Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Release Date: October 1, 1996
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis: 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.
Have you ever read a book that you just don’t know how you really feel about when you finish it? Welcome to my problem with reviewing the The Thief. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it just felt…less than I expected somehow. I guess I’m going to start with the good and work my way down.
I loved the ending! Like, hot damn, those were some plot twists. In a book that honestly had me kinda bored most of the way through, the ending saved this one for me. Of all the revelations, I only guessed 1.5 of them. I felt the author was pretty good at keeping us in the dark. Though, as my reading buddy and I learned, if you have a copy of this book with the character index in the back DON’T READ IT! It contains spoilers for this book and the rest in the series.
The writing was very straight forward. No flowery prose here. Even so, the world building was pretty decent and the story flowed. I loved the interludes where we get stories of the gods. My problem fell in the fact that there was horrifically little dialogue. And one thing I hate even more than a lack of dialogue is when the dialogue is described in a paragraph. JUST BREAK IT OUT INTO DIALOGUE DAMNIT! Reading paragraph after paragraph of description and exposition starts to feel like reading an essay and I certainly don’t like doing that.
My other problem was the very slow progress to what I’d consider the action of the book. The first half of the book, literally down to the page, is spent journeying. That’s 140 pages of walking about and getting to know each other (again, with very little dialogue). And while I mostly enjoyed getting to know the characters, I got kinda of bored with it after a while. What drove me on was the knowledge that something good would happen, because many of my friends have said they love this book so I knew action had to be on the horizon.
Going back and reading this review, it sounds like I don’t like the book. But that’s not really the case. I felt like this was just part one of a larger story and I am very intrigued by this larger story. I’m hoping that maybe as the story goes on we get some good female characters because The Thief was sorely lacking in that. I got just a hint of what seems like a good set up of political/court intrigue and I do love me some good intrigue. I guess what I’m trying to say is I will definitely be continuing with this series because I see the path of where it is going and I want to take that journey. Assuming I get some damn dialogue.