he Queen of Attolia, I probably wouldn’t have. Because while I quite enjoyed the first book in this series, the second book didn’t live up to the hype by a long shot, and I was expecting this one to be even worse. One of my main problems with The Queen was how removed the reader is from the main characters, so when I found out that The King of Attolia is actually focused on the perspective of a new, somewhat peripheral character, I was less than enthusiastic to read it. I didn’t want to go through another book where I was even more cut off from the central characters and the heart of the story.
Luckily for me, I did already own this book, because I read it and I loved it. Having Costis, a secondary character for all intents and purposes, filter events through his interpretation and limited knowledge actually makes the removed nature of the narrative seen in the previous book work really effectively here. He’s close enough that you get a lot of Gen and even a decent amount of Attolia, but removed enough from the main plot that there are plenty of twists and the fact that there are twists is plausible. Whereas in The Queen (and even The Thief, to an extent) I found it difficult to stomach not having known important facets of the main character’s feelings and personality for the bulk of the story, it was much more palatable in The King to know as much as Costis, and learn information as he did. The reader is still very much a bystander, as in the previous books in the series, but here you are also immersed in the narrative via Costis.
I really liked Costis and his budding bromance with Gen. I was frustrated with Gen at first, but I should have known better. There's always more to him than meets the eye, the clever devil. He's such a brilliant character and definietly a highlight of this series. I also really like Irene as a character - she's so complex and interesting, and her relationship with Gen is fascinating and lovely. I wish there were more scenes between the two of them - we only really see what Costis sees - but what is there is amazing and powerful. It was worth reading this series for this book alone.
Published: Greenwillow Books, 2006
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