The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.
I'm hearing a lot of good buzz about The King of Attolia. It's the third in a series, and I haven't read the first two, The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. So, in order to read TKOA, I took home The Thief.
I'm in love. I've fallen in love with characters before -- I think Will Stanton was my first book boyfriend. And there have been others, like Mr. Darcy. But it's been a while.... until I met Gen.
Oh, yeah, the plot.
The Plot: Gen is a master thief -- in prison because while he may be a master thief, successfully stealing the King's seal, he then boasted about it. In public. Including showing the King's seal to one and all. And thanks to the boasting, he is now in prison. He's lost track of time, until the King's Magus comes to him with a deal: Gen will be let out of prison. Provided he helps Magus steal Hamiathes's Gift. Gen says yes -- hello, it's getting him out of prison, of course he's going to say yes -- all the while plotting, wondering how he can make this situation work for him. Top on the list, of course, is not returning to prison.
The Good: Did I mention Gen is my new book boyfriend? While this is a YA book, Gen's age isn't given; he's probably in his late teens. He is snarky, funny, overly dramatic about things, smart, charming. He tries to keep his secrets, but sometimes he can't help boasting about his talent or his knowledge.
When it comes time to steal -- Gen puts his money where his mouth is. He does have what it takes; he's boasting about real talent. Not making it up.
This is also a good adventure yarn; once Gen is out of prison, there's a journey to find the location of the Hamiathes's Gift, so Road Trip! Road Trips are fun, and this one includes the Magus, who doesn't trust Gen; two young apprentices of the Magus, nicknamed Useless the Younger and Useless the Older by Gen (and yes, he does share this with the two young men); and a seasoned soldier, Pol, who is keeping an eye on Gen.
Turner has created three kingdoms with a complex history. It's important to the plot -- the King wants the Gift for political reasons.
Turner has reveals that left me breathless. And I won't say any more than that, because if you are one of the few people who haven't read the book yet -- well, I'm not going to give it away. (We can talk about it in the comments, tho!) She did it note-perfect; with the reveals making perfect sense, yet being a surprise.