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Review: The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner

After bragging that he could steal anything, and promptly laying his hands on the king’s seal, Gen finds himself in prison for that very theft.  That is, until the king’s magus recruits him for the ultimate theft in another country, a treasure that no one has ever managed to steal.  Of course Gen accepts, but he has ideas of his own, and he knows that once he gets out into the open, nothing is going to hold him back from freedom.

I’ve widely heard that this is the least of all the books of the series but I loved it.  I adored the characters.  Gen is a trickster and a liar, but he is just so clever.  I really wanted him to succeed in his mission, whatever it finally turned out to be.  I enjoyed the conflicts between all the travelers as they went along and the realistic way their relationships changed and grew.  The magus genuinely learned who Gen was and what he was capable of and it was remarkable to watch his respect for Gen grow as the journey continued.  In the beginning, Gen was marginalized, a prisoner and a thief, but as his companions got to know him, they considered him a person. I love books that do this and show how people are forced to reconsider those they classify as “other”.

The book is written in first person, which really works, but its difference lies in the fact that we still don’t know all about Gen.  He doesn’t reveal who he really is or his past until the end.  We’re given little tantalizing glimpses, like when he talks about his family and lets us know that it’s a big one, but his secrets for me kept the whole book very interesting.  I wanted to know more about him.  It was also a good choice for a read-a-thon book, as it’s very short and extremely absorbing.

I thought overall that this was a great little adventure story about identity.  It’s well-written, with nice imagery, but the characters really stole the show for me.  There was a reason I immediately picked up The Queen of Attolia and just writing this review has made me really long to read The King of Attolia as soon as possible.  If you enjoy YA fantasy and haven’t read The Thief yet, I highly, highly recommend it.

I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased all books mentioned in this post.

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