by Megan Whalen Turner
When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.
...at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...
Review:After reading the first book in this series - The Thief - I had to pick up the second immediately. There's just something about these characters and how well they all work together that kept me so invested. And in the second book everything about the world is expanded. The narrative switches to third person omniscient (The Thief was in first person) and I thought that was an effective switch because the story became more emotional and suspenseful once you can see the points of view of so many characters - their plans and true feelings - even though Eugenides' thoughts and plans are even more obscured.
Even though the reader knows less about what Eugenides is really doing, it is interesting how sure I felt that he had a plan and it would work. He's such a great character because he's so clever and calculating, but he can also be so frustrating. And I love how I can feel completely surprised by something he does, and yet immediately see how the character and the reader were led to that action and so it all makes sense. Even with the big reveal of Eugenides feelings towards the end, I was both expecting and disbelieving of it. It's just brilliant storytelling and characterization!
We see more of the worldbuilding with the very intense political maneuverings of the three nations (well four technically with one more on the outskirts) and it's another tribute to Megan Whalen Turner's writing that this part of the book still captivated me because I'm not usually very interested in politics. But the potential consequences of one nation taking over another were so important to these characters that I found all the drama compelling. Especially when it came to seeing what Eugenides was going to do about it!
This book kept me constantly engaged with all the twists and the clever way in which the author managed to tell the reader so much, but the true meaning of it only comes much later in the story. Eugenides is also one of the best, most fascinating characters I have ever come across, and I loved every unbelievable feat he managed to pull off. This series is an absolute must-read!