by Megan Whalen Turner
First sentence: “The king of Attolia was passing through his city, on his way to the port to greet ambassadors newly arrived from distant parts of the world.”
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First off, if you haven’t read the other three books in the series (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia) go do that first. Secondly, when I discovered that Melissa at One Librarian’s Book Reviews was also reading this, I knew we had to do a buddy read. Thankfully, she agreed. Here are my answers to her questions; you can pop over to her blog to read her answers to mine.
This book follows the story of Sophos, one of the characters from The Thief, and what happened to him after he and Gen parted ways in Eddis. There’s a lot of action, a lot of political intrigue, and a very nice twist at the end. It’s amazing to watch the growth of Sophos as a character; you know from the beginning that he has been made king of Sounis, but his journey to that point and afterward is fascinating. It’s a complex, involved story, one that works the backstory in brilliantly without compromising the current story being told. It’s suspenseful, and is resolved in ways that you won’t expect. A worthy addition to a great series.
How does this book rank for you as compared to the other three in the series?
I’m not sure I can really answer that question; it’s been nearly two years since I read the other three. (I meant to do a reread, but never really got around to it.) However, when I finished this, the one book I wanted to go back and reread was The Thief. I’m not sure Conspiracy was as good as that one, but I think I liked it better than the other two Attolia books, even if Gen wasn’t in this one very much.
Did you remember characters and events from the previous books well, or did you have to go back and refresh your memory on some?
I had to go back, dig up The Thief, and remind myself who the heck Sophos was. I had no clue. And then I had to find a plot summary of that book to remind me of the relationship between Gen and Sophos and the mage. I really should have been patient and reread the others first!!
Having read her other books, were you watching for the twists and surprises? Did this help you to see any of them coming?
I wasn’t really watching for twists and turns, but because I’d read her other books, by the time I got to the final section, I had this feeling that something was missing, that something was going to happen. I had no idea what, but I got to a point where I couldn’t put it down because I had to know how it was all going to end. Which it did most satisfyingly (and spectacularly).
Why do you think Turner used the different narrative styles in this book (the 1st, 3rd, 1st structure)?
I think to give us a sense of immediacy when there’s action, and to make the boring political part go more smoothly? I think if it had all been in first person, the middle section would have really dragged. As it was, while we were still tied to Sophos’s perspective, we got more of a feel of the other characters than we would have had we stayed in Sophos’s head. Or I may just be blathering here.
Who’s your favorite character from the book or the series?
I still love Gen, even though he was hardly in this book. When he was, though, he stole the show. I also found myself intrigued by the Queen of Eddis.
Where do you think Turner will go with the next book (if there is one) or what would you like her to write about?
I’d like to know Eddis’s story. How she became queen, some of the decisions she had to make, and what’s going to happen with her and Sophos. I think it’s about time we had another book about one of the female characters, anyway.