Book Review

The Queen of Attolia

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“He lies to himself. If Eugenides talked in his sleep, he’d lie then, too.”
― Megan Whalen TurnerThe Queen of Attolia

Summary

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?

-First Thoughts-

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.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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.

-Rating-

5 Avocados

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!

18 thoughts on “The Queen of Attolia

  1. I’ve never read it, but 1) thanks for the review anyway 2) now I want to read it and 3) it sounds a lot like “Mary, Bloody Mary” (by Carolyn Meyer) about Queen Mary who is portrayed now as a bloodthirsty tyrant. As they say, winner writes the history books, and I loved how that book gave you her perspective – though it might not be accurate and it doesn’t even try to excuse her actions. It simply shows Mary in a different light and that’s what it sounds like this book is. If I’m wrong, you can move on, but if you liked this book because it changes the reader’s opinion over the book, I’d suggest “Mary, Bloody Mary”. And thanks for the review! Which was your favorite book out of the series?

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      1. No, I haven’t. I didn’t know it was a series! My book list is getting bigger and bigger… 😛 Was it better or worse than the one about Mary?

        Also if I were going to read this series (Queen of Attolia), which book is the best to start with? Because I know people say in CON start with the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (#1) and then follow up with The Magician’s Nephew (#2), and that some first books are stand-alones. What do you recommend for this series?

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  2. Some people say you can read it out of order but I disagree. Definitely start with book one, “The Thief.” It starts off the series and is referenced in all of the following books. Then I would read this book, “The Queen’s Thief” next.

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  3. Did that. OK. OK OK OK. HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS BOOK? Yeah I ended it wanting to bang my head against the one or more preferably, banging Turner’s head against the wall because this is like sticking a knife into someone and giving it a good, hard twist. I’m only going to read the third because you said you wanted to do that too (head-banging, not knife-twisting) but I can’t believe you would like a book like this. I wish she’d just left Gen alone, he was such a good character (I mean still is but…) 😭😭😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the same reaction!! I was so frustrated at the end because I felt like we kind of lost Gen. However in the third one I feel like it gets better. Let me know what you think after the third one. My favorite part of this book was the analogy to I think it was Hephestia? Who works in the forge and falls in love with a girl. Anyways the third book deals with all of the aftermath and problems caused by this book.

      Unfortunately Gen does group up, and so he never returns completely to his “old” self. Still he definitely regains more of his old charisma in the third one. Be warned, it isn’t from his perspective, which is a little strange at first. If you still end up disliking it after that then I don’t blame you. But hopefully you’ll enjoy the third one.

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      1. Just finished it! Wow, talk about blown away. This was an amazing ending! Thanks for giving me a push in the right direction. 🙂

        I’m so glad I gave it a second try, and I wouldn’t have if you and Juny hadn’t told me to, so of course thanks again. I would have missed an amazing book and also I wouldn’t have known that he shows them so well who’s really the one in charge. ❤ There were so many times I was shaky from how excited I was that he manages to get the best of them. 😀 I felt like it really did redeem Queen of Attolia and give us a breath of fresh air so that I could calm down and not be mad every time I thought about his hand. 🙂

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  4. Right!? It makes me wonder how everyone who had to wait 6 years handled it. Its so frustrating at the beginning though because it seems like he’s allowing everyone to walk all over him. But then we get to the end and find out he’s been on top of things the whole time!

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