Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner (2017)

thickThis long-awaited addition to The Queen’s Thief series can also be read as a standalone adventure, and is packed with politics and bromance.

Recommended grade level: 8 and up (for reading comprehension reasons; there is little mature content)

Pages:   400 (for ISBN 9780062568243)

Genre(s) and keywords: fantasy, adventure

Tone/Style: long-suffering, a bit archaic

Pace: leisurely to moderate

Topics: slaves, kings, politics, escape, journeys, Eugenides (He should count as a topic, right? He’s basically the center of the universe in this series.)

Themes: freedom, trust, betrayal, friendship

Summary: Thick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companion stories The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey. (Source)

Who will like this book?: Intrigue, political maneuvering, and plots for power make up the bulk of the story in this book. There’s also a bit of action and a reluctantly blossoming friendship. Readers interested in these elements who are willing to put a little work into their reading will enjoy this. And of course, this is a must for fans of the previous books in the series.

Who won’t like this book?: While this can be read as a standalone, that could be a frustrating experience for readers who want a very clear understanding of the relationships and politics involved in this story.  Even I had trouble keeping track of the people and places in it sometimes, and I’ve read all the previous books in the series. (There is a helpful Eugenides Wiki you can consult.) I would recommend that a reader new to the series start with The Thief and work up to this one. Reluctant readers and those who struggle with reading comprehension should steer clear.

Other comments: This entry is based on an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of the title. Though this is technically fantasy, it’s light enough on the supernatural elements that it almost reads like alternate-universe historical fiction. I am SUCH a sucker for bromance. If you’ve got some bromance recommendations, hit me up. 

Sequel(s): The other books in The Queen’s Thief series take place before this one.  The Thief (1996), The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), A Conspiracy of Kings (2010). An untitled sixth installment is forthcoming.

Readalikes: The Mark of the Thief by Jennifer Nielsen also features an escaped slave and a pantheon of gods. (Nielsen’s The False Prince is also similar to Turner’s The Thief. I think Nielsen is a fan.) The world of The Queen’s Thief is based on ancient Greece and Rome, so books set there might be good choices; there’s a list of some here. For readers interested in fantasy politics, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith has lots of it. (Particularly the sequel, Court Duel, which in recent times has been published along with Crown Duel in a single volume titled Crown Duel.) If you’re like me and have an inexplicable affinity for bromantic fantasy, I suggest the Knight and Rogue series by Hilari Bell. I’m not sure why the marketing lists Marie Lu as a readalike author; I disagree on that one.

-Kylie Peters

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