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