Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 29, 2008

King of Attolia

Filed under: Lit Circle Picks — kariredmond @ 10:12 pm

Last week (sorry again for the delay) Raph and I had a mini lit circle on a book called The King of Attolia.

(Still trying to figure out this new format of posting…) Both of us agreed that it was difficult to get into and very hard to follow with all of these names and places and situations that we, as readers, were dropped into the middle of. About halfway through the novel I decided to try and investigate some and I realized (as did Raph after he had already started the novel) that it was the last novel of a trilogy. The author, Meg Whalen Turner, does little or nothing to lead into the story of this novel and operates under that assumption that readers have read The Theif and The Queen of Attolia. Despite the logistical difficulties, the book itself made us want to go back and read the first two books so that we would have the neccessary information to process what was happening in the plot and have a better understanding of the interactions between the characters. I was thankful that Raph had a similar experience with this novel because I was worried going into class that he would have gotten more out of it and our discussion would suffer. On the contrary, we had a solid discussion based on the weaknesses of the novel (basically we thought there should be more elements of traditional fantasy ie. dragons) like the lack of introductory background information. In addition we both thought that the author did a good job with dialogue and made the characters interesting enough to make us want to read the rest of the series. I have put The Theif on my summer reading list!



  1. Dragons… Yes!

    Comment by traverse02 — April 30, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  2. I find it interesting that you wouldn’t know this was the third book in a series when that information is clearly given on the inside flap of the hardcover edition and the back of the paperback edition.

    Also, while elements of traditional fantasy are good and well, I feel it hardly needs mentioning that this book doesn’t fall into the category of “traditional” fantasy and that, indeed, spends most of its time acting as a political novel that happens to be set in a world that doesn’t actually exist, rather than being set in actual Greece. So I can’t quite see how dragons would make it better. Indeed, I think a great deal of the charm of the novel *is* its realism and its focus on political, rather than magical, machinations.

    Thirdly, I have seen this mistake made (and made it myself, frankly) many, many times before, so I just thought I’d tell you that the correct spelling of the first book (and the word in general) is “thief,” not “theif.” Thief.

    Finally, if you thought it was confusing but good then I really do encourage your plan to read the two prequels and then reread this novel, because they really do help clear things up, and this really is a wonderful book that stands alone well, but is even better when taken as part of the whole. 🙂

    Comment by Jade — May 5, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

  3. I can’t comment on most of this review, considering I went into the series (and it’s actually not a trilogy–Megan is working on a fourth book!) knowing King was the third book, and so I started off in the right spot. But I have to very HEAVILY disagree with the point that the Queen’s Thief books need more traditional fantasy. Elements like dragons, magic, and various magical species would have completely ruined the brilliant world Megan has created.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m sick of traditional fantasy. It’s harder to write something you have to conceive yourself, than it is to write something that already exists in fifty million different forms. =P

    Comment by Hikki — May 5, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

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