Author: Anna (page 1 of 49)

BOOK REVIEW – A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen’s Thief #4) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen’s Thief #4) by Megan Whalen TurnerA Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen's Thief #4)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father's villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace.

Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the Magus and Eddis, sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever

Look, I’m not going to beat about the bush : yes, I know that the relative absence of Eugenides as an explanation for my rating is ridiculous. I objectively, honestly know that. Now, does that change in any way the fact that my heart is ridiculous by essence, because that’s what hearts do, right, falling in love, breaking, and so on, as the unruly little shits they are? Well, no.

I can stress
a) how captivating A Conspiracy of Kings is ;
b) how brilliantly Megan Whalen Turner handles the POVs ;
c) how endearing and interesting Sophos is (and his growth! Awesome stuff here, I’m telling you!)

(we could go all day, but I’ll choose not to, if that’s okay with you)

… having said all that, I can’t ignore that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did books 2 and 3, and I very much believe that it’s because Eugenides’ interactions and tricks are necessary for me to give it a full 5. Sophos is a very good character, but he lacks Gen’s spark.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

HOWEVER, let’s not make it seem as if A Conspiracy of Kings wasn’t an amazing YA Fantasy novel, alright? Because just thinking about what that genre offers us 99% of the time, there’s no forgetting that Megan Whalen Turner has by far the upper hand over Morgan Rhodes, Sarah J. Maas or even – and I do love them – Cinda Williams Chima or Julie Kagawa. By the way, I saw readers shelving these novels as middle-grade, and I wonder… Is that because there’s no sex scenes, even fade-to-black? No, I have to ask, because I genuinely do not understand what’s so childish about intricate conspiracies, complex characters, a writing very engaging, blurred lines between good and evil – there’s no such thing as a moustache-twisting villain in these books, but rather, complicated human beings who make the choices they think are best… Perhaps I am deluded about what is Middle-Grade and what it is not, but please enlighten me? Or maybe not, as I’m quite convinced that I wouldn’t agree with you. So there’s that.

“Then I walked to my bed and sat, making a show of careless bravado by crossing my legs and slumping as if I had not a worry in the world. In other words, I gave my best imitation of Eugenides.”

Anyway, as usual with series, I won’t rehash the plot because
1) You may not have read the other books, and would probably burn me at a stake if I spoiled you, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
2) I tend to repeat myself in these cases and I assure you that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of my disheveled rambling when this series is concerned. Trust me. Or no, better : ask my friends.

On a final note : Yes, every one of Eugenides’ apparitions gave me life, and I’m almost certain that would I reread A Conspiracy of Kings later, I’d probably give out a 5 stars rating.

For now, I’ll have to accept that I am not an objective reviewer.

*snorts*

As if it existed.

BOOK REVIEW – The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen TurnerThe King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief #3)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Eugenides drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king's caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

Hurry, hurry, and listen carefully now, because god helps me, View Spoiler » I’m feeling so elated that I’m not sure I might not burst into flames shortly. So here it is : The King of Attolia is without any doubt one of the best book I’ve ever read, View Spoiler » and Eugenides – that brilliant, clever, endearing, funny, perfect snake is currently looking down at us, perched at the top of the podium of my favorite characters. You may bring your offerings.

That is all.

NOW EXPLAIN WHY YOU ARE SLEEPING ON THIS SERIES

 

BOOK REVIEW – The Game of King (The Lymond Chronicles #1) by Dorothy Dunnett

BOOK REVIEW – The Game of King (The Lymond Chronicles #1) by Dorothy DunnettThe Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles)
by Dorothy Dunnett
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first book in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Game of Kings takes place in 1547. Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her freedom may depend on a man who stands accused of treason: Francis Crawford of Lymond.

In order to clarify the situation with regard to said novel, let me first rehash what the two sides of the discussion have been saying :

Side ‘What the fuck is this’ : It’s obscure. Every time Lymond opens his mouth, I want to smack his face and make him eat his weird ancient references.

Side ‘This book is brilliant’ : Well if you were less lazy, now. That’s classics for you, lads. You have to work a little to discover the gem.

Me : *chokes*

Now let’s deconstruct something together, okay? No ‘classic’ needs to be obscure. Many aren’t.

That was fast, wasn’t it? What, not convinced? Alright.

What is the similarity between say, The Red and the Black, The Three Musketeers (by the way, I saw readers comparing The Game of Kings with this one and please, don’t even), Anna Karenina, Stello and Les Misérables?

They’re classics, but they’re utterly readable. One does not need a textbook to understand every fucking page, and you know what? It doesn’t mean they’re average because the ‘masses’ can understand them (I genuinely saw people referring to the ‘masses’ in reviews today : are you guys for real?), no. It means that their authors are master of storytelling, and do not feel the need to drown their readers in ludicrous and useless literary references to get their point across. Is it possible to go beyond their first-glance easiness and extract well-hidden references with the help of some sharp expertise? Hell yes, or my five years in Uni would have been useless, and I can’t have that. Yet first and foremost, they are stories, and the weight of references never becomes a burden the reader has to bear in order to unravel the layers and get to the fucking story.

Hence why I whole-heartedly disagree with any reader who would stamp his contempt upon me and from the great height of his pretension, dismiss me the right to call myself an intelligent reader because no, I have no intention to waste my time on Google when I should be reading, thank you very much. I realized I should stop trying when the ‘French jokes’ made me readjust what exactly people referred as ‘jokes’. Look, I am French. I understand French. I am not quite bad at Latin, and I can decipher Spanish sentences if they are written and aren’t too many. At no moment did it change a thing. It’s not the language I don’t understand, it’s the purpose I abhor. I do not care about so-called winks and I do not believe that needing a textbook to be understood reflects some kind of superiority. The Game of Kings reeks of pretension and everything I despise in Literary circles.

Even if I could ignore my annoyance and follow the story – which I could, it didn’t bode well for my love for the main character, Lymond. I am sorry. Any man who declaims obscure French quotes while fighting annihilates any interest I could have felt for him.The guy’s a Gary Stu of epic proportions – there’s literally nothing he cannot do – who loves nothing more than hearing himself talk, and I’m supposed to swoon? Ugh, nope. And given that he is the heart of the story, excuse me if I’m slowly disengaging from this mess.

Therefore, I shall leave you all on this : by all means, entertain yourselves, but do not come at me and at other readers for being ‘too lazy’ and ‘not clever enough’. Fuck this rhetoric, and ô please give this French proverb a thought : Un point fait à temps en épargne cent.

Dorothy Dunnett, for all her outstanding education, forgot that. I’m sure there is a splendid story hidden somewhere in the clusterfuck that is this book ; however, I do not think it’s worth wasting my time.

And for all the literary warriors out there : Ab imo pectore, fuck off.

BOOK REVIEW – The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #2) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #2) by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief #2)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

DON'T READ IT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ BOOK ONE OKAY

Revenge
When Eugenides, stole Hamiathes's Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered...she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.

...but
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.

...at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago...

4.5 stars, rounded up because…well, if you must know, because Eugenides. Hellooo, name’s Anna, I just finished The Queen of Attolia and my mind is utterly blank.

I’d say I’m speechless, but everyone knows that I always confuse talking with breathing so nope, not happening. However I am genuinely sorry but I don’t think I’ll be able – or even want to – put my thoughts into words this time. First because there are many outstanding reviews out there already, given that I’m late to the Gen-is-awesome party ; the second – and perhaps the most important – reason would be that I want to warn you, yes, YOU THERE, you who haven’t read this series yet, and who wander oblivious, unaware of the merits of this little gem, you, I strongly advise you to stay clear from any review and savor these novels blind.
(she says, after providing links to other reviews… the irony is not lost on me XD) Trust me, the experience will be better (why am I under the impression that I’m some sort of dungeon mistress here, that I do not know).

If you really need a little more incentive, trust this : The Queen of Attolia is splendidly plotted, its word is inhabited by characters you will adore and want to protect under fire (when you won’t be strangling them, but), including strong women (yes PLURAL), a poisonous snake (I KNEW HE WAS A SLYTHERIN COME HOME GEN BABY) and a minister of war who doesn’t know that he’s hilarious (to me), the writing… well do tell, what can I say about a writing so compelling that I’ve read the damn book in a few hours, barely stopping to eat? Huh?

Now if you would excuse me, I might forget to look at my watch (3:55am, dammit!) and maybe start The King of Attolia, because if you should know something about me, it’s this : my restraint is so thin, I wouldn’t see its threads if I looked at them in full light, and I’m not one bit ashamed.

PS. Am I the only one wondering how old Gen is, exactly?

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW – The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner

BOOK REVIEW – The Thief (The Queen’s Thief #1) by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Thief (The Queen's Thief #1)
by Megan Whalen Turner
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.


Huh. I really, really liked this? True enough, I’ve decided to start The Thief in order to get to the sequels – that all my friends adore – and somehow I was at peace with the probable boredom I would feel during this first novel and… My enjoyment felt so
effortless?
From the characters to the world and the writing, I’ve been enchanted. Truly.

“I hate horses. I know people who think that they are noble, graceful animals, but regardless of what a horse looks like from a distance, never forget that it is as likely to step on your foot as look at you.
“What?” I dissembled.
“Get on the horse, you idiot.”
“Me?”

So there’s a lot of walking around as I’m sure Fantasy writers are somewhat paid by hiking brands but eh! I wasn’t bored. I said that! So. We’re not confronted with Frodo and Sam level of walking, therefore I’m still here and not sleeping on my couch, drooling. That’s something! And for those of you who swear by TLOTR, that’s okay! We can be friends still! I’m not lending you my couch though. YOUR CHOICE.

Anyway, in The Thief, Gen and his *cough* companions have a mission : to steal a magical stone that will have the deplorable effect to give immense powers to the King of Sounis, a… complete asshole. Don’t be too hard on Gen, though : that’s not as if the boy had a choice, being a prisoner and all. Their journey gives us the opportunity to learn more about the world Megan Whalen Turner created, as well as the characters and the complex relationship they develop between each other – there’s more than meets the eyes, and I live for this stuff, okay?

And how I loved following these characters!

“For my part, I wanted Ambiades to understand that I considered myself a hierarchy of one.”

● Sophos, you’re too sweet for this world, let me cuddle you what stop blushing
● Ambiades, what’s your deal shut up shut up I am annoyed
● Magus, I’ve still not forgiven you for the beating
● Pol, ehhhhhhhhhhhhh
Gen! Little filthy mouth! Quick-witted and arrogant little thief! I ADORE YOU. He shows just the right amount of selfishness and cleverness to appeal to me and I can’t hide that I loved his voice. Indeed the story’s told through his POV, and having started The Queen of Attolia, which is told in 3rd person POV, I can say this : The sequel’s writing is objectively more elaborate and I really enjoy getting to know other characters and seeing Gen through other people eyes, but in my opinion the choice of the first POV for this debut is perfect, needed, even, as it makes it so much easier to connect with Gen at first and I’ve never wanted to let go. Now I’m ready to meet more characters, and the author’s choice is perfect.

Ohhhhh, and I know that some readers were annoyed by the Mythology bits but have you met me? Sure, the folklore is not so discreetly ripped straight from Greek Mythology, but as I LOVE these tales I was damn pleased. In the end, I am so, so curious about the directions Megan Whalen Turner will choose for her story, I cannot wait a day to find out. I need more.

Now, let me confess you something : The Thief tricked me… and I couldn’t be more happy. If you’re curious to know where my weird mind went, and you HAVE READ THE BOOK, please look at the spoiler below and… shake your head at me, I guess. I am shameless though, because being so far off made the experience even better.

View Spoiler »

Oh, well. In the end, I am so glad I was wrong, and I can’t recommend The Thief enough : even if this first novel is by no means astounding, it’s short, fun, and you’ll meet the most endearing thief I’ve ever read about. What more could a reader ask for, really?

PS. I’m sorry, this review is TERRIBLE, but I need to get to The Queen of Attolia so… priorities, you know.

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