Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"The King of Attolia" by Megan Whelan Turner

The boy gave me this book for Christmas, probably as one of those gifts that's for me, but really for himself. I had given him "the Thief" which was the first book in the series, in the same spirit. I believe I reviewed "The Queen of Attolia" in January.

Well, this book picks up where the last book left off. It's all about Eugenides still, but the story is told this time through the eyes of an Attolian guardsman named Costas. He doesn't have a whole lot of respect for Eugenides.

One of the things I like about these books are the moments when the reader knows something that the character doesn't. For example, Costas receives a set of notes about a lesson that has been provided about the language of the Medes. He doens't know who theyr'e from, and I was of course saying "they're from Gen, aren't they?" You find out at the end that of course you were right. But she doesn't feel the need to tell us right away. I love that. It's something I need to learn how to do in my stories.

Some of the chapters were exceedingly long, like more than 50 pages. That slowed me down a bit, because I like the feeling of a small commitment -- I'll read a chapter and then put it down, and that takes only a few minutes.

This book moved quickly, and it had an entertaining story without too much boring detail. The main characters, Eugenides, Costas and Attolia, were likeable but flawed, and that made them all the more compelling. This one probably stands less well on its own -- the whole book is based around the problem that ended the previous story in the series. I fully expect there will be another book in the series, probably called "the King of Sounis"? But unlike other franchise series, for some reason this one doesn't annoy me. While reading the series out of order would ruin the fun of each book's conclusion, at least each book comes to an end of its own. I wish authors of other series (Robert Jordan, are you listening?) would do that.