The Queen of Attolia is written by Megan Whalen Turner. It was published in 2000 by Greenwillow. It is the sequel to The Thief.
Spoilers for The Thief.
When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes’s Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered…she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge. Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times. When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph—and his greatest loss—comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago…
I was surprised when I first started reading The Queen of Attolia and realized that the lovely first-person point of view that I loved so much in The Thief was gone, replaced with multiple third-person POVs. It took me quite a long time to get into the book as a result, feeling like a lot of the emotional impact and connection was gone with the distance a third-person viewpoint can give. However, towards the middle of the book, I started appreciating the change of viewpoint more and by the end all I wanted to do was grab the next book and start reading right away.
Even without being in his head, Eugenides is familiar enough to the reader (if they’ve read The Thief) to know that his cleverness is concealed and revealed later on. I guessed one of the main plot points early on, only because I jokingly guessed what it is that Gen stole that the Queen of Attolia didn’t know she still had (as per the book summary). Then as the book went on, I realized that my joke actually wasn’t one, and that I had accurately guessed what was going to happen. At first it put me off a little bit, but then I become so involved with Gen and Attolia that I become more immersed in the book than ever.
Another thing that I thought was missing from this book was the mythology. There were three or four mythical stories woven into The Thief, and this one seemed devoid of any. Most of The Queen of Attolia is very heavy in politic intrigue and war, but towards the end it delves into the mythical with the story of Hespira and Horreon, and then Gen’s encounter with the gods at the end. I’m glad that Turner kept that aspect in as it remains one of my favorite parts of this series.
I do wish that Turner’s style didn’t seem quite so ponderous and slow, especially in the middle. The beginning and the end are intriguing and keep you interested, but the middle is a bit of a trudge since it’s not easily recognizable what Turner is doing in terms of cleverness and set-up (perhaps it would be better on rereads?).
Lastly, Queen is actually quite a bit darker than The Thief, and thus probably needs a more mature reader than for The Thief.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Some small violence, war, death.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade (but a mature MG, leaning towards Young Adult)
“She was within her rights,” Eugenides said behind her.
Eddis spun around. “She was not.”
“It was a common punishment for thieves.”
“Don’t be stupid,” snapped Eddis. “They haven’t cut the hand off a thief in Attolia in a hundred years. And anyway, you’re not a common thief. You are my Thief. You’re a member of the royal family. She attacked all of Eddis through you, and you know it.”