Creeping Round My Feelings for Queen’s Thief…

So, this is a series I ended up having *mixed feelings* about. All respect to the author for writing such a unique and interesting fantasy YA- but WOW there were some things about the plot in the second book that I can’t get my head round. I’m gonna keep away from spoilers for the most part, and any I do discuss will be hidden from view (you can highlight for them as always 😉 ). Just be prepared for a long one, cos I’m gonna reveal my deep, dark thoughts here…

thief

The Thief– this was by far my favourite of the series and I’d recommend it regardless of the rest of the series. It worked well as a standalone and I just had an awesome time with the audiobook 😊 On the surface, it’s a simple quest story, trying to steal ancient treasure… but it’s so much more than that! As a fantasy, it also reminded me of Cinda Chima Williams- in the best possible way- the fantasy is effective, yet the strength is really the plot and characters. Ahh the characters in this one were *the best*. Each and every one of them. The plot did admittedly have some elements of predictability, however, I *loved* each and every twist and turn. It didn’t matter that I guessed the ending, because I thoroughly enjoyed being proven right. Plus, the way it tied together was TERRIFIC! Certain bits and pieces snuck up on me and were a total surprise! *Applause* all round! I also absolutely love the way the setting and myths are inspired by Greek mythology and by Greece itself, but also manages to be very much its own thing. This is the kind of book that will leave you with a big smile on your face!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

queen of attolia

Queen of Attolia– sooo this one made my *happy feelings* disappear. And I get it, the author wanted to go in a darker direction, but this is SO MUCH DARKER. I rarely get squeamish these days, but this book made me queasy. I’d say it was Game of Thrones levels of dark… except there was a senselessness to the violence that even Martin doesn’t achieve. Worse still, this then meant the book hit some major roadblocks. I did initially think that the trauma was being well handled- it felt nuanced and honest and I didn’t mind that not everything added up to a straightforward recovery story… That was until the story went off in a direction that *made no sense* and dove off a cliff as far as I’m concerned. I’m sorry to say this, because for so many people the romance is what they love about the series, but… WTF?!?! Thing is, there were ways this could’ve made sense for the overall plot and hate to love is one of my favourite tropes, HOWEVER there are limits. And highlight for spoiler: this bitch literally cut off his hand. Because HE SMILED AT HER! Once one party in a romance is flinching away from the other and legitimately terrified, it doesn’t come across as romantic. It didn’t help that the romance came out of nowhere (although I really don’t think there’s any way to make the love interest redeemable). And no, this isn’t the kind of situation where you can play it off as “aww they liked each other all along”. It’s not sweet; it’s demented. I wasn’t crazy about the switch from first person to third person (incidentally moving the series away from being about just one main character). One of the biggest problems is it tried to soften an aforementioned hard-ass, *evil* character- and I just thought that was a tall order in this case. Everything else, like the world building and the writing, was even better than the first- I was just so frustrated with that big plot point. I ended up a bit all over the place with my feelings for this book, because as you can tell there were parts I despised, it’s just… I was still emotionally invested, moved tremendously at times and liked a lot of the story elements. It didn’t hurt that it had a very good final twist too. Because I was split down the middle on this one, I gave it:

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

king of attolia

King of Attolia– the good thing about this series is that they feel disconnected enough that I wasn’t totally put off by my negative feelings for the last one… The problem with this book was it wasn’t good enough in its own right to really grab my attention. The main character of this one was a guard and, *le sigh*, I never really fall for the stoic soldier type. Granted there were some entertaining elements- as much as I wasn’t interested in Costis, Gen was quite the performer. This did have clever plotting, but it was a sloooow burn and it didn’t feel like there was enough in it to warrant a whole book. Much of the story felt like build up for later books. I was mostly glad I read it, because I don’t know any other writer who pulls off political conspiracy as well as Whalen- the king could shock and play them off against each other in genius ways. I do think that if you’re more into court intrigue than I am, you’ll love this, so I wouldn’t write it off completely. But it wasn’t really for me. Sidenote though: loved the continued link to classics and the use of “wine dark sea” was the highlight of the book for me- bravo!

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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conspiracy of kings

Conspiracy of Kings– this was MUCH BETTER! I’d safely say, it was a return to the form of the original book. Sophos is, quite simply, more likeable and interesting and pleasant to read about. I enjoyed this immensely and found it far more engaging. While there was a lull in the middle, it picked up towards the end and I couldn’t stop reading. Again, this was about the political shenanigans, not just brute strength, which I have to say I greatly appreciated as an alternative to a lot of other fantasy. The twist was clever as well- and for once I didn’t suspect it! Ironically, my biggest complaint was that it didn’t have the stones to go in a darker direction. That’s right, I’m criticising it for not doing one of the things I didn’t like in the earlier book. There’s just no pleasing some monkeys 😉 To be fair, this was quite a different issue. Highlight for spoilers: this was one of those cases where the dead family members should’ve stayed dead- bringing them back served no purpose and cheapened the emotional costs of his failure. Because in this case there was actually a reason for this loss. It didn’t feel as senseless as the earlier brutality. On a more nitpicky note, I also thought that a lot of the people in this series have bizarre relationships. Too often, people don’t hate the people they should rightly hate. It wasn’t as bad as the issue in Queen of Attolia, but it was still noticeably strange to have certain people being all buddy-buddy. Still, most of the friendships were done well and I actually liked the romance here. RESULT!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Ultimately, this series was unusually up and down for me. I can safely say I’m glad I read it- because it’s so different from a lot of the typical fantasy fare out there- although I still have serious reservations about some of the story choices. And while most of the characters were amazing, there were others I wanted to punch in the face (at the very least).

Phew- that was a long one- thanks if you stuck with it! Have you read this series? Do you plan to? And, I’m curious now, are there any romances you just can’t get behind? Let me know in the comments! 

13 thoughts on “Creeping Round My Feelings for Queen’s Thief…

  1. Oh, I 100000% agree with you on the second book. I never really warmed up to the romance because uh, yeah, there’s kind of that senseless violence that Gen never really gets over? I didn’t understand them “falling in love” or getting married at all in the first place, but adding on what Attolia did to Gen? No thanks, I’m not on board. I did, however, warm up to Attolia’s character just on her own, but never in conjunction with Gen. (My heart is soft and full of endless love for him.) But yeah, overall, the relationships in this are pretty wonky and what keeps me coming back is Eugenides. He’s just such a unique character, and I enjoy reading about him so much that I start to shuffle past the other bits and pay as much attention as possible to him.

    I’m curious if you’ll end up reading the rest of the series? Thick as Thieves was really interesting because it deals more with the surrounding empires and opens up more of the mythology, and I’m very eager to see where Return of the Thief goes (if it ever gets published).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so so relieved I’m not going crazy there- I was so confused that they ended up together!! I mean, maybe there could have been an interesting turnaround after the first book (though still weird given the context) but after she destroyed his life?! No!!! I felt like that would’ve been possible for me, had I not had it in the back of my mind that she was capable of such atrocities… otherwise I would’ve seen her as a sympathetic character. Yes, I loved him! I totally get that! He really is!

      I am actually really curious to round off the series now- cos I do want to see where the empire stuff goes (since it’s been hinted at for so long) and I think return of the thief (if it ever comes 😉 ) is supposed to round off the series, so I’d want to read that too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not to mention he’s constantly bringing it up because you’re right, it completely ruins his life, and it’s such a traumatic thing for him. I don’t understand how he then goes on to love the person that did that to him?

        It definitely continues to get more into the politics and empires in Thick as Thieves, and I’m really interested to see how it all comes together!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes!!! He’s legit shudders away from her because he’s so scared and traumatised- I just didn’t understand how I was supposed to buy into it!

          But I am really curious about seeing how the politics comes together- especially cos it’s one of the best bits about the series! So that’s really good to hear! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  2. The first book sounds interesting, but the rest of them don’t sound like my cup of tea. I don’t like romances that I can’t get behind, and I usually am not fond of too much politics in my fantasy, either. (It has to be done really well for me to get behind political fantasy.) I’m glad you were able to enjoy the 4th book, but wow this sounds like a rollercoaster of a series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s completely fair! I feel like if I could rewind time, I’d just read the first one- cos I did like it a lot (and could’ve left it at that without any trouble). That’s completely understandable- it’s mostly politics and characters (and weird relationships). Yeah it’s so bonkers how up and down it’s been- and for such different reasons! I feel like in a lot of ways it doesn’t even feel like the same series.

      Like

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