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The Thief (The Queen's Thief, Book 1) Paperback – December 27, 2005
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"I can steal anything."
After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task -- to steal a hidden treasure from another land.
To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.
- Format: Paperback
- Publication Date: 12/27/2005
- Pages: 304
- Reading Level: Age 10 and Up
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The first thing that motivated me to close the book was the total lack of story. I'm sure that something winds up happening, but it took far too long to happen, and there wasn't even a hint of what was coming to sustain me until the characters got to where they were going. The main character didn't know why he was being dragged on this quest, where he was going, or what was supposed to happen when he got there, and, what's more, he expressed little interest in finding out. I felt I had no reason to continue reading. If he didn't care, why should I?
What's more, the main character was, to me, completely unlikable. I didn't hate the man, but I felt no sympathy for him, which is unfortunate when a character is in a pitiable situation as he is. If I had to be specific, I would say I was put off by his constant complaining, uninteresting internal monologues, and complete lack of drive (as mentioned, he doesn't seem to care where he's going or why, and he makes no attempt to get himself out of his miserable situation in the forty-to-fifty pages I stuck with him).
So, in short, this book gave me no reason to care about the plot, and no reason to care about the main character. That is why I give this book only one star.
I caution folks to be careful of books with lots of 5 star ratings and good reviews or Amazon recommendations. I may be critical, but expect the author to provide a story that works and consistency in their fantasy.
*** SPOILER WARNING ***
Part of the reason the story is boring is because Gen comes across as a whiny brat and does little to qualify as a master thief. He earns little sympathy with what befalls him in the next book (read its description / dust jacket to find out what that is).
Turner creates a fantasy world for the reader and they will suspend belief as part of that process. The world of Thief fails to excite and I was unable to continue with that suspension. We get a mythological land that borders cultures like ancient Greece and the Medes, but ends up with a dull pantheon. Eugenidies is not a Loki or Hermes. Firearms exist, but people have no idea on how to use them. The existince of advanced technology places a demand on the reader to supsend reality, but it ended up without purpose in the story or plot structure. There are much better fanstasy worlds such as Heinlein and Anthony.
I would give this book 2 stars, but I will deduct 1 star to balance out some of the high reviews. Many of them seem to be written by students that read the book as a school assignment. The reviews have statements along the lines of I don't read becasue I only play video games and having to read a book was not as terrible as they feared it would be. That is good feedback and they give reason for their rating. Unfortunately that skews the overall rating for folks that expect a book to do more.
The Thief begins with Gen, a thief, currently living his days as a prisoner in the King's prison when he is approached by a magus - the king's scholar. The Magus wants to enlist Gen's skills as a thief to unearth an ancient treasure, which Gen eventually agrees to. Thus, they embark on a long journey in an attempt to discover said treasure.
Gen was a fun character, albeit a stubborn one. I appreciated his wit and dry humor even when other characters did not; it made Gen feel like a real person with a distinct personality. Now, I sometimes become annoyed with overly stubborn characters in books, but I actually enjoyed Gen's actions and how he didn't suddenly become some willing and obedient participant in the Magus' plan, but instead maintained his own strong-willed nature and wasn't afraid to say whatever he thought.
Turner's writing style itself is wonderfully descriptive and clearly the work of a talented writer. She somehow makes a seemingly endless journey on horseback into something more important and beautiful to read. Despite the flowing language, The Thief still requires immense amounts of patience, as the plot appears fairly event-less throughout a good chunk of the book. Details are not overlooked, and although they do add some deeper dimension to the journey, overall they seem to merely make the book denser and harder to get through.
I don't want to say much about the ending other than the fact that it truly saved this book. If the ending had not been as good as it was, I would have more than likely put this book down and not even considered continuing the series. However, the endings shows great promise for the rest of the series and makes me realize that, as an author, Turner certainly knows what she's doing.
Overall, I'm giving The Thief three stars. I really wanted to like it, and part of me did. But I also felt like nothing happened and half the time I was slogging through it. As mentioned, I've heard that The Thief is not the best compared to the other books int he series, so I made give the second book a try. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys high fantasy 'journey' books with thoughtful characters and storytelling. If you're into fast-paced books with lots of actions, well, this might not be the best choice.
Most recent customer reviews
This was one of those books I could have easily read in one sitting. Every time I picked it back up a feeling of excitement and delight came over...Read more