skygiants: Moril from the Dalemark Quartet playing the cwidder (composing hallelujah)
I have spent the last five days rereading through Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief books at the rate of one a day, and doing very little else!

If you've missed them, the long arc of the Queen's Thief series features the three warring alt!Grecian kingdoms of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia getting their act together to avoid being absorbed by an alt!Babylonian empire. The books are heavy on well-researched worldbuilding, political complexity, and third-act twists; they are light on divine influence, though the gods do have a plan and they would rather like the protagonists to stop whining about it. Books include:

The Thief: A magus, his two apprentices, a soldier and a thief go on a life-changing field trip to steal a divine king-making relic, and Megan Whalen Turner shows off her unreliable first-person narration.

The Queen of Attolia: All three kingdoms start a slapfight with each other while the series protagonist sulks in his room, except when he's stealing important political figures from other kingdoms. Megan Whalen Turner would like you to know she can dance deftly around significant information just as easily in omniscient third as she can in first.

The King of Attolia: A sweet, honest guardsman punches his king in the face, and proceeds to regret every single one of his life choices. Megan Whalen Turner's like "look, this time I'm using limited third and telling you EXACTLY what my protagonist thinks and believes at any given time, it's not MY fault he only knows like 20% of what's actually going on."

A Conspiracy of Kings: The heir to the kingdom of Sounis is like "I COULD sort out this civil war by becoming king OR I could do hard labor for the rest of my life and honestly the latter sounds more appealing?" Megan Whalen Turner returns to first person but is too busy examining questions of ethics around violence in the political sphere to put all that much effort into setting up twists.

This is the part that's spoilery for the first four books )

Anyway, yesterday I finally got to the point where I could read the just-published new book, Thick as Thieves. So this is the part that's spoilery for Thick as Thieves. )
skygiants: Moril from the Dalemark Quartet playing the cwidder (composing hallelujah)
[livejournal.com profile] genarti asked me for my top five favorite book covers! She gave me full reign to be ironic in my love, which is a privilege I will try not to abuse. At least 50% of these will also be rooted in fond nostalgia rather than any artistic merit, so . . . you are warned? I also stretch the definition of 'top five' a little, you are also warned.

Lots of images under the cut, obviously! )

What about you guys? Favorite covers? Notoriously terrible covers that you have braved to find the gold within? Or, alternately, covers that should justly have been a warning to you?
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (queen's thief)
A few weeks ago I posted about the first part of my Great Queen's Thief reread. And then I reread The King of Attolia, which meant I FINALLY could read Conspiracy of Kings a;ljsdkfds.

Verdict: reread has confirmed for sure that The King of Attolia is still my all-time favorite! It is also the one that I can talk about in a non-spoilery fashion, so I'm going to do that first.

Basically, The King of Attolia is Megan Whalen Turner getting her Dorothy Dunnett on hardcore. The main POV character is Costis, a young and enormously honorable guard who opens up the book by punching his new king in the FACE. Because the king is a foreign JERKFACE who came in and forced himself on their SUPER HOT AND TERRIFYING queen and now thinks he can get all up in everybody's business, like, what the hell. And then instead of getting killed, or demoted, Costis has to face a fate worse than death: becoming the Jerk King's personal guardsman.

Needless to say, there's a whole lot going on behind the scenes that Costis doesn't know about; the whole thing is complicated and full of intrigue and really deftly done. (My favorite part is the bit where Costis is utterly and totally overcome by embarrassment at being in the same room as the king and queen showing affection to each other. IT'S LIKE WATCHING YOUR PARENTS MAKE OUT. >.<)

Aaaand now for the way spoilery first reaction part: Conspiracy of Kings! )
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (queen's thief)
It has recently been pointed out to me that I have been exceedingly negligent and never formally posted about my love for Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series! This is because I read the first three books just before I started officially booklogging. But that is really no excuse. Fortunately I am currently in the middle of rereading the series in preparation for the new one, so I now have a perfect opportunity. :D

General Info and Recommendation Points: The series is set in an imaginary Mediterranean culture. Sounis and Attolia are wealthier kingdoms, with access to harbors and more extensive fieldlands and resources; the mountain kingdom of Eddis controls the pass between them. The kingdoms are threatened by a larger expansionist empire, and most of the politics are centered to one degree or another on the eventual need to resist that empire. The politics and worldbuilding and mythology ground the series, and are complicated and thoughtful and amazing. The characters likewise so!

In other news, Megan Whalen Turner has confessed to a love of Dorothy Dunnett and has included at least two references to Diana Wynne Jones novels in her books so far that I know of. Her books have the twists and politics and high angst value of Dunnett combined with the dry humor and valued sense of the ordinary and attention to small mundane details of DWJ. So basically what I am saying is they are my catnip.

The Thief (Without Spoilers): Gen made a (loud and public) bet that he could steal the king's seal. Then he actually did steal the king's seal. Then he languished in prison for a long time until the king's magus came along and recruited him for a top-secret mission: if he steals a mysterious item successfully, he gets to go free. On the surface, this is the simplest of the books, but all the seeds of the later political complexity are sown here. It's also amazing as a quest story for the attention it pays to small details - in Turner's books, people always need to remember to eat and comb their hair and make sure to wash their wounds in case they get re-infected. Also, Gen is a brilliant and unreliable narrator - and you know how I love characters who are unafraid to be justifiably whiny and cranky when occasion arises.

The Queen of Attolia (Without Spoilers): This book ramps up the politics, as a war breaks out between the three countries of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia. It's about making difficult political choices; it's about the different ways of being an independent and reigning queen in a non-equal society. The Queens of Eddis and Attolia come into sharp focus here, and are awesome. It's also about rebuilding your life after dramatic (and angsty) loss, but Dunnett readers can rest assured that no one actually goes blind from sheer angst. Okay, this part is a very minor spoiler. )

Coming soon (when I manage to acquire them): The King of Attolia and CONSPIRACY OF KINGS OMG.

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