A Conspiracy of Kings is the fourth in Turner's series of YA fantasy novels concerning the countries of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis.
I've loved each of the previous novels, but I when I started this one, I was wondering whether I'd like it as much. It didn't take long, however, for me to become completely involved with Sophos' story. I do wish the gap between reading the previous novels had been smaller, but that's the way it goes. At some future time, perhaps I'll sit down and read them all through from the beginning.
Although my favorite will always be the first one, I like the way Turner has taken the characters through their journeys, allowing them to evolve and mature. Gen remains my favorite character, and I truly look forward to the time in which he seems less bound by his circumstances as King of Attolia and takes a more active part in the story again.
When you've learned to love the characters in the first novels, it is fun to watch them travel the different paths laid out for them. By changing the focus on the characters, the series widens its horizons.
All right, back to Sophos. Sophos had disappeared from the scene in the last novel. As it turns out, his father, disappointed in Sophos' lack of interest in his role as heir to the kingdom of Sounis, has sent his son to an island where he is confined with his mother and sisters. The hope of his father is that Sophos will abandon his love of poetry and become more interested in ruling his future kingdom.
Then events (avoiding spoilers as much as possible) change Sophos' life forever, and he learns another kind of despair, loses the privileges and responsibilities of his former life, makes friends among a class of people with whom he would never have had the opportunity to mingle, grows in strength and initiative, and finally, is prepared to be the kind of king that Sounis needs.
One of the most difficult things he has to face is the change in his relationship of Gen. Sophos is angered and saddened by Gen's treatment of him, especially since thoughts of Gen's courage and imagination have helped him survive the events he has been through. On the other hand, his relationship with Eddis grows and supports him.
I recommend this YA series highly. There is no dumbing down of circumstances, neither is there the tendency to use sex to draw an audience. Megan Whalen Turner focuses on character, and no one's is perfect. Friendship and trust must allow for the vagaries of imperfect individuals. Duty, honor, and courage are not always easily obtained.
Don't forget to check this post for the give away.
Fiction. Fantasy/Adventure. 2010. 316 pages.