Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Page Count: 279
Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, Fantasy
Blurb as on Goodreads:
The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
This book was first published back in 1996, so over 20 years before I even came to know about it (yes, I’d been living under a rock for a long time 🙈) sometime in 2017 when I heard Regan from PeruseProject raving about it on BookTube. I listened till she explained that this amazing fantasy series is about a thief who’s in prison and is hired to steal something, and then I tuned out not wanting to know much more than that going into the book.
It seemed like an interesting premise and I was quite excited to pick it up but I really should have read the blurb; it would have prepared me for what to expect and avoid a little bit of disappointment.
Plot & Writing
The story is told in the first person POV from the thief, Gen’s perspective. Gen is in prison – he doesn’t know how long it has been – and one day, the King’s magus hires him to steal something and then we follow a group of people including Gen and the magus as they journey for days to the secret location where the “heist” is to occur.
I wish I had known to expect a slow read in the beginning because it was. The first half was quite slow and dragging which got boring real fast, and there was a lot of world-building which was nice – but mostly it was them trying to get from Point A to Point B. And not a lot else happened. The only enjoyable sections in the first half that kept me reading were the short stories of the old Gods and Goddesses that they told around the campfire at night.
The second half covered pretty much the same amount of time as the first, but so much was happening! Once I was past the halfway point, I couldn’t put the book down till I’d finished (and I’ve already ordered the second book in the series!) There was a lot of action and so many twists!
The yogurt had enough garlic in it to kill every vampire in the country.
The writing was easy to read, pretty simple and straightforward, not too fancy. I liked the writing style, especially Gen’s voice – the narration was quite funny at times – and you could tell it was written for a younger audience, though I imagine it’s enjoyable for adults as well – I mean, I did.
I don’t want to spoil anything about the characters because you meet very few characters in this book and for a long time you can’t be sure who they are, and they just might surprise you.
But we have Gen, the thief, who is telling this story in his words and I felt bad for him, cold and hurting and suffering in prison, but also he did some stupid things. But I also kinda liked how he wants to be the best thief ever and be famous for pulling off an impossible heist.
Saying things I shouldn’t has been the origin of most of the painful episodes in my past, and it would certainly be an improvement in my character if I had a little more control over my own tongue.
The story kept me guessing throughout where his loyalty lies, but that was part of his charm, though he did come off quite childish at times.
Then we have the magus whose motives seem unclear as well, and I really liked seeing their relationship develop over the course of the story and how they dealt with certain situations.
Overall, I would say I enjoyed the book very much, mostly during the second half. I liked it enough to want to continue with the series and like I said above, I’ve already ordered the sequel. 😊 I do think I would have enjoyed it more had I read it years ago when I was first getting into fantasy and hadn’t read any epic/high fantasy series or really big books with lots of characters where a LOT of stuff happens.
Anyone who enjoys YA Fantasy or is just getting into fantasy or isn’t sure whether they would like adventure/fantasy. This would be a great intro book with a mix of mythology, adventure and fantasy in a medieval sort of setting.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
So those were more or less my thoughts about this series-starter. Now it’s time to chat! Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read this book/series and how you like it or if it’s on your TBR or any other similar books you think I would enjoy, let’s talk!