Genre: Young Adult

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is a fantasy novel about a thief named Gen. The story begins with Gen in the king’s prison where he has been locked up for bragging about stealing from the king. As Gen tries to figure out how he will escape, the king’s scholar, the magus, has other plans for him.

The magus believes he knows where an ancient treasure is located. Since Gen claims he can steal anything, the magus enlists him as the thief who will steal the treasure. Gen’s intentions are unclear, but he agrees to help the magus. As they travel, they tell tales of old gods and goddesses to lighten the mood of their dangerous journey.

For a fantasy novel, The Thief is a quick read. It’s surprising how much description was in this 280 page book. Even though it’s relatively short, it doesn’t lack in the fantasy department. The world is effectively built and explained to the reader. The characters are developed and fit into the world well. While the story can be slow at times, it’s mostly fast-paced with lots of events taking place.

There’s good characterization within the novel, especially Gen. He’s a character that’s hard to figure out at first. Gen is quite arrogant, but for me, he’s able to embrace his obnoxiousness enough to make him likable. It’s shocking to find out what his true intentions are. I never guessed what he actually wanted from the whole journey until it was revealed at the end. The character development is done well and made me enjoy the secondary characters more. As they travel, each person reveals more about himself, making each of them seem more real. I liked the banter between Gen and the magus because it provided some entertaining conversations. While Gen is cocky, the magus is able to counter him every time he attempts to brag.

The Thief is a fast and fun read. There are some slow moments, but the story is never hindered by these parts. The characters are well-developed and play important roles that add to the novel. The story’s climax is unexpected but rewarding. I would recommend this as a good introductory book to the fantasy genre. I’ve read that the second book, The Queen of Attolia, is even better, so I’m excited to read about more adventures in this world.

My Rating: ★★★★