I love this book.
Usually, I can't think of anything to say for any of my favorites, mostly because they leave me speechless. This is no exception, but I'll give it a shot.
So. Each one of the installments in The Queen's Thief series revolves around a different genre; The Thief was an adventure, while its sequel, The Queen of Attolia, is about love, war and politics. The King of Attolia, however, is about loyalty and trust; specifically, how Eugenides, the former Thief of Eddis, earns the loyalty of the court of Attolia. It's a bumpy ride: with silly pranks, more serious conspiracies, gossip, hatred and prejudice at every turn, Eugenides has to deal with homesickness for Eddis along with many other fears and worries. He's an amazingly complex character, who appears on the outside to be petty and in every way unfit to be king - the court calls him the "one-handed goatfoot who abducted the queen and stole her throne," - because they know nothing about him. He falls asleep at meetings, ignores his attendants' cruel jokes, and generally convinces everyone that he's an idiot who doesn't know how to act like a king nor how to rule like one.
But he's no fool: he's a cunning chessmaster who knows exactly how to make them bow down, using careful planning, negotiations and mercy instead of his queen's preferred executions. He only has to reveal himself, and he does. In the course of time, Eugenides proves to each and every one of them what a king and warrior he can be.
Of course, if we knew all his plans, it would spoil the surprise for us, wouldn't it? So the narrative of this novel is given to one of his subjects, a guardsman named Costis. Costis becomes the king's personal attendant due to an accident (which we later find may not have been an accident, but what in this book was?) I suspect this is also a tool to let the readers see inside Eugenides and his wife Attolias' personal life while still giving them privacy, but it's all fine to me. As much as I love the romance of Gen and Irene,
(Falling in love with someone who hates you, and staying in love even after she tortured you by cutting your hand off while you were only a boy? Or worse, falling in love with someone after you cut his hand off? If that doesn't make for a complicated relationship, I don't know what does.)
I know it's dancing on the line between young adult fiction and children's fiction to give us more than the few sweet kisses we get. I heard there's two more books upcoming after the fourth - titled A Conspiracy of Kings - and I hope to see more of this interesting and complex pair.
I'm really sad this book only has 3 reviews. It sorely deserves more attention.