Tuesday, June 7, 2016

TTT: Why I Love the Queen's Thief Series

This Week's TTT Topic: Reasons I Love X

X= The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner

This is my favorite series containing two of my top ten favorite books and my favorite character of all time. I have never written reviews of these on the blog because sometimes something just means too much to put it coherently in to words, but this format allows me to sort of explain myself without having to find the perfect words for each aspect of all four books.

1. Irene Attolia-The titular character of the second novel in the series, Attolia, is rare for me to find in a book. I don't often get heroines who see the world and interact with it as I do, but she does. (I'm fairly certain if she took the test, her personality type would be INTJ.) I know a lot of people who read these books don't like her (or her actions in the infamous chapter three of the second book), but from my first reading of that book I understood what motivated her and felt equally terrible for her as the recipient of said actions. (I DID write an entire post on her once, but beware, it contains spoilerish information.)

2. Eugenides: It has been long documented on this blog that I have a thing for male characters who are brilliant but choosy about applying that brilliance, ambitious but lazy, arrogant but slightly insecure, and who can snark with the best of them.  Gen is all of these things and I adore reading about him. (It was heartbreaking when I started reading Queen and it was not in his first person point of view. I love having his voice in my head every time I read The Thief.)

3. Pretty much every other character in the books: Turner has a way of making every single one of her characters an actual real person even if the sum total of words written about them is around fifty. There are so many secondary and incidental characters in this series that fire the imagination. Royal attendants, soldiers, misguided kitchen workers, I want to know everything about all of them.

4. Politics: I know. This is the part where I'm losing a lot of you (especially in our current climate), but hear me out. These books are political intrigue fantasy at its finest, and I love how this touches on the theme of the utter thorough destructiveness (but sometimes unescapable) reality of war, the harsh reality of consequences from decisions that impact multitudes, and how two rulers can want the best for their people and be in complete opposition to each other at the same time. The intrigue that goes on behind closed doors (and out in the open) is so well done too. Power will always draw ambitious schemers intent on making their mark. Some of those people are noble and good, but their methods are not always. And then there is the majority who are just out for themselves. Navigating who to trust in such situations is a minefield.

5. Mythopoeic: I LOVE books that play with mythology, and none does that better than these do. Turner created a pantheon of gods and goddesses, wrote their stories (to play off familiar ones from our own world), and uses them to say a lot about the relationship between the human and the Divine, what that looks like in every day life, and how it plays out on a greater stage.

6. Depiction of Women in Power: This is a series that has not one, but two, strong queens. They are both incredibly different women with different strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, ruling styles, and relationship skills. Neither is portrayed as more or less than the other. They are both good at what they do and have done the best with the countries and situations handed down to them. Also they run circles around their one male counterpart on their small peninsula.

7. The Romance: This is one of the most subtle romances rendered and yet it is so amazing. (There are actually two romances so far, both equally subtle.) I will focus on the main romance for this which is, to me, absolute perfection. It is all seen from mostly afar, but all of the scenes involving it have power. My top favorite kiss in a book is in the third book of this series. It's not from the point of view of those engaging in it, but the people who witness it. And it's utter perfection.

8. The World: The world building here is excellent. There is a rich history, religion, structure of commerce, and social structure. The countries of Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia are like real places and I would love to visit them.

9. The Writing: The books are not exactly perfect. There are some pacing issues from book to book, but there aren't many pages that don't have examples of stellar writing. I've used chapter three of The Queen of  Attolia to teach high schoolers how to write using extraordinary imagery. Turner uses her words sparingly. She can convey pages of information about characters and place with a few short sentences.

10. The Fandom: The QT fandom is small but dedicated. I first found them years ago on Livejournal. Most of us are scattered over Twitter and Tumblr now. There is amazing fan art and head canons. And I will never get over discussing and analyzing these books with the other wonderful people who love them. I also have these books and the community to thank for meeting some truly wonderful people who I have discussed many books with, met (some) in person, served on award panels with, and had numerous discussion on a variety of topics. (Maureen, Charlotte, Chachic, Beth, Shae, R.J., Kate, Jade, Hallie: I'm so thankful for all of you!!!!)


Marianne said...

What an interesting list. Always nice to see what others are reading.

You can find my list here

Marianne from Let's Read

Rachel Neumeier said...

Yes yes yes

I never thought of Irene as INTJ before, but I think you're right!

Anonymous said...


Got My Book said...

I haven't even heard of this series. I will have to look it up.

My TTT list

Brandy said...

I may just like to think of her as INTJ because I relate to her SO MUCH and I'm VERY INTJ. (My husband sometimes just reads parts of the description aloud for fun when I'm being extra....any of those letters-but mostly extra J.) I do think she also fits the description well though.

Brandy said...


Brandy said...

It is amazing.

Ms. Yingling said...

I need to read this one again. I have it in my library but it NEVER goes out, although so many adults I know adore it. More info about the 48 HBC at http://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com/2016/06/more-details-about-48hbc.html

R.J. Anderson said...

Irene is totally INTJ and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. WITH MY BRAIN.

- Signed, another INTJ

P.S. <3 you too!

Brandy said...

YES!!!! It's funny how many of us female fans seem to be INTJs considering there are supposedly so few of us female INTJs in existence. She resonates I guess. :)

Brandy said...

My experience has been if you get a couple of kids to read it, it catches on like wildfire. But you definitely have to hand sell it.

And thanks for the heads-up on the 48 Hour post!!

Shae McDaniel said...