by Megan Whalen Turner
Age Range: 8 and up
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reissue edition (December 27, 2005)
Buy the Book: Amazon
Mark on Goodreads
"I can steal anything."Ok, this is a break from the norm for me. The Thief was published in 2005, and it's classified as Middle Grade. So why did I pick it up? Well, I read this review on Book Smugglers, which piqued my interest (FYI, it's a touch spoilery, so....warning) and I looked it up on my library's website. They had the book available for download to my Kindle, INSTANTLY (this still amazes me), so I began reading it right away.
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, 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 imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
Gen is a Thief. He says he can steal anything. The problem is, he can't keep his mouth shut about it. After stealing something from the king, he's thrown in prison, where he lives a miserable existence. Until one day, the king's magus comes to him and tells him that Gen is going to steal something for the king. The story then follows the Magus, Gen, and three other questionable characters on their journey to find a treasure they're not even sure exists.
I have to admit, when I was reading, though I was enjoying it, I found The Thief a little young. Of course, I didn't know at the time it is classified as Middle Grade (not sure I agree with this, more later) so looking back it makes sense. Also, the main character, Gen, really got on my nerves. He was lazy and slow and just really, really whiny. REALLY WHINY.
So, now's the part where I don't know how much to say. If I say too much, it will ruin the book. If I say too little, you may dismiss the book like I almost did. The good thing is, even though it does have a younger feel, and even though Gen is often annoying, the book is just really easy to read. It's only 200 pages (my ebook was), and the storyline is really interesting, and there's this hint. Just the smallest, subtlest hint, that there's something more to this story than meets the eye. There was one brief line toward the beginning of the book that made me think, huh....something is amuck.....and I had to know if I was right. And I was. But I was also so wrong.
By the end of The Thief, I was just nodding and shaking my head, and smiling, and thinking....wow, this author is kind of awesome. When I finished the book, which was a few hours after I started it, I got back on the library's website and downloaded book 2. And I will take this opportunity to say that IT JUST GETS BETTER. I absolutely fell in love with this series, and with Gen in books 2 & 3, and I can honestly say that these are some of the most well-crafted, and tricksterish books I've ever read. And they are SO NOT Middle Grade. I mean book 1 can get away with it, Gen is young and immature, and the storyline is pretty straight forward, but the next books in the series are pretty complex. Not in a boring way, at all, but in a nothing is ever quite what it seems, plot twisty kind of way.
This series is fun, exciting, intense, jaw-dropping, maddening, amazing. Every book in the series gets better than the one before (as does the romance), and every book sends your brain whirling in some new brilliant way, and I can't recommend it enough!