Monday, February 22, 2010

Turner, Megan Whalen (The King of Attolia)

Well, blow me over. I did not think it was possible for Turner to top herself after the second book in the series, but I love being proven wrong.

Things she did oh so very right:

1) Only one meandering story of old, and it's not a real one (okay, none of this is *real*, but you'll know what I mean). Plus, it has a real anchor in the story.
2) She grows Gen. While he's still the same pouty, obnoxious, indelibly flawed Eugenides of the previous novels, she makes him politically astute and even more charming than before. Gen is a tough character to round out, and yet she once again molds him into something we have not yet seen.
3) Within 10 pages, you realize that Gen is not the central figure. Instead, it's this guy Costis, and why should we care about him? We should care because moving the narrative to a minor character affords Turner a huge degree of freedom in telling this tale. And, Costis himself? He's absolutely worth the notice.
4) While this was made obvious in the other books, it's clearer here: you must, imperatively must, read between the lines. She's not going to coddle you, and if you don't get her offhand comment on page 27, you're going to miss its impact on page 207.

Horrified I am that no public library in Ann Arbor or nearby has ordered a copy of her next book, due out March 23. I'm pretty sure I can't wait too long to learn what shenanigans our dear Eugenides manages to get himself into.

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