Book Review: 'A Conspiracy of Kings' (2010) - BlueAnteater.com

Book Review: ‘A Conspiracy of Kings’ (2010)

The short: 3.5/5 ✦. A more complex and mildly less entertaining addition to the Queen’s Thief series.

The long:

Though this book is still one of the most detailed and complex YA novels I’ve ever read, it falls short of its predecessors. I think there are a few reasons for this:

  1. I wasn’t found of Sophos’s maturation as the result of being a slave. Slavery in general is presented as a form of accepted indentured servitude, and it just didn’t sit well with me, given . . . well, the whole of history. Sophos actually finds peace and tranquility in being the property of another man, and to me, that does a disservice to real men and women who were slaves and did not have the luxury to escape at any time. I admit that I don’t have the background or knowledge to fully discuss this, but it definitely bothered me, and I moved quickly through those chapters.
  2. Besides that awkwardness, though the format was interesting (shifting between Sophos telling his story in first person to Turner’s signature third person omniscient style), I found it also distracting and confusing because Sophos isn’t a fantastic narrator, especially when filled with self-doubt about himself. We only know him from the first book, The Thief, and as a younger child, at that. I found myself caring very little about his internal conflicts and wanted him to hurry up and get back to Sounis where he belonged.
  3. I haven’t a head for dates and timelines, so this complaint is probably solely on me, but I have no idea how old Sophos or Eddis is, nor any of the other characters. I mean, it’s mostly politics (and luckily for Gen and Sophos, actual love) and as long as everyone is a consenting adult, marriages will take place regardless of age difference. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, especially since it’s such a big deal that Sophos finally take a stand and take his rightful place on the throne.
  4. Though there were politics galore in the previous two books, somehow I found the situations in this book to be more tedious and confusing, likely because I cared less if Sophos would succeed or not. And there was a distinct lack of plot twistiness that I so enjoyed in the other novels.

These points (aside from the first) don’t take too much away from the overall story, which I did really enjoy. When (if) the other two books finally come, I’m definitely going to pick them up. I just hope for more Gen and Attolia and Eddis this time around, or even brand-new characters!

Header image: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner, published March 23rd 2010 by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers

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