All my public entries are about books these days, so please have another one!
I finished The Thief
a few days ago. It's been a book batted around as a really good novel, but I never got round to it (so credit must go to kmo_lj
who recced it again.)
The novel begins with Gen, a prisoner in the Sounis king's prison, where he's been languishing for months. The door to his jail opens and he's told that he's wanted by the magus. Gen was arrested for bragging in public he was thief who could steal anything (and did), but the magus wants him for some purpose, so he packs Gen on a horse and they leave the city alongside a few other characters--Pol, a soldier, and Ambiades and Sophos, two young men apprenticed to the magus. Slowly the magus reveals that he wants Gen to steal Hamaithes's Gift, a stone that in legend was given as a gift by one of the gods as a sign of divine right to rule. The novel is a mix of Gen and party moving through to Attolia (where Hamaithes's Gift is hidden) and Gen's telling of the myths.
The reveal! Holy cow! Reveals, plural, actually. I don't think I've ever read a book that's in first person all the way through and still
has such a big surprise/revelation about the main character at the end. Most authors end up dropping at least some kind of biographical information to give insight into the character's motivations, which were almost completely lacking, though of course I never realized till the actual reveal happened. That is so cool. First person tends to talk about the thoughts and opinions of the person whose perspective is written from (sometimes as a clumsy way to do exposition or scene description) so it is really cool.
I also really enjoyed the writing. Some of the characters sounded very YA--they seemed to have some simplistic reactions and such (e.g. the magus was really rather trusting)--but Gen was very engaging and the reveal especially gave a lot more depth. The writing wasn't terse or spare or anything, but it dropped words exactly where they were needed--it was very deft, not a word out of place. Gen was always very dry, and I loved his narration. She also did a really great job with the scene where Gen walks into the cavern. When he first enters he nearly has a heart attack, thinking that there are people inside, then realizes they were statues--and then realizes in an even more heart-stopping moment that they aren't merely alive, they are truly the gods of myth. What a moment!
--( Currently reading, and quick discussion of article talking about hard science fiction )