09 October, 2010

Book Review: The Thief

Title: The Thief
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Adventure/YA/Fantasy
Page Count: 219
Rating: 3.2 out of 5
Cover Rating: 2 out of 5. It's okay . . . but it's still rather bleh. I like THIS cover better, but still, there's too much of his hands and not much of a background.

Inside flap: 

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his kind, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

My expectations: Now, I've heard quite a bit about this book. One thing a lot of people seem to mention is THE END. As in, THE END SAVES THE BOOK. Personally, if the end is so fantastic and the beginning is dull, I'm betting the end will be rather dull despite everything.

Also, I don't terribly enjoy stories from the religions in the book. If it's really relevant to the plot then I have no issues, but this was just storytelling. In fact, when I read the inside flap synopsis, I almost didn't take it out because it sounded so uninteresting to me. "Difficult and dangerous" is on everyone's list, folks.

It was slightly better than I had anticipated.

About the book: I'm going to tackle the end first, because that seems to be the thing people are focusing on. 

It was not unexpected. Sorry, but it wasn't. It wasn't totally guessable, but as soon as the fight by the river happened and the magus managed to _____ what they were looking for, I had a hunch of what was going to play out.

The writing quality is okay. There's something about the way Megan Whalen Turner writes that just isn't my favorite--although it's not bad at all--and I didn't find myself enthralled by the way she uses the language. It's not really my thing. Also, I found that most of it came out in shades of gray for me. I could picture the world she created--but it didn't pop out at me and yell for attention.

  • Plot:

The beginning was so-so. He's trapped in the king's prison; that's a good beginning. He travels with the magus, nothing much happens, they tell some folktales, they don't get into any really serious danger--that just didn't hold for me, and since the ending is practically there if you squint hard enough (or read enough books).

  • Characters:

Gen. You know, I really don't think he deserved that Number One YA Fantasy Character or whatever it was called. He's all right--I like his attitude--but (and this was another thing that alerted me there was something up with the plot) he was much too demure through the trip. And another thing I noticed--Gen here was free to argue and complain (nonviolently) most of the time without much retribution. I get that they needed him . . . but it seems like his treatment was too soft.

The magus was a jerk. Normally, that would be good, but I just think the magus could have been a little more 3D. He was flat to me.

Sophos seemed naive. He may be the--oh, I shouldn't tell you. Anyway, he's naive despite it all and if you've been around my review a while you'll know that even slightly-naive characters (unless they're really young) don't jive with me in the least.

Ambiades was the stereotypical older-jealous-bratty boy who picks on Gen.

In fact, the more I look at it the more these characters seem stereotyped.

  • Setting/Elements:

I wish she'd explained the politics a bit more! I was occasionally lost with Attolia and Sounis and wherever; the history seemed a little mangled to me and she didn't bother to explain in detail. Drat it, I probably would have liked the book better had I understood it more fully.

Other: Mild language. D-word, and also some violence. Nothing serious.

I don't see exactly why this book won the Newbery Honor.

Do I recommend this book? Eh, a bit. It's worth finding out what happens and what people are talking about. I might or might not take out the next book if I saw it in the library.

Have you ever read this book? Do you agree with this "so-so" review? Did you enjoy/ho-hum The Thief?

-----The Golden Eagle


Misha1989 said...

Thanks for the honest and detailed review! Almost every review I read said the book was great! I still was doubtful and didn't read it. Your review confirms my suspicions

The Words Crafter said...

You know, I just completely love the way you're straightforward with your reviews! You make me smile :)

Thanks for the head's up!

Sun Singer said...

I like reading your thorough reviews. In this case, I must admit I had never heard of the book, but that if I had, I would have skipped it as a teen book by the look of the cover alone. A Y/A has to be really good to tempt me to read it.


Clarissa Draper said...

I have never heard of the book but I don't want to waste my money on a book that's just meh!


The Golden Eagle said...

Misha1989: I've seen a lot of positive review as well; I'm disappointed I couldn't say anything like "This was AWESOME!" but I wasn't going to lie or anything.

The Words Crafter: I'm usually straightforward with my ideas--sometimes a little too much to, but I'm glad you like my review style.

You're welcome!

Malcolm: I read YA all the time, but the cover is rather bland; I nearly skipped it. I hope you find a good piece of writing to read besides this one! :)

Clarissa: I don't either--I take almost everything I read out of the library, which is a sort of insurance should I find something non-stupendous.

Caroline said...

Well. You know I love this book. SO....*grins*

I know this is your blog and your book review, but I would encourage your readers to get it out and read it for themselves, just to see what they think. Oh, and the cover is terrible. Don't judge a book by its cover.:)

I really was hoping you'd like it, but everyone's different:D. Great review anyways!

The Golden Eagle said...

Feel free to voice your opinions. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I wish I could have, but it just wasn't the book for me.