Friday, June 9, 2017

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner | READ THE QUEEN'S THIEF SERIES NOW!

If y'all have been following this blog for a while, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series. I wrote an entire post about why it's the best thing ever. I included it in my reading profile. I've talked about how I fangirl over Megan Whalen Turner. There are actually many more posts, including a review of The Thief, but I'll spare you from the rest.

Thick as Thieves, also known as book 5 in The Queen's Thief series, released on May 16. If you don't already have a copy of this book - or any of The Queen's Thief books - go out and get it today!

Here's a brief summary of The Queen's Thief series, courtesy of Goodreads: The Thief introduces us to Gen who claims to be able to steal anything. His journey begins here and takes us through ... more amazing periods of his life, all from varying perspectives.

This series has been blurbed by: Laini Taylor, Joelle Charbonneau, Garth Nix, Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare. It's been mentioned by Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard and Alex Bracken, too, I think. I bet there are more that I don't even know about - I think I learned about the series from Kristin Cashore! It's the kind of series that so many YA authors love because it's masterful. You read it, and love it, and as a writer, you're like dammit, I wish I wrote that.

I'm going to discuss my experience with Thick as Thieves but not in a spoilery fashion. I actually spent over an hour making and editing a booktube video on this, but I spoke too fast or moved too much! I spoke too fast or moved too much for my webcam, and the audio doesn't match well to the video, and so I'm not posting that. Gah!!!

Thick as Thieves is pretty much what I would expect of Megan Whalen Turner and this series. There's brilliant plotting, characterization, and simplistic - so layered and effective - writing. MWT enhances characterization by bringing back little details from previous books. Also enhances world-building with more of the usual myths: the characters tell stories that then mimic the plot and journey that they are currently undergoing, i.e., a lot like the myths and stories about gods in the previous novels. This book hints at how *big* the world The Queen's Thief world really is. We finally get a map of the world and MWT discusses more of the countries outside of Attolia, Sounis, and Eddis. However, Thick as Thieves is much more similar in plot and structure to The Thief, which was my least favorite of the series. Thick as Thieves still a brilliant novel, with wonderful characterization, but road trips/chases are by far my least favorite type of fantasy novel plot, and I missed the machinations and intrigue of The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and even A Conspiracy of Kings.

But because this is MWT, the book is so brilliant that I'd rate it five stars anyway. If there's anyone who could get me to like road trips/chases, it would be MWT.

As a fan, I'm going to talk about what I hope for more of from The Queen's Thief series in the future:

1) Better Characterization of the Medes:

Why are the Medes always portrayed in such a one dimensional way? I was kind of hoping that with Kamet's perspective, we'd get a better view of Medean culture. The Medes were real - by the way MWT has described the Medes, I read them as being Persian (e.g., oil in the beards, the food, the relationship with these Greek-like city-states, the names (e.g., Naheelid seems similar to Arabic names, like Khalid or Khaleed), etc.). But we still haven't gotten a more developed view of this empire. I understand that the series needs villains, but I'd like to see a Mede get developed and those plot threads get a little more complicated than 'Hungry Empire.' It's rare to see Middle Eastern/Mediterranean type cultures portrayed, especially in an older historical setting, so I want *more*.

I don't consider this a spoiler, because it's pretty obvious from the moment you meet any Medean character that he is meant to be a villain, hence my comment on one dimensional.

2) More Female Characters:

Look, I love Eddis and Attolia and their attendants, but I'd really like to read more about other women. There's a few side characters here and there. I've hit the point - when consuming pop culture - where I'm looking for female characters, and if there are none, sometimes my interest fades. Please, please, please let MWT's artistic genius bring about more complex female characters in future books!

3) A Better Understanding of Where This Is Going:

Is there going to be a spin-off? My understanding is that there is only one book left in the series, and it feels like there are still a lot of dangling plot threads to be addressed. Everyone also usually says The Thief was a set-up book; it's still a good book, but a lot of it set up the big world that would get expanded on in future books. If Thick as Thieves is similar to The Thief, I'm left wondering if we'll get more books from the other countries that we've now been introduced to. Also wondering how TaT fits within the series framework because of that. Man, I need to go find a fan site for Queen's Thief and read through all the speculation.

And that's pretty much it. If I'm slightly disappointed because of Thick as Thieves, it's only because this series has such a huge place in my heart and because of my personal preferences re: road trips/chases. I will always and forevermore encourage anyone and EVERYONE to read The Queen's Thief series.

If you've read Thick as Thieves, what did you think? Is there something you want to see in future books? If you haven't read the Queen's Thief books, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON?!

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