Review: The Queen of Attolia
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Everyone does it. You made me do it. Where "it" is painful. Permanent. Like piercing - ears, eyebrow, navel (the bellybutton skin never healed, the eye-ring drew uncomfortable attention, the ear-lobes still itch red), tattoos (people ASK for needles? shiverrrr), cosmetic surgery (not to MY soft skin), physical abuse (a bully who can be provoked by a weakling is not strong), chop hands off thief, kill murderer. Decoration adds to beauty, attaining a cultural ideal is worth any suffering, crime deserves appropriate punishment & deterrent. Where and how do you draw the line? This is the kind of book that lingers, rubs you raw long after closing.
I do not like this book, it hurts. So what draws a reader on? I also may reconsider #1 & 2 together because unlikable boy Gen becomes so different. Caused by dramatic trauma?
"The Queen of Attolia" (Thief 2) is a superbly beautiful cold harsh fierce defender of her kingdom against even the Eddis Queen's Thief who leaves matching ruby earrings beside her valuable necklace. Megan Turner shocks me to the core with such deep pain within the first 33 pages, worst supposedly for love by the end. I am uneasy with the Young rating. (Countries have child soldiers; existence doesn't guarantee rightness.) Tedious segues into the political intrigue of balancing three kingdoms (2 queendoms?) and omitting explicit vocabulary does not protect an innocent reader. Blood is a smear on a forehead; a kiss is a brush of lips. Deep physical and emotional cuts hide behind a sword-blade stroke (p33) and impassive faces. But screams loud and long echo from the deepest dungeon into nightmares, for characters and readers.
Cameo of Sounis' magus, royal advisor, does show how Gen has grown since Book 1. A tale of a goddess who interferes with mortal marriage doesn't seem to connect with the whole, except to escalate our diety-crossed couple to unreality. Youngsters grow up to marry. Could this be YA to prepare naive children for the vissicitudes of adult life? Gods as unreasonable fate?
The deep forest green dress illustrated on the front cover makes sense on p33. The silvery curved part on same color velvet pipe-shape that she holds stayed a mystery to me until p75. There I caught on to what the object was. Why it matched her dress finally was clear at the END of the whole book.
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