The Queen’s Thief #1. Author: Megan Whalen Turner.
The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
The Thief remains on my list of favorites, and I’ve reread it four or five times by now. I think this is one of those books that just gets better every time you reread it. Gen is an unreliable narrator in the sense that he’s certainly not telling you everything that happens, and he’s got nothing against using misdirection. But he always tells the truth. And every time I reread it, I find more delightful instances of this, where Gen said something innocent that – now – I can see as foreshadowing/hinting at what we don’t know yet.
Gen is a delightful example of the thief archetype. Vain, lazy, amusing – and yet competent, friendly, and in the end, loyal. (But where do his real loyalties lie?) He seems unbelievably arrogant, but remember that the impression he makes is carefully calculated, and everything plays into his complex plots.
It’s hard to explain why Gen is so awesome. (Especially since you do have to keep reading the series to get to know him better.) But he’s one of my all-time favorite characters, and this is a wonderful plot-twisting book. (Also the world building is detailed and amazing.)
Sexual content: None.
Language: 12 d***, 1 hell, couple exclamations of ‘Gods!’
Violence: Character punches another in the face, and to the shoulder. Older character cuffs a student about the head. Character is beaten across the back and shoulders with a horse crop. Character’s hands are tied together tightly enough they turn blue and have some non-permanent damage before he is released. Character kicked in the side while lying down. Two bandits killed in a quick swordfight. Character stabbed and killed. Character stabbed from behind, but not killed. Two characters pushed off a cliff.
Other: The main character is a thief, and this is not wholly portrayed in a negative light. There is a pantheon of gods which, it becomes clear, really do exist in the book-world.