A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

46354975Lynn: The publication of a new book in the Thief of Attolia series is exciting news and the latest, A Conspiracy of Kings (Harper/Greenwillow, 2010) will publish in April. We were very lucky and received arcs in December and of course we sat down and read them instantly. We normally don’t like to blog new books until very close to the release date but we can’t stand to wait any longer – and April isn’t THAT far away.

Anxious fans won’t be disappointed and readers will find they can slide smoothly back into Turner’s exquisitely imagined world. This story focuses on Sophos, whom we first met in The Thief. Dubbed “Useless the Younger” by Eugenides, Sophos, a scholar at heart, was supremely uninterested in power, preferring to study poetry. Heir to the throne of Sounis, Sophos remained hopeful that his uncle would marry, produce a son and spare him the rigors of kingship. Then Sophos is kidnapped and sold into slavery and enemies threaten the kingdom. Sophos must step up to his responsibilities and find a way to save his country and the people he loves. Filled with intrigue and witty humor, there is also an abundance of heart-stopping action and a lovely lacing of romance. Readers familiar with Turner’s books will be on the lookout for her trademark twists and turns but this beautifully plotted book is full of unexpected surprises even for the cagiest reader. Eugenides’ hand is discernible stirring the pot in the background and the resulting concoction is richly satisfying.

Cindy: Well, I thought Lynn and I were big fans of this series (and we are), but we have yet to construct Lego companion stories, or a livejournal for fanantics (I mean fans) where you can read fanfiction and view fanart and get all the Sounis/Eddis/Attolia news. We have read the delightful HipWriterMama interview with Megan Whalen Turner and were thrilled with the news that she expects to write two more books in this stellar series.

Since I reviewed The Conspiracy of Kings for Booklist, you can read my starred review through the title link in Lynn’s post. I’ll use my space to praise HarperCollins/Greenwillow for one of the best cover re-issues in all of children’s/YA literature. Take a look, folks, at the original cover of The Thief and it’s reissue:

thief thief-reissue
Cover changes have rarely improved circulation as much as this one has. I’ve not changed my booktalk at all, but the circ has increased dramatically with the new covers. And the best part? The new fans are hand-selling the books to their friends so that even though I have a lot of copies, they are rarely on the shelf for me to promote. I have them in my middle school, but they should be required for every high school collection. Recommend these to your Percy Jackson fans who are ready for more complex plotting and deeper themes. Eugenides and his colleagues will steal their hearts.

Writing blogs is hard work. So now, as Megan says repeatedly in the interview linked above, “I need to go lie down.”

UPDATE: Since Noa brought up the cover art of Queen of Attolia, I’m adding it here so everyone can view the original and new covers. Another wise move by Greenwillow.

queen-originalqueen-revised

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

6 Comments on "A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner"

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  1. Every time I see her new book reviewed, I get really excited and want to read it NOW! But, I’d really like to reread the first three before it comes out, so maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have an ARC. And wow – so glad they redid the covers. That first one is dreadful!

  2. Melissa, our ARCs said April but some online sites now list the pub date as March 23rd, so get busy with your rereading–you don’t have much time. If anything, it would be good to reread THE THIEF since this new book focuses primarily on Sophos, who we don’t see in books 2 & 3. Like KING OF ATTOLIA I think this book can stand alone and has a complete story arc of its own, and will send new readers back to the beginning of the series. Fans will have a richer experience than those starting fresh here, but this book can stand alone as a fabulous adventure.–Cindy

  3. noa.wheeler@hholt.com' Noa says:

    haha: HAND-selling! …oh dear. (speaking of which, the original cover for QUEEN was even worse.)

  4. Noa, you’re right. QUEEN OF ATTOLIA needed a face lift, too. I added the covers to the original post.–Cindy

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