When I gave away my ARC of A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner (coming out this March), I asked that everyone who entered recommend books for us fans of the Queen’s Thief series to read while we waited for spring...and beyond (d.v.).
Here is the list that resulted from those comments, organized by author. There’s lots of fantasy, some historical fiction, a bit of sci fi, and a bit of straight young adult, and a smidge of adult fiction. There are authors I love, authors who have been on my own to-be-read list for years, and authors I've never heard of. In these books you have been promised great characterization, great political intrigue, great writing, and quite a few thieves….
"The Westmark Trilogy....deconstructs fantasy tropes magnificently, and it's full of court intrigue, revolutionaries, infighting, war, betrayal, and realistic well thought out political maneuvering. It gets at the philosophical heart of much high fantasy in the same way MWT's books do with the Gods and Goddesses. There's also no magic, so it has a similar feel to the Thief books."
Ines of My Soul "a spectacular read"
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
The Unnamables. "It's not quite as complex as Turner's stuff, but it still gives the reader a whole lot to think about while defying her expectations."
A Great and Terrible Beauty
Sarah Rees Brennan
The Demon's Lexicon. "Which is the only other book for which I belong to an LJ community that I don't write fanfiction for. Well written, witty, fast paced, and with a punch to the gut ending with just the right amount of foreshadowing. Brennan is like Turner, one of the few writers who can really pull off a surprise ending."
“[The] Mercedes Thompson series, about a skinwalker who shifts into coyote form, puts me in mind of Gen as well. Mercedes has a flexible mind, like Gen.”
Lois McMaster Bujold
“The Miles Vorkosigan books….are my favourite books along with MWT's. She writes such awesome characters.” And another commenter opined that the Vorkosigan books "have an amazing cast of characters, intriguing plots, and amazing writing. Miles' forward momentum often reminds me of Gen." A helpful commenter adds: "Several people have suggested newcomers to the Vorkosigan books to start with Cordelia's Honor, but I would suggest starting with Young Miles."
"The Curse of Chalion....(along with its sequel, Paladin of Souls, not to mention the Sharing Knife series)" "The gods in this book and their relationship with humans are particularly well done."
Northlander. "Great debut novel with a sequel (The King Commands) coming out shortly."
Orson Scott Card
"An author who writes great female characters...Her books Graceling and Fire are both excellent."
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell-"an exhausting, exhaustive book but truly well worth the time invested. If Jane Austen was badass enough to write gutsy fantasy, this would be it."
The Hunger Games and sequel Catching Fire
The Pellinor series
Keeping the Moon a.k.a. Last Chance, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, Lock and Key
So You Want To Be A Wizard series (Wizard's Holiday & Wizards at War being by far the best).
The Hollow Kingdom trilogy. "It's a delicious, fast read, with a strangely charismatic main character!"
Dorothy Dunnet (MWT is herself a fan of Dunnet)
“The Lymond Chronicles….my favourite books of all time featuring a brilliant but tortured hero and plenty of political intrigue. They're a challenging read but I can't rec them highly enough.”
David Anthony Durham
'The Belgariad' "just a really great, fun read - followed by 'The Malloreon' which isn't as good but you just HAVE to keep reading because you love the characters so much."
A Girl Named Disaster and The Eye, The Ear and The Arm "for readers who like historical elements with a bit of supernatural intervention." Also House of the Scorpions--a "spectacular read"
"Incarceron....has a good mix of political intrigue, action, and excellent world-building. For me, MWT is all about the characters and about providing a story that is much deeper and twistier then it initially appears, and this book fits in that mold."
The Nightrunner series. "That's one of my favourites for fantasy/politics/thievery rolled in one."
Phil and Kaja Foglio
The Girl Genius series. "The series itself is a webcomic though it does have collected volumes, which currently numbers eight. The main character is a lovely blend of strong sympathetic heroine and mad scientist. The main romance especially reminds me of MWT as the lovers in question have both political obstacles and trust issues."
"....especially Anansi Boys- about the son of a trickster god." "Any and all works by Neil Gaiman ('American Gods' is very dark, 'Anansi Boys' is lighter but still somewhat dark, 'Neverwhere' is just a fantastic romp in underground London)."
Jessica Day George
Dragon Slippers trilogy
The Princess Bride. "I think Gen and Wesley are quite similar."
Runemarks [I second this one-a complex story involving the Norse gods]
The "Books of Bayern" (several recommendations came in for the Goose Girl et seq)
"Turner's genius for excellent characters is what keeps me coming back for more and another book that does that for me regarding great characters is Dune."
The Assassins Trilogy and Tawny Man Trilogy "both star Fitz, who has some Gen-like qualities, and happen to be amazing sets of books. The Liveship Trilogy goes in between them, and is also fantastic."
The Valor books (Valor's Choice, The Better Part of Valor, Heart of Valor, Valor's Trial and a fifth book to come). They're sci-fi and a great deal more "genre-y" than MWT's stuff, but lovely none the less. They have interesting plots that include action, intrigue, romance, and one of the best main characters of all time. I don't know if I want to be Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr or marry her.
Diana Wynne Jones
"Howl's Moving Castle is the obvious one, but I think MWT's fans would enjoy the Dalemark Quartet and Deep Secret as well." "Howl's Moving Castle. Sometimes Howl reminds me of Gen when he's in his moody phases. :D"
"Dianna Wynne Jones is an author that MWT herself recommends (In the extras in the back of The Thief, if you have the right edition.) All of her books are unpredictable and original. Nothing is ever what it seems. Everybody has heard of Howl's Moving Castle, but she has written other stuff besides our beloved Howl, including sequels: Castle in the Air, and House of Many Ways. Both of which are just as clever and hilarious as the first Howl. One of the funniest she's ever written is Tough Guide to Fantasyland...."
Goose Chase. It's an interesting twist on typical fairy tales, and the voice of the main character reminds me of Gen.
Laurie R. King
The Mary Russell series "for wit."
Letters from Camp. "It's one of those books that sucked me in when I first read it, and still hooks me every time."
Kate and Sarah Klise
"Regarding the Fountain: A Tale In Letters of Liars and Leaks. I'm recommending it because of the way the plot fits together in the end of all of the books in this series."
Last Days of Summer. "It isn't fantasy, but it has an extremely unreliable narrator (read: compulsive liar) whom I love to bits."
The King Raven trilogy--Hood, Scarlet, and Tuck. "The legend of Robin Hood set in Medieval Wales, it's a really wonderful retelling that follows the basic plot while adding a new insight into the legend. Every so often this Robin Hood (Rhi Bran in Welsh) reminds me of Gen."
And also The Song of Albion Trilogy.
To Kill A Mockingbird. "I usually like fantasy better, but I loved this one."
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Earthsea trilogy--"a good deal more philosophical and painstaking in its plot progression than the usual fantasy fare but haunting and beautiful." [to which I add a recommendation for Four Ways to Forgiveness--beautifully written character-driven political intrigue]
Till We Have Faces "This one would be for the older fans. It seems like a straight forward enough story, until the twist at the end. There are gods and queens and small kingdom politics."
The Great and Terrible Quest
Any of his books
'The Lies of Locke Lamora' and its sequel 'Red Seas Under Red Skies'. "The main character, Locke, is a similar thief to Eugenides but due to his upbringing (and not having a Eddis or father) is a much rougher and dangerous sort. The worldbuilding is fantastic in these novels, the politics rich and intriguing and the characters are vividly drawn that you can't help but want to desperately know what happens to them next."
"Changeover, because it's also very well written. (It's an early, superior example of a YA paranormal.)"
Anything by Melina Marchetta
Wildwood Dancing. "Beautiful prose, an unconventional love story, a sensible heroine, and a villain who will make you want to scream with anger." [to which I add--the sequel, Cybil's Secret, is even better and has gods and and tricksy people and is thus more MWTish]
"My favorite part of [MWT's] books is her ability to weave twists and turns into the plot that are both unexpected and yet entirely plausible. With that in mind, I'd recommend Life of Pi...."
George RR Martin"A Song of Ice and Fire" series "if you're nuts enough to start an unfinished series set in a world where no one is safe and few people are as easily defined as they might at first seem."
The Riddle-Master trilogy. “Or, frankly, anything else by her. Winter Rose (a variation on Tam Lin) and In the Forests of Serre (inspired by the Firebird legend) are two of my favorites.”
The Blue Sword and The Outlaws of Sherwood.
The Bloody Jack adventures. "....while none of the characters overtly reminds me of MWT's characters, nevertheless reminds me overall of her genre by consisting of historical fiction (though in this case, it's real Napoleonic history, not alternate universe), intriguing and well-developed characters, adventure, a measure of international politics, and of course good writing."
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
Dairy Queen, Off Season, and Front and Center. "Wonderful, wonderful characters."
Princess Ben. " I enjoyed the witty voice, the complex characters, and the fairy tales turned on their heads."
especially The Abhorsen/Old Kingdom Books (start with Sabriel) and the Keys to the Kingdom series (start with Mister Monday).
The Temeraire series. "The Napoleonic Wars--with dragons! Great, relatable characters in amazing situations, more political intrigue, fun history revisionism, superb and exciting character development for everyone involved, and tactical/warfare scenes written in a way that is suspenseful and engaging (not usually my cup of tea, so this is really saying something).
The Aubrey-Maturin series--"some of my favorite books."
Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber
"The Wolf Brother series...has great characters, a marvelous extended plot, and a bit of magic."
The Magic Thief. "Fun and smart middle-grade fiction with a great thief."
"Any of her books." And, more specifically, the Tortall books-- “I'm particularly fond of the original Alanna quartet, but the closest to MWT in terms of content is probably the Trickster duo, with spies, thieves, court politics, and interfering gods.”
The Sherwood Ring. "The main character has always reminded me a little of Gen."
Night Watch. Of course it's better if you've read the other City Watch books first, but it also works beautifully on it's own. There's some political machinations, but the story is primarily about Sam Vimes (one of my all time favorite characters) dealing with a city poised to explode into violence."
Seconded, and a third person wrote "there are a LOT of books in this series but each book is a pleasure to read, and 'Nightwatch' is the crown jewel that makes you feel privileged to have read something so utterly great. If you find his eclectic, frenetic style a little distracting then you can start out with the Tiffany Aching series to warm up before diving into the deep end with 'Color of Magic' (the first book)."
I rather enjoyed the His Dark Materials trilogy, mostly because it was so character-driven (especially The Subtle Knife).
The King Must Die "held MANY echoes of the Queens Thief series for me. (It's a re-telling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur). The Hellenic setting, and Theseus's relationship with his gods, and the fall of Crete... actually the echo is probably the other way: perhaps this is one of Turner's influences. Theseus's experience of religion is fascinating!!"
"Percy Jackson and the Olympians would very much appeal to Sounisians, I think."
The Westing Game "I...enjoyed the plot twist, though it's definitely written for younger readers."
Amelia Atwater Rhodes
Hawksong. "It's a lovely story about two monarchs coming together (in marriage for the sake of their kingdoms)"
"The Name of the Wind. Much longer than Turner's books, and it's the first book of a yet-to-be-finished trilogy, but the main character is remarkably similar to a young, cynical Gen. There is some thievery, and it's one of the most impressive books I've read in ages."
Mary Doria Russell
The Sparrow and its sequel. "So moving and substantial."
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Lord Peter Whimsey books. "It's a fantastic series, with twists and turns, a lot of comedy, and fantastic characters - I suspect anyone who loves Gen would also love Peter!"
The Chestry Oak. "The story of a little prince living in Hungary before and during the Nazis invasion. Well written, unforgettable characters, and a lot of love."
Summers at Castle Auburn. "Her books are a bit hit and miss with me, but Summers at Castle Auburn is the one book of hers I adore, and which everybody seems to love as well - well, I would not recommend it to somebody who loves military sf or something, but anybody who might be charmed by a story about princesses (though really it is not about that..)"
Also Mystic and Rider "a story about adventure, friendship, and true love!
"Crown Duel, which isn't quite as well crafted as Turner's books, but whose plot and characters carried me happily along."
"Crown Duel is fabulous—battles, misguided heroine, mysterious marquis, political intrigue, a hint of magic... Pretty much everything you could ever want in a novel. :-)"
And also Wren's Quest, Wren to the Rescue, and Wren's War, and the Inda series.
Tinker, and "her Ukiah Oregon books, which [are] SF and wonderfully addictive too."
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. It's a fairly simple story following the friendship that forms between two couples over four decades. Stegner's prose is beautiful and he has such great insights into life, especially about friendship. If you're wanting something different, you should give it a try.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Kidnapped. Alan Breck and Gen are long-lost relatives (down to the Scottish accent!) [me--Gen has a Scottish accent????!!]
A College Of Magics and A Scholar of Magics--"great reads."
The Merlin Trilogy ("The Crystal Cave," "The Hollow Hills," and "The Last Enchantment")....are excellent. Like Megan Whalen Turner, their (more overtly historical) setting feels very real, but also mythic. If you enjoyed Gen's interactions with the Gods, you might be interested in Merlin's experience of power."
Shiver (My fourth favorite book after MWT's!)
The Bartimaeus Trilogy. "Delightfully snarky humor, magic, political intrigue, and dynamic characters who make sometimes unpredictable choices."
"I read The Shining Company, which was good but dark; I'm pretty sure her other books have got to be good as well. The prose was well-crafted and the characters were complex, though the plot wasn't as twisty as an MWT plot."
"I can highly recommend Rosemary's Sutcliffe's Mark of the Horse Lord. In the beginning of KofA, Costis echoes a line from the end of this book and it's a lot of fun to run into it."
Other Sutciff recommendations: The Eagle of the Ninth, The Lantern Bearers, The Shield Ring, Warrior Scarlet, and Knight's Fee
The New Policeman.
The Good Thief. "It obviously involves thievery which I must admit is what attracted me to it in the first place, but it turned out to be excellent. The writing beautiful and witty."
Stuck in Neutral and Cruise Control
Joan D. Vinge
The Snow Queen "which is a science fiction rewrite of the traditional Norse fairytale of the same name. Again, deep characters and good writing, but this time in a different genre. It's one of my favorite books."
The Tillerman Cycle
The Night Angel Trilogy, starting with The Way of Shadows. “His world-building is fantastic, he delves into the complicated politics like MWT, but also like her, the characters are core. The main character actually is a street urchin (instead of pretending he was one ;) ) and it's about assassins rather than thieves, but who doesn't love assassins?”
Elizabeth E. Wein
“The Winter Prince reminded me of the Turner series, with political intrigue, beautiful prose, and nuanced characters.” And another commenter seconded this, recommending the whole series: The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions, The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter, The Empty Kingdom. I myself have read the last two, and agree that, in as much as they have character driven political trickiness, they are a good fit for us!
"I particularly like City of Bones but the series that starts with the Wizard Hunters (followed by the Ships of Air and the Gate of the Gods) is good as is the Element of Fire."
Leviathan. "Clever plots, brilliantly lovable characters. . ."
Ellen Emerson White
The President's Daughter, White House Autumn,Long Live the Queen (Winner: ALA Best Book for Young Adults), Long May She Reign
100 Cupboards and Dandelion Fire. "Fantastic stuff!"
"The wondeful books she wrote in tandem with Caroline Stevermer. Sorcery and Cecilia, The Grand Tour and The Mislaid Magician. Also Mairelon the Magician. And from another commenter: "I especially like Magician's Ward, about a pickpocket in a magical period London, and Snow-White and Rose Red, a retelling of the fairy tale."
The Chrysalids--"amazingly well-written."
The Book Thief. "Similar to Turner's work in that the prose is gorgeous. (And there is some thievery...)"
So there you go. I hope you find something here to enjoy!