Warning: If you haven’t read the previous stories of the Queen’s Thief series, this review may contain some spoilers for you. Read at your own peril. ;-)
Sophos does not expect to be kidnapped. Then again, he is the next in line for the throne, after his uncle, the king of Sounis. As Sophos struggles to escape, aware that the slightest misstep might mean his death, he realizes that the nation is on the brink of war, undermined from within by enemies of Sounis. Saving the nation may mean making alliances with those who seem to be enemies, and making enemies of those who seem to be friends. And, most of all, it may mean becoming a man that Sophos never expected to be—the king of Sounis.
My Overall Opinion
I love, love, love the Queen’s Thief series, so I was excited to get my hands on this fourth installment. It is filled with the same wit and deep character development that I have grown to expect from Ms. Turner. Although I don’t think it is of the same caliber as The King of Attolia (my personal favorite), it is a book well worth reading on its own merit.
There’s no sex or innuendos, though Sophos is romantically attracted to a certain lady, as the story reveals. Their relationship is reserved and appropriate. As for bad language, you might get the occasional d--- or h---, but no coronary-inducing language here. Violence is a given. This is war, after all. Violence is something that Sophos personally struggles with, and wishes to forgo when at all possible. However, he makes several notable exceptions, especially as he begins to see the necessity of becoming a king that others will follow.
What I Especially Liked
This story is told partially in first person from Sophos’ viewpoint, so we have a close look at his thoughts, hopes, and fears. The rest of the story zooms out for a third-person view of the other important characters in the story, most notably Eugenides, King of Attolia, and Helen, Queen of Eddis. This split perspective allows the reader to deepen his relationship with Sophos, while simultaneously understanding important actions involving the politics and plots of multiple nations. I did not find the changes in viewpoint disruptive or confusing at all.
Also, Ms. Turner has impressed me so far with her masterful ability at developing her characters. She did not disappoint in this book. Sophos feels very flesh-and-blood, and his emotions are both believable and understandable. And though we do not get as deeply into Eugenides’ character as we have in past stories, there are some fascinating, important scenes in which Eugenides lets down his guard as king and we remember that he is also a man, with desires and dreams apart from those concerning his nation.
And, as always, there are the plots and counter-plots. At first glance, events seem to point in one direction, but as the story progresses, we become aware that those events had secret motivations and intentions behind them. The plot, it seems, is an elaborate game of chess. All of it rushes toward a climactic scene in which Sophos decides what kind of a man—and what kind of a king—he must be in order to preserve his nation.
Flushed, and knowing it, Sounis fell into step with the king of Attolia and glared at the ground. “You might have mentioned this charade you had planned beforehand,” he said stiffly, his irritation overcoming his reserve.
The Queen's Thief Series