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Book Review: The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

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The King of Attolia is the third in the series of books about Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis and long-awaited sequel to The Queen of Attolia. Eugenides or Gen, now the King of Attolia after stealing away Queen Irene and marrying her, is now dealing with her court and with being a king. The court thinks he’s an idiot and a pawn of the Queen. She can’t possibly love this guy! I mean after all, she did order his hand to be cut off in a previous book.

The attendants and guards mock him and play tricks on him. Think high school and a medieval "Kick Me" sign stuck on the poor guy’s back. They think he’s a wimp and can’t do anything about it. They think that Queen Irene is all for it because she does nothing. Fact is, she has to let him make his own way, find a way to rein these guys in on his own. There’s even a running palace joke that the Queen and King don’t sleep together. Eugenides is less than a man and certainly not a king to them.

Then one day Costis, a guard in the palace, punches Gen right in the face. Beheading is the usual penalty for punching your king’s lights out, but Eugenides devises a better punishment. It is through Costis’ eyes that readers see how he and the court consistently underestimate the clever and calculating mastermind that is the King of Attolia.

There is subterfuge everywhere, plots abound, assassination attempts are prolific and though they litter the story, the real story and focus here is the complicated romance between two people in love who are dealing with the realities of marriage and monarchy.

Whalen Tunrner's skilled third person prose is tantalizing, secretive and wonderful. She keeps you guessing, wondering what Eugenides is up to, and dying for the conclusion. Her portrayal of a court full of intrigue and Machiavellian plots is just amazing.

Costis’ gradual grudging respect for Gen really gives readers insight into both Gen and Costis as well as of the seemingly frosty Irene.

The King of Attolia, recommended for grades seven and up, is a worthy addition to the sequel and I feel, the best of the three.

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  • Natalie Bennett

    This article has been selected for syndication to , which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States, and to Nice work!