Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Attolia series

There are four books (so far) in the Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner, and I'd like to stress that there will be spoilers in this post! It's impossible to describe later books in the series without giving away spoilers for earlier books. So, if you don't want spoilers but you do want to read a great series, just trust me that you need to read them and DON'T read any summaries anywhere of them. Okay?

Book 1: The Thief
Recorded Books, 1997. 7 CDs(7 hr., 15 min.) Teen fiction

The magus of Sounis (the king's highest advisor) rescues a common thief from the king's prison and drags him on a long journey to find and steal (from the gods, no less) a mythical stone that gives the possessor of the stone the ultimate right to rule. However, Gen, the thief, is not quite what he seems.

Book 2: The Queen of Attolia
Recorded Books, 2007. 8 CDs (9 hr.) Teen fiction

Eugenides, the thief of Eddis, is captured in the kingdom of Attolia. As punishment, the queen cuts off his right hand and sends him home to Eddis, where he mopes and mourns the loss of his hand, and he thinks, his entire purpose in life. However, when he realizes that Eddis has gone to war with Attolia and that war with Sounis, their neighbor on the other side, Eugenides realizes there might still be something he can do to help his country--and himself.

Book 3: The King of Attolia
Recorded Books, 2006. 9 CDs (10 hr., 30 min.) Teen fiction

Having wed the Queen of Attolia, Eugenides must now try to win over her people. His attendents and royal guard all seem to hate him, including Costis, the young guard who goes so far as to strike the king. Rather than having him killed, Eugenides assigns Costis to his personal guard, and he, like other Attolians, comes to realize that there's more to the king than they initially saw.

Book 4: A Conspiracy of Kings
Greenwillow Books, 2010. 316 pages. Teen fiction

Sophus, the heir to the throne of Sounis, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He must figure out how to escape, and following the death of his uncle (the king), unite his country, which is divided by civil war and subject to invasion by the Medes. He goes to Attolia to seek help from Eugenides and the queen of Eddis, and it will take all three countries to defeat the Medes and put down the civil war.

This is an intriguing series, with a fantasy world somewhat like Greece in its heyday. There are SOOOO many twists and turns that it's almost impossible to predict everything that's going to happen. I was hooked from the first book, and I actually think it might be my favorite of the series. I actually liked the fourth book the least, but I think that might be because we don't get to see as much of Eugenides as in the other books, since Sophus is the main character. Also, I got a little tired of all the political stuff--I guess I understand why kings and queens would have to act they way they do but sometimes it just doesn't seem so nice and I don't like that. It's accurate and probably necessary for the story...but still, not always easy to when Eugenides doesn't seem quite so nice to Sophus anymore.

One thing that can be a bit jarring about the books is that the narration does change. Book 1 was Gen's story. Book 2 was mostly Gen with some of the queen of Attolia thrown in. Book 3 is mainly Costis's story, and book 4 is entirely Sophus's, and the point of view also changes--sometimes third person limited, sometimes omniscient, and sometimes first person.

I listened to the first three books on CD and really loved Jeff Woodman as the narrator. (I read the fourth one, and my head was a decent narrator ;) but not as good as Woodman). I highly recommend listening to this series if at all possible.

4.5 stars. Clean reads. Great series!! Check it out. I know my summaries didn't do them justice, but trust me: the books are well worth reading.

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