The Thief - Megan Whalen Turner "A little danger adds spice to life"

Gen is roused from his prison cell, where he was locked up after stealing the king's ring, to meet the magus. The magus gives him an offer: find something the king wants and be free or die. Gen reluctantly agrees, and with Ambiades, Sophos, and Pol, the team strikes out to hunt for Hamiathes' Gift.

If I could only use one word to describe this book, it would probably be "supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus". This book is absolutely amazing! The characters are great and interesting, the story is fun and exciting, and you never are quite sure what is going to happen next.

Our protagonist is Eugenides or "Gen". He is lazy, smarmy smart-aleck who is drug along on this trip because, well, he's a prisoner and has really no choice. I know I've harshly critiqued some boys (Jacob from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Cas from Anna Dressed in Blood) for being smart @sses and rude, but for some reason, I thought it worked for Gen. I absolutely adored him. He was a gut-wrenchingly funny, lazy ne'er do well but was also highly capable in his own areas (thievery, for instance). I also thought it very cool how he was not Caucasian (at least, that was my interpretation--I pictured him as somewhat Middle Eastern). Kinda nice to see non-white protagonists.

The Magus, Sophos, Ambiades, and Pol were great. I really grew to like them all in their own way. The Magus was smart and capable, very much the stereotypical mentor (even with smacking the boys on the head when they talk back!), but I thought it was done well and not too over the top. Sophos was such a sweet lad, so innocent and wide-eyed. Although Ambiades was quite an a-hole at times, I really liked him and felt sorry for his poor position in life. And Pol was epic. This guy was so awesome, the book barely held together when he was in a scene.

If there was any complaint I had with characters, it would be the lack of females. Other than the queens and goddesses who appear briefly in the last quarter or so of the book, the book is very testosterone heavy. Now, kudos to Turner for writing that way and not making the boys sound too feminine, but having some girl power in this book would be nice (we get a hint with the Queen of Eddis, but, again, she appears for only like 20 pages).

The setting was great! Turner really developed her world well, and I could definitely feel the Greek vibe she mentions in the article in the back of my book. And yet, at no point did it feel too Greek, too "real world". From the land of Sounis to Eddis, from the masterful stories of the gods and goddesses (which was TOTALLY AWESOME!! I haven't read fictional myths this good probably ever!) to the tastes and smells of day to day living (I love how swords, crosssbows, and guns are all featured alongside each other!), this is a world that feels similar and yet different from our world.

And then the story! WOW! I loved it! I am a big journey/adventure junkie, and this book was just what I needed to read. It moves at a fairly brisk pace, but doesn't hesitate to fill you in on the characters, to make you bond to them and become invested in their story. I was shocked at the ending and totally didn't see that coming. Though I will say...Turner does tend to not tell you something that happened so when the big reveal comes, you are shocked. I can understand why this was done--for the surprise--but it did feel like a cheap thrill at times.

The only other "complaint" I may have is: why was this shelved with the middle school books? This book has quite a bit of swearing in it, some violence, and thievery; not sure if that would be good middle school material. Young adults? Definitely. Adults? Oh, yeah (who cares if we're supposed to be reading sophisticated literature junk? I'd rather read a bajillion of these kinds of books any day to some high art, barely understandable "adult" lit book).

I absolutely adored this book. It has won a place in my All Time Favs library (up there with The Magician's Nephew) and would get a bajillion stars if I could. I definitely plan on checking out the sequels and can't recommend this book enough. If you want an enjoyable, fun, adventurous read, look no further!