Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

The King of Attolia

Warning: Spoilers for the previous books in the series (and probably for this one too)

The King of Attolia feels different than The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. That is not to say that it's bad, but after two superb books, this one seemed more laid back.

It is still the story of Gen, but this time we get to see it from someone else's eyes. And this someone else is a new character in the series – Costis. Costis is a royal guard, and very much loyal to his Queen. And since there is much speculation on whether she had any choice in marrying the King, it means he is not going out of his way to protect him.

But when he punches the King in face he knows he has gone too far. Actually he doesn't really understand how he got to that point, but since he is also a very honourable person, he awaits his punishment. He does get it, in a way, but not what he expected. He becomes the King's sparring partner, his guard, and sometimes his confident.

And through the eyes of Costis we get to see Gen, that now needs to be a bit more covert about his tricks, and who has to comes to terms that he is a king.

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like The King of Attolia – it was too different comparing to the previous books. There didn't seem to be much of a plot at the beginning – no wars to fight, no jewels to steal. There is a plot, off course, but it's not action-centered, it's more of a coming to terms with responsibility. And also about loyalty.

There is also a small insight about the relationship of Attolia and Gen, but again, mostly through Costis eyes. It did work for me, because not only it allowed me to see into the relationship, but Costis was also learning something. And by the end of the book I had come to like Costis. He might not be as memorable as the other main characters, but he developed very well throughout the book, and his love-hate-incomprehension relationship with Gen was hilarious at times.

I did like The King of Attolia, but not as much as the first two. It was a fun read, with a peek into Attolia's court life, with some twists, and some laughs. What I found myself missing was Sophos, who hasn't appeared since book 1, but has been mentioned a lot. There is a bit of an intrigue with his disappearance that is not resolved (it is in the next book, though).

Rating: 4 out of 5

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  1. Spoilers! can't read it then...

  2. Yep, and a word of advice: don't read the back cover of any of the books...they are spoiler-ish as well