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Posts Tagged ‘A Conspiracy of Kings’

The Thief
By Megan Whalen Turner
ISBN: 9780060824976
Publisher: Greenwillow Book, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Date of Publication: 1996

Reader’s Annotation:
The greatest Thief of Sounis has been captured and is forced to serve the King in a quest to find the legendary Hamiathes’s Gift Stone.

Plot Summary:
In the faraway land of Sounis, a thief sits in a filthy prison cell, awaiting his punishment. Gen might have been too cocky in his claims that he could steal anything, including the King’s Seal.

Gen is given an extraordinary opportunity when the King’s Magnus releases Gen and takes him on impossible quest. Joined by two apprentices, Sophos and Ambiades, and a soldier, Pol, Gen is forced to survive as the group travels to find a stone call the Hamaithe’s Gift. It is said that the stone possess power that will help the owner control the lands of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia. The King of Sounis expects Gen to prove his worth as Gen has claimed that he can steal anything.

But as the journey continues into dangerous territory, alliances are questioned and no one is who they are perceived to be. It’s up to Gen to find a way out of certain death and a way home.

Critical Evaluation:
The first in the unofficially titled “Queen’s Thief” series, Turner’s novel of an arrogant thief is a treat for any reader looking for adventure and mystery. It should be assumed that Turner is an excellent card player in that she keeps her secrets tight to her chest until the story needs them. Once the suspense is properly created, Turner succeeds in providing a large payoff that readers can’t help but cry out in joy. Gen is a fun enigmatic character because we discover early on that Gen is a clever boy. As the story progresses we begin to realize the depths of Gen’s intelligence. To be a thief is to see a bigger picture that ordinary people rarely see or want to see.

The greatest asset the book presents is that how you are perceived is just as important as who you truly are. We are taught, more so now in this gage of bullying, that we should be proud to be who we are and to hold that pride with joy and satisfaction. An interesting note of Turner’s novel, and with the rest of the series, is that sometimes it’s worth playing up other’s expectations of you, if it means achieving your goal. Gen is expected to fail. He is expected to be a cocky thief whose only successful trait is to brag about his conquests. And that’s what people see and expect but nothing is ever what it seems. A surface view never shows the incredible details outside of a picture frame.

Young readers will be engaged in Gen’s adventure as well as be enticed by the journey’s mystery. Fans of this book will more likely move to the next book in the series, eager for more adventures in the land of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia.

Information about the Author:
From Megan Whalen Turner’s Webpage, Turner graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in English Language and Literature. She worked at a bookstore before she began her writing career. Her husband is a professor at Case Western Reserve University. Turner won the Newbery Honor in 1997 for The Thief.

Genre:
Fantasy, Romance

Curriculum Ties:
Mythology

Booktalking Ideas:
What does it mean to be clever? To be Street Smart?
How can a puzzle be used in adventure stories?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Review lists the reading age as 10 and up, while Amazon lists the reading age as 8 and up. I would still recommend this series to teen readers because of the use of mythology and of the different love relationships that are essential to the story lines.

Challenging Issues:


There are no current challenges for either book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential issues would include theft and mythology.

Reference:
Amazon. (n.d.). The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1). Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/The-Thief-Queens-Book/dp/0060824972/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Kirkus Reviews. (2010). The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/megan-whalen-turner/the-thief/

Turner, M.W. (n.d.). Megan Whalen Turner – About. Retrieved from http://meganwhalenturner.org/AbouthteAuthor.html

Gen and Attolia fan art

The Love of Kings and Queens

Bonus Features!

“The Queen’s Thief Series”

(more…)

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