A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner

A week ago tomorrow, an advance reader's copy of A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner (Harper Collins, 2009, YA, 312pp) entered my life. In keeping with the season, I was very thankful.

Here's how my reading went: "Sophos!" (huggles Sophos) "Magus!" (hugs Magus) "Eugenides!" (too shy to hug Gen) "Attolia!" (too shy to even call her by her real name, let alone hug her) etc etc.

Needless to say, I love the characters Turner created in her Queen's Thief series (The Thief, Queen of Attolia, and King of Attolia), and reading the fourth book about them was a pleasure, although not unmixed with anxiety about them.

In large part the anxiety comes from problems facing the three contiguous countries involved--Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis. Somehow these traditionally waring realms must join together to face the threat of the Medes, a nation more powerful than any of them separately, that has fixed its greedy eyes on them. In the meantime, the Queen of Eddis has been warned by the gods that a volcanic eruption will destroy her city.

And young Sophos, heir to the kingdom of Sounis, is in rather dire straits, and it is unclear just what will happen to his country (and to him).

And that's all I'm saying about the plot, because I don't want to spoil it.

I will say, though, that Turner has produced another masterfully intricate book, one that demands re-reading and discussing and careful analysis of just about every word. Her incredibly intelligent writing challenges the reader to exercise her* own intelligence, and that's a lovely thing. I need to re-read it a few more times so as to get it all fixed in my head!

I do want to share one non-spoilery quote from the Magus with you all, because it is something that he might have posted to Sounis, the livejournal fan community for these books. It is just the sort of detail we delight in noticing (generally in retrospect):

"That lying little monster complained about everything: the food, the horses, the blankets, the company. He even found fault with the stories I told by the fire, but I cannot recall that he ever once complained about the climbing." (page 117)

To which the next character replies: "So many things are obvious in retrospect, aren't they?"

*It strikes me that every passionate MWT fan I know is of the female persuasion. My own dear husband, currently reading the book, admires them a lot too, but can't be called passionate. He had forgotten who Sophos was (shock horror).

Important announcement:

I feel that it would be too greedy to keep my ARC when I know so many other people want it. I'll be buying the hardcover of course when it comes out in March (word on the street is that there will be a map!). So, please visit the next post down so as to find out how to enter to win my ARC.

(disclaimer: ARC received from the publisher, for which I say "Thank you so much!" And now I guess I will have to keep blogging another three or four years, so that Harper Collins will consider me worthy of an ARC of book 5....or, alternately, I could become a Harper Collins author ha ha)


  1. I'm trying to think of something reasonably coherent to say aside from my first response of a delighted, "squeeeee!"

    I love that quotation. Climbing, huh? That suggests so many plot possibilities.

    (keestone on lj)

  2. Oh, just seeing the name of the book, the author's name, the title, renders me all incoherent and thrilled and, and... YAY! No, really--I love all three books, but I have to say, The King of Attolia is one of the most well written books I've ever read. Ever. So getting my hands on another--wow!

  3. Incoherent squees, except to say that this: Here's how my reading went: "Sophos!" (huggles Sophos) "Magus!" (hugs Magus) "Eugenides!" (too shy to hug Gen) "Attolia!" (too shy to even call her by her real name, let alone hug her) etc etc.
    is an awesome sentence.

  4. "Sophos!" (huggles Sophos) "Magus!" (hugs Magus) "Eugenides!" (too shy to hug Gen) "Attolia!" (too shy to even call her by her real name, let alone hug her) etc etc.

    Yes, that was it exactly!
    So many things are obvious in retrospect... heehee, so awesome. I was just about to name the character who said that--I've kind of been hyper-concious of giving spoilers, which I guess is kind of a good thing, but it's also kind of... weird. I'm so used to not saying things to people I'm recommending them to in person, but being able to discuss whatever I want online. I'm so glad to have that little yahoo group, so I don't have to keep it all to myself! :-)

  5. And if you had told me, back when I first read The Thief, that I'd be hugging the Magus because I was so glad to see him, I wouldn't have believed you!

  6. (Came over here from Sounis)

    Great review! I am just so much more excited for this book now, especially since you gave us a Magus quote. Magus quotes are always welcome. :)

  7. I am seventeen kinds of jealous that you've already been able to read this! I think I may very well buy it as soon as it's available, and I almost never purchase new hardcovers. Turner won me over but good.

    Now I'm off to check out your giveaway post. :)

  8. It strikes me that every passionate MWT fan I know is of the female persuasion.

    I've noticed the same thing! I've tried getting my brother to read it. He thought it was good but not brilliant.

    I think it has something to do with every female reader falling just a bit (or maybe a whole lot) in love with Gen as the series progresses.

  9. I have to say this IS THE BEST book series i have every read. i can't wait to get the next book. Hey i am a guy to.


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