Audiobook Review: RETURN OF THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner

Return of the Thief (The Queen's Thief, #6)Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a satisfying conclusion to the The Queen’s Thief series. The audiobook narrator Steve West is such a pro, delivering an emotional and lyrical performance that enhanced the author’s writing style. Both the narrator and the author’s narrative produced a rich, compelling, and totally immersive world inhabited by unforgettable characters, whose life stories were influenced and perhaps manipulated by a larger than life character and his gods.

This novel didn’t disappoint. In the previous books, following the King of Attolia, I wanted more of Eugenides. Though Return of the Thief was narrated by a seemingly minor character, the mute and disabled heir to the traitor Baron Erondites, Pheris became an attendant to and found favor with the king. In fact, he was essential to Eugenides’s destiny. Pheris became the witness to Eugenides’s trials and victories, as well as his joys and heartaches.

This novels portrays all the best and worst sides of the king and thief. All the things that make him legendary. His exploits and clever mind, his audacious and reckless machinations that somehow work out in the end, and all the struggles and pain that he fights through. His mischievousness that made him even more lovable. Throughout the novel I worried about whether he would live or die because there were so many close calls. I worried about his health and his wife’s health. And my heart broke every time their dreams were shattered.

But I knew their story could only get better, that the arc of their story would pay off. It started in a bad place, in a dark place, and the plot twists along the way I could never have predicted, and sometimes it felt as if the odds were insurmountable. Every decision had consequences, sometimes brutal and terrifying and painful. I grieved along with Pheris, the witness and storyteller. Sometimes, the consequences were awe-inspiring, such as when humility and kindness were rewarded.

And in the end, when I thought there weren’t any surprises left, the author gifted us with one last story, providing yet another insight into Eugenides’s character. That the most important thing in his life was his Queen, that perhaps this really was a love story, about a man that loved a woman, stole, fought and won wars for her and to keep her and all those he loved safe.

In the end, the novel showed how Eugenides became a wise man and a wiser king. But he couldn’t have gotten there without the strong women in his life reminding him that he actually wasn’t everything and couldn’t be everything, that he couldn’t actually dictate their lives, that he had to do better, that he couldn’t betray the gods whose good favor he prayed for. Eugenides believed in his gods, and he was justly rewarded.

This book was just so good, it made me want to read the series all over again, or experience the previous stories in audiobook as well. Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series is a commendable achievement. She is a brilliant writer, and Eugenides is a truly wonderful character, whom I’ll never forget and forever love.

*I received an audiobook review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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