It is no secret that the queen of Attolia is more beautiful, by far, than the queen of Eddis. Beauty is a useful weapon in Attolia’s limited arsenal; one that leaves little room for kindness.
Eddis is no great beauty but, as everyone knows but would not dare say, she is more kind. After stealing repeatedly from her kingdom and abandoning discretion to speak truth, Eugenides has angered Attolia beyond all reason. The queen is desperate for revenge at any price.
What draws Eugenides back to Attolia is anyone’s guess, but return he does. When the two come face to face, the sacrifice will be great on both sides. Attolia is a ruthless ruler hardened, through her hard-won and harder-kept reign, almost to stone. Eugenides is the Thief of Eddis and he can steal anything. But as both sides seek justice, the fate of Eddis, Attolia, and even Sounis will hang in the balance as Eugenides tries to steal peace and also, perhaps, salvation for Attolia and himself in The Queen of Attolia (2000) by Megan Whalen Turner. (Find it on Bookshop.)
The Queen of Attolia is the sequel to Turner’s Newbery honor book The Thief which first introduced readers to Eugenides and his world.
When Eugenides is caught one too many times stealing from Attolia, he pays the ultimate price. Finding himself caught in the middle of a war he wants no part of, Eugenides does what he always does: he steals what he needs to remedy the situation. What follows is a compelling story of political intrigue, old gods, and cunning. At the same time, The Queen of Attolia is a haunting tale of broken people trying to understand what it means to be whole when the damage has already been done and, no matter what else might follow, completely irreparable.
Like later books in the series, The Queen of Attolia is written with shifting perspectives. Turner follows Eugenides and Attolia, of course, but also other characters who play minor and major roles in the plot. It’s rare to see a complete shift in narrative style for a series, but like most of Turner’s writing decisions it makes perfect sense. After the disastrous events at the beginning of this book it’s unlikely anyone, even Eugenides, would want to spend too much time in his head. The ability to shift between characters also gives the story more liberty in how events unfold for the reader and the characters.
I hate having to say books need to be read in order, but these really do. Years ago my mom snagged an ARC of this book which I read before The Thief. I later read the first book and the two worked fine, but only in rereading them in the correct order did I see how much I missed. The Queen of Attolia completely blew my mind when I first read it and continues to dazzle me as do the rest of Turner’s books about Gen. Hopefully this review will pique your interest but the book is so much more than anything I can say here that it is impossible to understand how brilliant it (and the series in general) is without reading it. So, go and read it. Right away.
Eugenides’ adventures continue in The King of Attolia.
Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad, Plain Kate by Erin Bow, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers,Soundless by Richelle Mead, Sabriel by Garth Nix, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Exclusive Bonus Content: I have two cover images here. The top one is the original cover, the one I read the book with, and the one I chose to have on a discarded copy I rescued from my place of employ. The second cover is the newer version and the direction the rest of the series is going in with its repackaging. I only recently absorbed the true nature of the new cover and both give me chills. I couldn’t decide which to include here so, dear readers, you get both.