Book Review

Book Review: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner


Rating: 4 out of 5 hoots

Published: February 28 2017

Number of pages: 279

Format: paperback

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: fantasy, adventure

Audience: young adult

Get it at: Chapters Indigo

Shelve it at: Goodreads


The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the whereabouts of an ancient treasure. To retrieve it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested in the thief’s abilities. When Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey to find the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, and lightens up when they share tales of the old gods and goddesses.

My Review:

So funny story, I had not heard this series until after I found about the last book, Return of the Thief that was set to release this year – until they decided to set back the publication date to next year in 2020. That means fans have another year to read the conclusion but this gives me more time to read the rest of the books, so I’m not complaining. I set myself up with no expectations before reading and as a result I was pretty surprise as to how much I really enjoyed this.

The pacing of this story is pretty slow but the characters and the writing made up for it. I especially like Eugenides, a thief who doesn’t miss a chance to brag about his brilliant thieving skills, and yet it was his ego that landed him into prison and that’s where our story begins. We focus on Eugenides or Gen for short who is one of the most interesting and personally my favourite character: his wit, humor, and sarcasm, his storytelling, and how he speaks his mind is honest but cruel to others when he doesn’t mean to be. And then you have his qualities that make him the greatest thief: his quick thinking and stealth, the most important abilities to carry. For someone who is named after the God of Thieves, Gen lives up to his name and reputation as a thief who can steal anything. His skills are put to a dangerous test for two reasons: 1) finding an ancient treasure that is thought to exist in stories, and 2) stealing the ancient treasure without getting himself and his companions caught by the Queen of Attolia. Although this story wouldn’t be half as interesting if there wasn’t a political battle between Eddis, the capital city and where Gen was found, and Attolia. Both cities steeped in war and history with the rulers working on deceiving the other to obtain power over the other’s city.

In this quest, magus and his apprentices Ambiades and Sophos, and Pol a guardsmen, accompany Gen where together they voyage out of Eddis. Their journey is long and arduous as the magus explains to Gen the importance of taking the Queen’s treasure, while the companions tell stories of ancient times and gods and goddesses to pass the time. This is the part of the story that feels long and slow as nothing much happens, but I didn’t mind the slow moving pace of this plot at all. Because in this part Gen and the readers start to learn more about the other characters including magus, Ambiades, Sophos, and Pol, in which we explore their family history, and their reasons for coming onto this journey with Gen. It was fun watching them get on each other’s nerves as Gen’s sarcasm and brutish manners challenges their patience and tolerance against his “I can do whatever I want and you can’t harm me because I’m a precious tool” attitude. It’s hard to hate Gen because it’s his carefree and outspoken attitude that makes him a character that you love to hate. But what Gen’s company doesn’t know is that the Queen of Attolia has motives of her own, so what began as a straight forward mission to steal her most precious treasure turns into a political game changer with the tables turned.

A fascinating world rich with history, politics and war, with characters who face divine intervention, and play games of deception and revenge. I was amazed of how much I loved this story and that twist in the end has me wondering what will become of Gen and his future? So far the first book has left a good impression on me that I immediately went to the bookstore to order the second book!

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