“He lies to himself. If Eugenides talked in his sleep, he’d lie then, too.”
― Megan Whalen Turner,
Who is a violinist without his violin?
Who is a singer without his voice?
Who is a thief without his hand?
What happens when the one thing that defines you is taken away?
Brilliant. Agonizing. Balanced.
Good guacamole takes something special. A perfect balance of avocado, lime, cilantro, and spices. This book was like eating a bowlful of perfect guacamole.
Character development: The characters were human, complex and grew and changed throughout the course of the story. More importantly, our understanding of the characters expands and alters. Turner uses myths, and stories within stories to create mirrors that reflect her character’s struggles. I loved these because they never made sense to me until I got to the end. Then the seemingly random myths sprinkled throughout the story clicked.
Dialogue: The dialogue was short and sweet. Just enough to leave you wanting more. She doesn’t bog down the reader with unnecessary conversations or details. Everything has a place. Sometimes stories like this can seem extremely spartan and make the characters seem cold and distant. In her case however she didn’t under-deliver, she just was very selective on which interactions she chose to include. This book is definitely darker and deals with more challenging struggles than the first one. There is still that air of wry humor that is present in the first book though and the banter between Eddis, Eugenides and The Magus keep the characters from being unrelatable and distant.
Plot: Excellent. The ending surprised me and I love to be surprised.
Overall: I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t read it yet. That said, there is something quite beautiful and rare in how the Queen of Attolia is portrayed. She was perhaps the most intriguing piece of this story. If you get to the end and still find yourself ranting about her cruelty, and even pounding your head against the wall…never fear. You are in good company. Just don’t stop there. Read the next book in the series because it helps make more sense of the ending of this second one.
Is the plot and events that unfold believable? Then again, is that even a valid question? Whether or not something is believable is irrelevant. Life is not comprised of a flow of logic that can be followed. There is a method to the madness to be sure. But it is at a level that an individual person cannot necessarily see.
So yes, this book was unbelievable, at least from a 21st century perspective. Coming from my background, culture and values it is unbelievable how some of the character’s relationships developed. One thing I know for certain. I do not read so that I can find the believable. I read because I want to experience the unbelievable. In that regard, this book went above and beyond.
Just read this book please. Of all the books that I have read, this series is one of my all-time favorites. Wry, cunning, intelligent, and masterfully told- it is a series that embraces the fantastic and the mundane all in one.
How many avocados did you rate this book? What was your least favorite or most favorite scene? Please comment below with your thoughts, questions, and opinions!