The Thief (Attolia) by Megan Whalen Turner is on sale in ebook format TODAY ONLY for $1.99. It's usually in the $6 range. This book--which starts a series--is not fairy tale based although Whalen definitely draws inspiration from various mythologies.
However, this series is one of those that--for me--ruins you for other books until time passes and you forget a little just how special it was to you. It provides an intense literary high. Not everyone has that reaction, but I know many who have said similar, a larger majority than usual, especially for a lesser known non-blockbuster book made into a box office breaking movie adaptation. Not that this book is obscure--it received a Newbery Honor Medal. And I do not want it made into a movie. Never, please.
Anyway, I adore it and had to share. I first read the series seven years ago--I came to it late--when I returned from my first trip to Europe, very jet lagged, life lagged, and headed directly into the holidays. I remember reading it far into the night when I couldn't sleep and was trying to process the previous three weeks of adventures in foreign lands.
Whalen is a master storyteller and wordsmith. You'd enjoy her stories even if they weren't so exquisitely written. But her prose is lovely all in itself, too. Combined it's the work of a master.
Nothing is overdone and not a word is out of place in this auspicious debut," wrote Kirkus in a starred review of Instead of Three Wishes, the first book by Megan Whalen Turner. Her second book more than fulfills that promise.
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 theif'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.
Megan Whalen Turner weaves Gen's stories and Gen's story together with style and verve in a novel that is filled with intrigue, adventure, and surprise.
These books, especially the rest in the series, are really better suited to older readers than the middle school implied. Overall, the content is safe enough but the nuances are best appreciated by older readers. A shocking event in the second book is a little rough, but not too much for the average preteen today. The third, The King of Attolia, is my favorite for this reason and because it builds so well on the previous titles. In other words, these books are ageless.