Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Thief - a review (kind of)

224 pages - Megan Whalen Turner - The Thief

Full Disclosure: I purchased and read this on my Kindle.

Recommended by Elizabeth Fama.

There's something about Magen Whalen's Turner's The Thief that strikes me as odd: its main character (Gen) is an amalgam of Bruce Cambpell's Ash (but without the chainsaw arm) and The Next Generation's Q (but without the omnipotence).

Then there's the setting. It's somewhere between Lord of the Rings serious and Discworld silly. It's hard to figure out exactly how to describe it. It's like LoTR and Discworld hooked up and birthed an entirely new land (think of it as Gondor and Anhk-Morpork having a bastard child after a brief stint of dating).

Just like LoTR there's a long journey to a faraway land. Just like Discworld there's a hero with a smart mouth. We also have a few supporting characters who are far more interesting then they should be for such a slim novel. I chalk it up to Turner's writing for creating minor characters that have stuck in my head far longer then they should have (the last time this happened to me it was The Princess Bride).

There's also a mythology that goes with this book. Verbal stories told by both the Magus* (think of him as the king's Number Two) and Gen about the old Gods (which are woven into the story). The dialogue between the two characters is snippy but also the best part of the book.

The Thief is mostly setup without being setup. It's a great standalone but isn't a standalone. I could never read the next one in the series and be pleased with it.** That's easily done for any book, I think, but Turner's world of clashing swords and trickster Gods is engaging and worth exploring. 

*I demand Ian McKellen play him in the movie version.
**ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION OTHER WRITERS?

23 comments:

  1. **Seriously, why isn't this a movie yet? Or--given that there will soon be five books--an HBO GAME-OF-THRONES-style series? Has anyone even bought the rights? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PRODUCERS?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really should be. But only if Gandalf is in it.

      Delete
  2. I agree with Elizabeth, The Thief should totally be movie or a TV series.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could see this as a TV miniseries. I would like Robert Carlyle (from Stargate Universe and Once Upon a Time) to play the Magus, though.

      Delete
  3. I haven't read this. But if it is a Newbery, which it is, I probably will. Can you please find me and tell me if Gen is a girl or a boy? I'm stressed about this cause I can't figure it out.

    I do like the way you write, sir, with your setting and mythology and supporting cast and all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I could never read the next one in the series and be pleased with it. -> But you ARE planning to read it, right? I remember MWT said before that she doesn't want to leave readers hanging because it takes a while for her to finish writing a book (although she did promise she'd write faster). So glad you loved Gen. :)

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