I wrote the following before Return of the Thief came out. Now, I have read the story and am adding a bit more to the bottom. These books are unique and beautiful. I cannot recommend them enough.
I wanted to get this out before Return of the Thief came out. My history with these stories has evolved over my life and I’m feeling rather nostalgic about them all right now. In a way it feels like I’m running out of time to appreciate them, because there is a finality in the story being finished. Like a vacation I know I’ll never take again.
Well, I didn’t mean to start out so dreary.
I am an only child with a working mother. After school I would usually walk to the library on my way home and pick out a book and read it, until the library closed at five and then I’d walk home. It’s also worth mentioning I grew up in a small town and my mother was the youngest of eight, so many of the people knew my last name if they didn’t know me. Like Gen, I had a million cousins.
Mind you, this was in the middle of the 00’s and Young Adult didn’t even exist as a section at that point. I had read every Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley adjacent thing I could get ahold of. (But not Harry Potter. My mother refused for me to read them as a kid. Which is almost a favor looking back, but then it was very annoying.)
The children’s librarian gave me a copy of The Thief and promised me I would like it. I did. I loved it. I still love it. Every re-read my mind gets absolutely blown by the story. I buy up copies of it when I find them at thrift stores and give them away whenever I come across someone who hasn’t read it before. Once, when I was checking out at Half-Price Books the worker said that that one was on their list and so I bought it and then gave it to the worker right there. I hope they liked it.
Spoiler talk starts here. I’m going to indulge myself with some reminiscing.
If these are books you haven’t read, I IMPLORE you to please stop here at my recommendation and not return until you have read them. Trust me. If there is a good example of, “You can only read a book for the first time once.” It is these.
I am always very careful to not act like there is a surprise at the end. Everyone deserves that reaction. The gut unfurling oh dear type reaction.
Which is the truest magic about Megan Whalen Turner’s God-tier writing. It’s special. I remember reading Thick as Thieves, thinking to myself there was no way that Gen doesn’t know about Kamet’s masters death. The truth revealed left me facepalming. I knew better.
Turner’s mastery in POV feels risky to me as a writer, but awe-inspiring as a reader.
Really my biggest hope as we go into the last book is this, that Gen is able to surprise us one last time, and that we get to see his world have the Happily Ever After it deserves.
ETA: Return of the Thief reaction.
What a beautiful, beautiful book. Holding the chonker in my hands was lovely. Reading the inscription on the back was like seeing a hype trailer. I was ready to begin my journey with Erondites.
There was so much to love in this book. A few moments of mouth dropping moments as well as some dialogue that left me reeling. (Gen’s promise of vengeance anyone? Gen stating his name and all his titles?)
I hope if you read these stories that you love them as much as I do. I hope they bring your lessons and comforts. They’re beautiful and teach me so much about life and the plainness of even the greatest of us.
I think they’re a must read for anyone interest in YA Fantasy, as a reader but even more so as a writer.
It is so. It is so. It is so.