The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner
Published Year: 1996
Genre: YA Fantasy
"The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses."
Gen is a thief, and pretty good one if his first tale is to be believed. But he ended up in prison at the beginning of this book, and curses the plan that got him there. My first thought was that at least it was part of a plan, if it seems kind of dumb to me, but I'm obviously missing the bigger picture here.
MWT took her precious time filling in the missing pieces. Actually, I want to take a moment and say how the narration was truly Gen. I wasn't taking a step back and seeing the author through the character or narrator. This was all Gen, and it was really great. Especially when I realized Gen was keeping information from me deliberately. It was very much him telling a story and withholding the best parts until the last possible second. I definitely wasn't getting any insights into his head that the other characters weren't getting. Maybe on a second read through I would be able to read between the lines and catch more hints and side notes.
Gen was a great character; he knew his limitations and his strengths. He could be humorous and a smart ass. He could be embarrassed and one-upped in conversations. He was just so real, and likeable. And then he started showing his skills, and the admiration started. All in all, if I was trapped in a prison somewhere, Gen is the one I would want on my side.
We are introduced to some other main characters along the way - Ambiedes, Pol, Sophos and the magus. Sophos and the magus were the most developed over the book, and they both certainly changed their attitudes towards Gen over the course of the Thief. One drawback of the narrator being so very Gen was that we only saw these characters through Gen's eyes, and we were inclined to view them as Gen did. However, I still managed to like them (along with Gen, I should point out) and thought they made an interesting traveling party on their adventure.
Though I really enjoyed this book, I have heard the sequel (The Queen of Attolia, who incidentally we meet briefly in this book) is even better. I will most likely continue forward with this series and would recommend it to others!
4 out of 5 stars.