Rereadings: The Thief
Welcome back to “Rereadings,” an LT series where we discuss rereading some of our favorite books. This week, we are joined by Britney of B: The Challenge who is here to guest blog about her recent rereading of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. If you are interested in guest blogging with us about rereading one of your favorites, please drop us a line!
The fourth book in Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series was released earlier this year, and I promised myself I’d reread the three prior books first. After a few months, I finally picked up my copy of The Thief and even with the knowledge I gained from my first read, it was still an engaging, extremely well-crafted book.
The problem with The Thief is that it has such a complex plot based on the powers of an unreliable narrator that it’s almost impossible to discuss it without leaving major spoilers. The book opens up with Gen, the titular thief, housed in the dungeons of the king of Sounis, where he was jailed after stealing the king’s seal and then boasting about it. The king’s advisor, the Magus, promises him his freedom. The catch? Gen must successfully procure an item for him – or die in the attempt. Turner then leads us on an adventure across Sounis and neighboring countries Eddis and Attolia (three fictional countries inspired by ancient Greece) as Gen, the Magus, and three other companions search for the mythical object.
Yes, I know this sounds like a rather typical young adult adventure story – but there’s even more! The book is told in the first person by Gen, who throughout the narrative hints that he may have been misleading the Magus and the other companions, but you’re not quite sure in what way until you reach the climax. By the end of the novel you have the first part of an overarching saga regarding three countries as they learn to put aside some of their differences in order to combine forces and protect themselves from an even larger empire (but more on that in the later books, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia – and, I presume, in A Conspiracy of Kings but I haven’t read the newest volume yet). This is a world with kings and queens (lots of queens! Both Eddis and Attolia are ruled by women) and gods and myths.
In my reread I had the benefit of knowing what happens later. I knew the big reveal that was coming, so I could look for and appreciate the subtle hints Gen leaves in the text for the reader. I had the foresight of future relationships between certain characters, so I paid close attention to their interactions in The Thief to see what foreshadowing Turner dropped in the story. It ended up being an immensely satisfying read, which was all I could hope for. Nearly two years after my first time through the book, I still couldn’t believe that I had owned a copy for two years before I managed to pick it up!
Rereading The Thief has given me some Post-Amazing Book Depression of my own. I did request the second two books from the library and visited two library branches in person looking for them, but all I came home with was the third book, and I don’t want to do this reread out of order. I can’t wait wait to dive back into this world with The Queen of Attolia, which expands upon a character who only gets a few pages in The Thief, and The King of Attolia, which once again has a point-of-view shift and is told from the eyes of a soldier witnessing the early reign of his new, lazy king.
I just can’t get enough of this series, and I know that once I manage to borrow The Queen of Attolia from the library I’ll be subjecting myself to another round of late nights as I devour it.