The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Where have I been?  Ok, so I have an excuse- The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1) won a Newbery Honor when I was still in high school. At that point in my life, I was reading two genres- adult books and Harry Potter. (I know, I’ve regressed. I like kidlit and YA better!)

Two weeks ago I saw one of my avid fantasy readers deeply engrossed in The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1). I mentioned that I meant to read it at some point and he was shocked I hadn’t already read it, seeing as it was a Newbery and all. (My students think I have read every Newbery book. You know, because I teach language arts.) He promised to lend it to me when he finished. The next morning he walked off the bus, handed it to me, and said, “You need to read this now. it is better than whatever you are reading, I promise”. I took him up on his endorsement and set aside my current book.

WOW! How did I miss this one? The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1) is absolutely fantastic. It’s a high fantasy that sweeps you into its world on the first page. Gen is a thief and has landed himself in prison after bragging that he could steal anything, including the king’s seal. Then, the king’s magus recruits him for a the ultimate theft- stealing a mythological stone from a neighboring country. Gen thinks the whole think is a crock and waste of time, but he could use the help getting out of prison. I hesitate to say much more, lest I give away any of the intricate plot.

I loved Gen. He was annoying, sarcastic, a smart-aleck, and everything you should hate. Yet I adored him. He was so real. He reminded me of my students in some ways- completely sure of himself no matter what the situation. Self-assured and even cocky, he is a trickster and a liar. But he is also cunning and clever. The supporting characters are well-developed (though I wanted to get to know a few of them a little more). The world-building is wonderful and I felt like I was there for the whole adventure.

Plus, there are some great plot twists. As I read in the last 25 pages in reading workshop, the book owner kept sneaking up to my desk and whispering, “Did you get to the big surprise yet? Did anything especially interesting happen yet?” Periodically he would grab the book, flip a few pages, and groan that I hadn’t yet reached the big reveal. Talk about fantastic writing!

Needless to say, I am dying to read the remaining books in the series now. They are already on my wish list.

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6 Responses

  1. I just found this book too. You are right – how in the world did we miss this. I have since ordered the three sequels and will convince everyone I meet to read it!!!

  2. Welcome to the world of MWT fans! There is a great live journal fan community that you should visit (when you’ve read the next two)–it’s called Sounis.

    The third book in the series is just about my Favorite Book Ever!

  3. I don’t know where I’ve been either, but I just picked this book up a month or two ago. Fantastic! I’ve read the next two now, also, and am anxiously awaiting Conspiracy of Kings. The fantastic storytelling and plot twists continue, and even when I think I’ve got it figured out, Gen knows how to surprise!

  4. I found this series over the summer, and I read one right after the other. I shared them with my students, and they love them too! We are all waiting for the fourth book in April!

  5. [...] Review of Meghan Whalen Turner’s The Thief [...]

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