Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Post: "The Thief" by Megan Whalen Turner

Hello my peaches!

Auggie-Talk has a very special treat for you today! A lovely guest post from Shelver over at:

BOOKSHELVERS ANONYMOUS

Please drop by and give this lovely blog a look see and read this fantastic guest review by this new blogging friend of mine!


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GUEST REVIEW
"The Thief" by Megan Whalen Turner
Review by Shelver
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Title: The Thief
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Genre: Y/A Fantasy
Published: December 27th, 2005
Pages: 280


"I can steal anything!"
After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task -- to steal a hidden treasure from another land.
To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.

Such a sparse description, isn't it? But then, I didn't care when I first picked up this book at my local library. Sparse though it is, the description hit me hard in several areas of interest - a braggart who might actually fulfill his own boasts, a prison, a hidden treasure, a thief and trickster. The Thief was such a tiny little book that I should have realized that it would have the same tricks as its description. I was drawn in on very little information except a glimmer of promise every now and then, and boy was the ride worth it.

Gen is a filthy, ill-mannered, uneducated piece of gutter scum who picks his teeth at the dinner table just to annoy others. He's rude and cocky and cowardly, and I love him to the tips of his soft-soled shoes. The book is told in first person from his perspective, and while I don't normally enjoy first-person narratives, I loved being inside Gen's snark-encrusted head. One of my favorite moments is when he first meets the other members of the group the magus has put together - the magus's two apprentices, Ambiades and Sophos, and a soldier named Pol - and he immediately dubs the former two Useless the Elder and Useless the Younger.

Let me be clear. The first section of the book is not an adventure-filled treasure hunt. It is a knowledge hunt dripping with insight and sarcasm as Gen tries to ferret out information from the others and to assert himself as more than just a "well-behaved tool." (His words.)

Some have deemed the first half too slow, too full of politics. I disagree. I was too busy having fun joining Gen in giggling up my sleeve to care whether there was a fresh body on every page. As much as I enjoy a Hunger Games-like tension-fest, I liked feeling like I was figuring things out with him, especially when it involves figuring out characters as interesting as the ones in his group.

The second half of the book is when the adventure starts to kick in, because though the gods might be merely myths, do you really think stealing a legendary stone is going to be easy? The pacing was perfect for me; by this point, I cared not only what happened to Gen, but to the others in the group as well. I was solidly invested.

MWT (that's Megan Whalen Turner, for you who aren't super-fans) is a master of slowly cranking up the heat. My tension while reading slowly built in each stage of the story from worrying if Gen would succeed to worrying if they all would succeed to worrying if they all would make it out alive at all.

Do you know what else MWT is a master of? Twists. Big, honking', blow-my-mind twists. I thought I knew. I really thought I knew how things would go and that this would be a story that I valued more for character style than for surprises, despite the few eyebrow-raising moments MWT provided. But then I reached The Big Twist (also known as the moment when I became a super-fan) and went, "Ho. Ly. COW!"

Because MWT doesn't just do twists. She hides twists. She provides hidden subtext like no one else I've ever read. I've read The Thief a good dozen times since first finding it in the library and still can't believe all the clues I missed. I find more every time I read. And they're all hidden inside this beautifully simple book that talks about politics, olive trees, and myths about gods.

I implore you, even if every word I have written fails to catch even an atom of your interest, read this book. Read it to the very end. And then read the sequels, because honest-to-goodness, they're even better.

Points Added For: A snarky thief, myths told within the story, hidden hints, a Mediterranean setting, a great Big Twist.

Points Subtracted For: Ummm… I suppose I should come up with something just for balance, yes? Okay fine. I wish it was longer.

Good For Fans Of: Tricksters and snarky people, Diana Wynne Jones books (DWJ discovered MWT, y'all), Horation Hornblower series by C.S. Forester, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and many more (I have a full list of recommendations from the main Thief  fansite).

Notes For Parents: Some violence, multiple d's and gd's.


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Well, I'm very excited to put the "Thief" on my reading list. I just recently bought a Diana Wynne Jones book (she happens to be my favorite author!) and once I'm finished I'll certainly be checking out Megan Whalen Turner! 

I thank Shelver so much for her guest review and hope to see more of them around here!!

Remember if you're interested in doing a guest review for Auggie-Talk please view "Review Schedule & Contact" page for e-mail instructions.

Alright lovelies, that's all for this Monday.

See you tomorrow for catch up on Trilogy Tuesday!

Until Next Blog, 

Read on! 

~A.

8 comments:

  1. I'm going to put this on my TBR list. It sounds very interesting. Just stopped on by from book blogs and am your latest follower.

    ~Delia
    Wolf Majick Reviews
    ttp://www.wolfmajick.blogspot.com/

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  2. oooh! this looks great!! thank you for the post. I LOVE sneaky, sneakiness lol. I found you through the master list on the making connections group on goodreads and am now following you! Hope you will follow back/check out my blog if you like it!
    -Amanda
    http://shmandarinorange.blogspot.com/

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  3. Thanks for having me, Auggie. :)

    And yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! New Gen lovers! Because I'm positive you all will be after you read The Thief (and if you're even somewhat on the fence, the sequel will seal it for you, guaranteed).

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  4. I'm getting this at the library TOMORROW because of this review...it's been on my TBR list forever, so it's definitely time to pick it up!

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  5. I want to second this rec, because it's a fantastic book, and yes, the sequels ARE even better. If you do get around to reading all of them, I would love to know what your thoughts were! Reviews for the second book, Queen of Attolia, tend to be especially fun because it's nearly impossible to properly review the thing without spoiling either it or The Thief.

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  6. Very nice summary of an amazing book! THanks for spreading the word =D

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  7. I LOVE this book! It was a little difficult to read the first 80 pages, and I almost decided not to read it- but thank God I did!! It is one of my favorites now! :)
    Great review of a great book!

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  8. This is an excellent review of a great book, intriguing and enticing, without being in the least spoilerish. Well done!

    Thanks for hosting it, Auggie!

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