Friday, July 5, 2013

Fantasy Friday: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Just the facts:

Overall: 2 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: It was believable.


            The Thief is the story about a legendary treasure that allows the receiver to rule over the country and live an unnaturally long life. In the story, the King of Sounis allows his Magus to go on a quest to recover the gift which will then allow him to begin taking over the adjoining countries of Eddis and Attolia. Unfortunately, the treasure is in a location where only a masterful thief can retrieve it. The Magus enlists the help of such a thief, by the name of Gen, from the King’s prison and they set off on their journey with two of the Magus’s apprentices and a bodyguard.

            Before I go on, there are a couple of boxes that I like my fantasy novel to check.

-          First, there must be action and adventure. Fantasy novels should have their fill of swordplay, bows, bruises, and the like. Give me some fight scenes, maybe a surprise attack even.
-          Second, like all books, there should be characters that I can really believe in. They may not be “good” or likeable, but I should feel a connection to them and really know who they are.

Here’s the catch. The Thief didn’t really hold any of that. The story line almost entirely follows the quest that the characters make to retrieve the gift. I get that, many fantasy novels have lengthy traveling involved. They are usually walking or traveling on horseback across a country. And that takes a while. However, in this story, they are just traveling and telling stories around the campfire. No action. No adventure. No suspense. Eat, sleep, travel. Yawn.

So, you might think, that the traveling would be the part of the story where there is a lot of character building. Our companions are spending every waking moment together, so surely we should be learning about them in an intimate manner versus a very superficial manner. Not so. Everything that we learn is so obvious that the characters might as well be puppets or stick figures. No meat and bones. I never developed feelings for any of the characters and by the time I reached what many people call the “surprise” ending, I wasn’t surprised. (It doesn’t take much to figure out that the narrator isn’t telling you everything.) I could really care less.

Now, I’ve seen reviews that say that the story really picks up in the following books and maybe it does, but for once, I don’t think I’ll finish a series. I should at least feel invested by the end of one book and I’m simply not.

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