Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

After bragging that he could steal anything from anyone, master thief Gen is sprung from prison to assist the king’s advisor in bringing back a treasure hidden away by the gods themselves. As their party of five travels into enemy territory, tensions mount and surprising alliances are discovered.

This 1997 Newberry Honor Book gets off to slow start perhaps, but its second half, with its various twists and turns more than makes up for it. Gen may not be the most likeable of characters – he’s a braggart, a thief and he *gasp* chews with his mouth open – but he’s not to be underestimated and his plucky nature grows on you. I also appreciated the complex interpersonal relationships between the characters and how Author Turner drops little clues throughout the narrative that things may not be all that they seem.

THE THIEF is the first in a trilogy, and although I am definitely interested in reading the rest of the series, I am thankful that it didn’t end on a cliffhanger and can also be read as a standalone. Find out more about it at the author's website.

29 comments:

PopinFresh said...

That's good to hear that it's a stand alone. I don't like it when books end off in cliffhangers, especially, if you had mixed feelings about it.

I might have to check this one out. Thanks for the review.

I love the cover.

~ Popin

Melanie said...

This sounds like an interesting read. What time period is it set in?

Lenore said...

Popin - I don't mind slow books, but I mentioned that in case someone else started it and felt like giving it up!

Melanie - It is fantasy, but set in an ancient greece type of place.

La Coccinelle said...

This is one of my favourite books. I actually found the character pretty likable (at least by the end of the book). Sure, in real life, someone like that would probably be exasperating. But in fiction, he makes a great narrator.

Angiegirl said...

So happy to see you read this one, Lenore! And that you liked it. I agree with your assessment and I hope you get to the 2nd one soon. It'll knock your socks off. And not a dull moment!

writemeg said...

Definitely sounds intriguing! And the cover art is very striking.

bermudaonion said...

I generally like Newbery books so I'd like to read this one for no other reason than it was a Newbery Honor book.

pirate penguin said...

You should definetely read the first two Kelley Armstrong books! I absolutely loved the first one, and after I tear through my TBR pile, I'm going to the library to get The Awakening. Oooh, I'm commenting on your review under this one. I've been curious about the glassblower book...

Zibilee said...

I read another review of this book, and the reviewer thought it was excellent. So I ordered a copy and am going to give it a try. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll be interested in hearing what you think of the rest of the series.

Rachel said...

*Gasp* chews with his mouth open. I loved that part. I'll have to check out this book sometime.

Susie Sharp Librarian said...

Another great review..then I thought that book looks familiar and lo and behold its on my shelf..Now its been added to my ever growing TBR pile!

Amy said...

I haven't gotten past the slow start part which is probably why I haven't finished it yet. but Angie and the Book Smugglers love it so and like every author recommended it at Comic Con that I feel bad!

Staci said...

This one is on my list for sure!!! I've been meaning to read it forever!

Elena said...

This series is one of my favorites! The second and third book are even better and I've heard rumors of a fourth coming out in 2010!! I'm interested to hear what you think about the rest of the series! Happy reading!

Lorin said...

Thank goodness the book doesn't come with sound effects!

Rhiannon Hart said...

After hearing Angie rave about it I asked my library to buy a copy which they have ... but they're just taking sooooooo long to cover it with contact and stick the damn barcode on!! Seriously librarians, pull a finger out!

Memory said...

I agree with you about the slow start vs. the much more hooky second half. I got a big kick out of this book once it really got going, but it took quite a while for me to reach that point.

Thankfully, the next two books are hooky from start to finish. And even though they continue Gen's story, I think either one could easily be read as a standalone. All the books are fully contained, with no cliffhangers.

Lisa said...

This does sound good ! And I always love it when people mention a slow start, it encourages me to keep reading!

Elizabeth said...

I love that you're reviewing a classic!

Also, WORD on the standalone thing. You should've seen me when I finished the first Lord of the Rings book... there's a psychological expectation when you see the pages dwindling which is very important!

Janssen said...

Must read this book! I've heard only rave reviews of it.

Beth F said...

This is new to me. I like fantasy and I generally like Newberry winners. I'll have to look into.

Charlotte said...

I enjoyed The Thief, Queen of Attolia, the second book, was stunning, and the third, King of Attolia, is just about My Favorite Book Ever. So I am looking forward to seeing what you think!

And there is indeed a fourth book coming this spring, called Conspiracy of Kings, so this is a good time to read the first three...

Casey said...

You have an award from me http://casey62588.blogspot.com/2009/08/awards.html

Lenore said...

Charlotte - That's awesome news!! I'm going to hunt for the second two books this week!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Oh, I think I have this on my TBR list! I like the covers in this series. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Park Avenue Princess said...

Lenore,

I LOVE your reviews and I am STILL trying to get caught up on your site! I love to hear that even though a book it part of a trilogy, series, etc. that it can also be read as a stand alone!

Thank you for stopping by my blog! (And new found friendship)

Much love,
Amy (Park-Avenue Princess)

I woke up this morning and wondered WHY I couldn't see you on my blog page...um...maybe it would've been good to hit the "FOLLOW" button LOL : ) Done! Have a wonderful Week!

The Mapless Traveler said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I've fallen behind with my Newbery winners reading and must catch up! Thanks for the spotlight on this :)

Cindy B said...

This was a surprise 5 star book for me from last year. The Queen of Attolia is also good, but quite different. I haven't read the 3rd book.

This one was just amazing. I love Gen. What a great character.

carolsnotebook said...

I've been meaning to read this one. Good to know it doesn't just leave you hanging at the end.