Author: Megan Whalen Turner [Website]
Standing: Book four in The Queen’s Thief series.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: March 23rd, 2010 by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover; 336 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: This review contains some unavoidable spoilers for the first three books in the series (clicky for my reviews), The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia, so go read those first!
We do what we must, but we are not defined by our circumstances.Sophos, last seen by us (and by Eddis and Eugenides) at the close of The Thief, has gone off the map. Rumored to be dead in the midst of his country’s civil war, Sophos has managed to survive under the radar long enough to come into his inheritance, the throne of Sounis. With his country torn by rebellion and facing overzealous influence from both the Continent and Medes, Sophos must find a way to secure his position and his kingdom. Sophos seeks solace and friendship with another young ruler, The King of Attolia.
If Gen is the mysterious rogue we give our hearts to, Sophos is the brother we hold most dear. He’s less temperamental, less schooled in concealing his emotions, and far less sure of himself. Where Eugenides has hidden himself through deception, it has been hard to see him change throughout the series. Sure, he grew into a man, developed some most inconvenient emotions for the Queen of Attolia, and changed his rank (and two countries) immensely, but Gen remains, more-or-less, the same inkpot throwing, trouble brewing, fierce friend he always was. Sophos, on the other hand, matures in many more ways. Not only has he grown up a fair amount since the journey to find Hamiathes’s Gift, he must find it within himself to become both man and king in A Conspiracy of Kings without losing sight of who he is as a person.
Personally, I loved this book, which is the first in the series that doesn’t focus on Eugenides. Yes, The King of Attolia was told largely from the perspective of Costis, but it was still about the King of Attolia. A Conspiracy of Kings, on the other hand, stars Sophos, and gives us an opportunity to better know Eddis, see more of the kindness in Attolia, while of course incorporating Eugenides (and the gods) into the mix. It goes without saying that I love Eugenides, and his relationship with both queens, but there is something more accessible about Sophos, who is not at all times working some deception. Also, I’ll admit it, I love Eddis so much, I was very happy to have more of her. Attolia is beautiful and strong, and completely right for Gen, but Eddis is my favorite of the two queens, and I was absolutely toothy with grins at her presence in this book.
In each of these books there has been a moment for me. An exact moment I can pinpoint in which I fell head over heels for the book in my hands. This is stunning for me, as that’s not how it usually happens. Usually I’m a ‘let’s get to know each other over the course of the story and I will slowly fall for you’ kind of girl. But with The Queen’s Thief series, it’s been ‘I like you so much, you could be my best friend’, and then something clicks into place, and I know it’s not friendship, it’s love. This was most stark for me when reading The Thief, but after that, A Conspiracy of Kings follows close behind. I can tell you the exact paragraph, the exact sentence, where I knew this was more than a ‘good’ book. I don’t want to say less it ruin anything for those who haven’t read, but for those who have, I’m betting you know where I’m talking about.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by A Conspiracy of Kings. It was just the story I was hoping it would be, but I honestly hadn't expected to love it as much as I did after having adored the first three. I cannot possibly pick my favorite of these four books, as they are all so unique and different from one another despite their similarities. I suppose I'll have to suffice it to say they are similar enough to keep me coming back, but different enough to keep me wanting more.
Likelihood that I'll be back for more: Not only will I be patiently waiting for the next installment in this wonderful series, I will more likely than not be rereading it before then.
Recommended for: Again, anyone who enjoys reading...after four books I feel like a broken record.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: Only that I cannot wait to reread this series again before the next book comes out. I appreciate MWT so much for making each of her books a complete story. I know where the next books can go, but at the same time it’s nice to be happy with what we already have.