by Megan Whalen Turner
Pages: 280, paperback
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date Published: December 2005 (first published in 1996)
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.
"I can steal anything," so says Gen, the best thief in the land, yet he can't steal himself from prison. When the magus decides to free Gen on the condition of finding a rare, ancient artefact, Gen has no no other choice than to comply.
I think the world building is on point. It is so rich, and the fables of the gods and goddesses feel real and magical. I want to immerse myself into the world, stay there forever. Which is awesome that there are several more books in the series.
This is the kind of book where nothing happens for the first hundred pages, except for the party traveling from point A to point B, much like in Lord of the Rings. If you don't mind that sort of thing, then this book is for you; if not, you'll have to slog through the walking and talking and even more walking parts.
I found the second half of the book to be lacking. I wasn't interested in the adventurous path of the party, I was more interested in the journey. There was just something about Gen being by himself, without the constant companionship of his travel buddies, that was just lonely and monotonous. By himself, Gen was a flat character who boasted to be able to steal things, but we don't actually see it, we're merely told it.
I just couldn't find myself liking it as much as everyone else did, which is a shame, because I'd been looking forward to this for a long while.