[personal profile] rj_anderson
Today has been a brilliant day, I have to tell you. Being Canadian, I had my Thanksgiving over a month ago, but it might as well have been a holiday around here considering how much goodness has come my way in the last twelve hours.

First, I spent a lovely few hours at the house of a dear RL friend. Then I came home to find that my mother had been baking Saffron Cake in preparation for Christmas, and had left a warm golden loaf of it sitting on my counter. *inhales sentimentally* Ahh.

I was just making tea and preparing to sit down with a slice of saffrony goodness when the doorbell rang and there was the DHL lady with a package from HarperCollins, containing -- oh glory -- the ARC of A Conspiracy of Kings, the latest book by one of my very favorite authors, Megan Whalen Turner.

What can I say about Ms. Turner's Thief series that has not been said already, and better, by more seasoned reviewers than myself? Check out the glowing endorsements from Bookshelves of Doom, A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, and Angieville, among others (but ware spoilers on those last two links). These books are, quite simply, superb.

I am happy to say that A Conspiracy of Kings, the latest in the series, absolutely lives up to the promise of the earlier books. I felt confident that it would be a good story, but it even exceeded my wildest expectations of just how good it would be.

No worries, I am not going to spoil this book in my review. I would sooner cut off my hand* than spoil it for anyone. I will tell you no more about its basic premise than you can find in the HarperCollins catalog:
Sophos, heir to Sounis, doesn’t look like much of a prince. At least, according to those in power. At least, to those who do not know him or the size of his heart and the depth of his courage, loyalty, and love. But Helen, Queen of Eddis, knows him, and so does Gen, the queen’s Thief, who is now King of Attolia. Gen and the queen believe that Sophos is dead. But they also believe in hope, especially since a body was never found. So when Sophos is discovered in Attolia, the obvious question becomes: where has he been all this time?
I will say, however, that this summary is slightly misleading. There's so much more to the book than just the question of What Has Sophos Been Up To, gloriously so. There's the usual rich background, diverse cast of characters, byzantine political machinations (but they never get boring, and from someone as infamously apolitical as myself, that's saying something), flashes of wry humor, and unexpected wrenches at the heart. It's subtle and clever and outrageous and surprising and touching and thought-provoking, and all the things I've come to expect from Ms. Turner's writing -- plus some.

And it made me love Sophos -- who never really made it onto my radar in The Thief, being so eclipsed in that book by the irrepressible Gen -- more than I ever imagined possible.

I can't wait until April when everybody else can read this book, so I can discuss it with people like the good folk on [livejournal.com profile] sounis, whom I can confidently say are going to love A Conspiracy of Kings as much as I do -- or more. I don't want to overhype it (oh yeah, like I haven't already) to people who haven't read the series, because I am sure there will be readers out there (as with any book however brilliant) who don't connect to the story and the characters the way that I do. But I do feel confident in saying that if you have read the earlier books and are already a fan, A Conspiracy of Kings will definitely not let you down.

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner will be released on March 23, 2010.**

--
* Sorry. That was bad, I know.
** ON MY BIRTHDAY EVEN. HOW AWESOME IS THAT.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2009-11-27 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
Oh, it so lives up to King. In fact, I'm honestly hard pressed to say which of the two books is better. I may have to read them both again to decide...

Who am I kidding? I don't even want to have to decide. I just want to cling to them both and read them again... and again... and again...

*needs a new icon that says "Sophos > Your Fictional Boyfriend" now*

Date: 2009-11-27 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] checkers65477.livejournal.com
Ok, I'm considering breaking into HarperCollins's offices in the dead of the night to steal a copy of this book. But the anticipation is wonderful, also, I really don't want that to be over.

Cannot cannot CANNOT wait for this. I'm so glad to hear that it lived up to your expectations. Thanks for reviewing it without giving anything away.

Date: 2009-11-27 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] megancrewe.livejournal.com
Eeee, I am so envious, I cannot wait to read this!

Date: 2009-11-27 04:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I can hardly wait. If there is one author I adore, it is Megan Whalen Turner. If there was one writer's abilities I could steal ...

:-)

Date: 2009-11-27 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] olmue.livejournal.com
So. Not. Fair.

That's all I have to say.

Date: 2009-11-27 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capnflynn.livejournal.com
Gah, so jealous! April needs to be here *now*!

Date: 2009-11-27 08:41 am (UTC)
ext_7845: (rt ...experienced)
From: [identity profile] yunitsa.livejournal.com
Eee! You cannot conceive of the depths of my envy right now.

Date: 2009-11-27 09:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-schrapnell.livejournal.com
SO pleased to hear you think it's this wonderful that it's overwhelmed the potential envy at your getting the ARC! *Must not covet my f-neighbour's ARC*

Date: 2009-11-27 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pigrescuer.livejournal.com
But of course, the question that really needs answering is this:

Are there any dragons?

Date: 2009-11-27 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
At the risk of spoilers, I can tell you with authority that there are NO DRAGONS in this book.

Or vampires.

Or angels.

Or zombies.

Or even dancing bears.

Date: 2009-11-27 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahtales.livejournal.com
I expire piteously from longing and covetousness, but am so happy it is brilliant! Not that I expected any less, but King is a HARD ACT TO FOLLOW I WOULD IMAGINE.

Date: 2009-11-27 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
ONE WOULD THINK IT WOULD BE, YES.

Seriously, I don't know how she does it.

Date: 2009-11-27 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mary-j-59.livejournal.com
What I really want to know is - how did you get a copy, and how much longer must us lowly mortals wait? (I know - it's coming out in the spring of 2010 here in the U.S., but my sister has been waiting with bated breath for a review copy.) But I'm certainly happy (and not at all surprised) that you loved it.

Mary, who has loved Sophos since reading The Thief, and worried about him since The Queeen of Attolia.

Date: 2009-11-27 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
Well, I got the ARC by requesting it from my editor at HarperCollins (Greenwillow being an imprint of Harper, so I can get any of their books I like), so I'm sure they'll be sending out review copies to bloggers and whatnot fairly soon...

Date: 2009-11-27 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mary-j-59.livejournal.com
She's a librarian (well, you knew that!) and we do get galleys for review. She's been begging the head of YA outreach to send her this one as soon as it becomes available, but no luck so far.

So, yeah, I'm a bit jealous, and I'm sure Deirdre will be, too. But if they send copies out to random bloggers before they send them to library systems, then we'll get really upset! Really!

Date: 2009-11-27 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tearoha.livejournal.com
Thank you heaps for posting such a nice non-spoilery review, RJ! The rest of us Sounisians can live vicariously through reading about other people spending the day with CofK. I'm so glad to hear both that Sophos does make the transition into an engaging main character (not that I doubted MWT could do it) and that there are definitely other important plot threads. Especially the politics - bring on the court twistedness!

Hurry up April!

Date: 2009-11-28 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosaleeluann.livejournal.com
RJ, you just MADE MY DAY WEEK MONTH. After reading your review I became so squeeful that I ran and skipped and jumped around and hugged and kissed and twirled my sister, who was rather amused at my antics.

Date: 2009-11-28 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
I am delighted to have brought squee into your life!

I may have danced a little myself, when the DHL lady showed up at the door. It involved some hopping and clutching the package to my heart.

Date: 2009-11-28 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tiegirl.livejournal.com
o_O! How does she do it???!!! I wants it now!

(Thank you for the nice review. Just enough info to bring joy and happiness into our squeeing little hearts!)

Date: 2009-11-29 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tessagratton.livejournal.com
* Sorry. That was bad, I know.

Oh, but it made me laugh SO HARD. :D

I have glee. It's jealous glee, but still glee.

Date: 2009-11-30 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elvenjaneite.livejournal.com
Oh, phew. I've been really worried, so it's good to hear someone's opinion. Now I can go back to counting down the days obsessively.

Date: 2009-12-01 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyjoust.livejournal.com
Found your review by way of bouncing about from link to link. I appreciate the lack of spoilers even as I heave an enormous sigh of relief that this book is promising to be all I hope it to be.

Not that I should doubt. Megan Whalen Turner has yet to disappoint.

In any event, thank you, and Happy (veryvery early) Birthday!

Date: 2009-12-01 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed the review!

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