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I inhaled The Queen of Attolia today. I haven't read much fiction for awhile 1 but today I actually had time and so I sat down in a two-hour chunk of free time, nearly lost my mind about halfway through the book, and finished it.

The Queen of Attolia is the sequel to The Thief and even the summary spoils the previous novel, so I'm going to cut the whole thing. Brief thoughts: I thought it started rather slowly--not in terms of pacing/action but as in interesting/funny writing and compelling action--but when it got going, it really went. I do recommend both The Thief and The Queen of Attolia!

[Review of The Queen of Attolia under the cut!]
The Queen of Attolia picks up with Eugenides infiltrating the palace of Attolia. He is caught after he unexpectedly stumbles into a trap set up by Attolia, and Attolia cuts off his right hand. He is then returned to Eddis, and while he is in recovery (mental and phsyical), Eddis provokes war with Attolia.

I almost stopped reading after the amputation part (I really hate maiming in fiction.) But I really liked The Thief so I went on and I'm so glad I did. The part where war was happening and Eugenides was closeted in the library was not as interesting, because while there was politicking, it was being relayed via reports from Eddis and also I kept getting the POV confused. I think it's probably because I was using my e-reader and some weird things happen with the formatting sometimes, and there are two queens so sometimes it'd cut from Eddis to Attolia and there was no outward indication. It just wasn't very interesting, as much as I like politics; it was the essence of telling and not showing, which is unavoidable but not interesting to read.

But once Eugenides got out and started doing things, it got interesting. Also, it was a return to his very sarcastic personality, which was enormously entertaining. He broke down and bleated at Attolia after she called him goatfoot, you guys. I also really enjoyed the double-crossing, and how Turner drops in little hints that suddenly resolve into full-fledged plots. The part where the messenger is shot with a crossbow quarrel (i.e. Eddisians) and the captain of the guard just accepts the letter and bag and sends them off to the barracks, with the Medean ambassador thinking "I thought I'd stopped all the messengers" was perfect. I thought Turner was signalling information about the Mede ambassador and his intentions, underhandness, etc, but it was also a clue that these aren't actually Attolian soldiers. Also, that must have been a very cold and long night for the soldier who had to lie on the ground all night pretending to be dead.

I liked that there was a lot more about Eddis (Helen, the person, not the land) and also Eugenide's father. I'm not really sure how to feel about Attolia yet; she seems to swing from malicious/cruel to trapped-in-role and I'm not really convinced about her characterization. I enjoyed her cleverness and scheming, and her showing up the Medean ambassador was great.

Because I can't turn that part of my brain off, I kept trying to fit the events and names and pantheon with the Greek/Mediterranean area. Even though Turner says they're not correspondences twice, first at the end of The Thief and again at the end of this one. It was a change, though, to have a fantasy novel set on/around the Mediterranean rather than northern Europe.

And though I hate maiming and was hoping some magic reversal would happen soon, I'm glad Turner didn't have the gods just magically heal Eugenides at the end. After so long with him learning to deal with it, it would have felt cheap, and I'm glad she didn't. (In the narrative sense, I mean.)

All in all, it started a bit slow and then suddenly I could not put it down. I look forward to what Eugenides and Irene/Attolia do next. They're either going to work really well, or they'll quite literally kill each other. 9/10


1 I thought about it and I think it's because in my system of mental accounting (to borrow the concept), "reading accounts" are fungible. Or rather, "time spent reading different genres" is fungible. So if I read stuff for not-pleasure (work, etc) then it gets classified under the general "reading" which is a leisure category, which means I have filled up my quota for the leisure spent and so stuff like "reading fiction" i.e. actual fun is pushed off because I have already used up my Reading Time. I don't actually differentiate, I guess. And that's my ten minutes of dorkiness for today.


Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/153539.html.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
dhampyresa
Apr. 6th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
What are these books about?
silverflight8
Apr. 7th, 2014 12:00 am (UTC)
Oh god, how do I do this without spoilers. Err, they're about a thief, basically, who in the first book is yanked out of prison to steal something for his captors. They travel to a country called Attolia to steal a legendary treasure.

(I am so bad at summaries. They're set in a Mediterranean--really heavily Greek, really--landscape and full of political intrigue in the second/third books. In the first book the protagonist's story of actually stealing/travelling is intermixed with his stories, told to his travelling companions/captors.)
dhampyresa
Apr. 7th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that sounds really interesting! Definitely going on my to-read list.
silverflight8
Apr. 8th, 2014 12:18 am (UTC)
They're so much fun and very twisty. I love them--I hope you like them too!
egelantier
Apr. 6th, 2014 10:32 am (UTC)
my favorite thing about the thief books is that after the first book, you go like, 'oh, a secret twist! i get the shtick now! you won't catch me again!'. and then in second book, all with me waiting for it, she totally GOT me.

(i also sent a very astonished and enraged text message to my friend as soon as i hit the hand scene - HOW IS SHE GOING TO SHIP THIS, AFTER???? - and what do you know, by the end i shipped it, and shipped it hard).
silverflight8
Apr. 7th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, exactly! I thought I was prepared. I WAS NOT PREPARED AT ALL.

usajkfdls yessss and now I pretty much otp it. She did a good job of it--not grinding it into our face but Eugenides definitely is aware of it, it's not brushed off either.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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