surprising and fresh Jan 16, 2008
I must disagree with the other reviewer by saying this is a well-written book, with an interesting plot and likable characters. If, however, you are chiefly a fan of high-concept epic fantasy, this is not the novel for you. Look instead for titles by David Eddings, Raymond Feist, or R.A. Salvatore.
Gen tells his own story, setting himself up as almost an anti-hero: a cocky thief with visions of grandeur. He steals because he's good at it, and takes great pride in his abilities. So much pride, in fact, that too many people hear of his plan to steal the king's own signet ring, and he's caught in the act. The story opens after he's languished in prison for many months. The king's adviser needs Gen's help to steal a lost relic of legend, said to be preserved in a hidden temple of a neighboring kingdom. If he succeeds, Gen won't return to prison. If he fails, he will die.
Ms. Turner creates in Gen a smart, cocky, mouthy, teenager with hidden depths of courage. A perceptive reader sees past his bravado and sneakiness to a kid with an agenda of his own, who refuses to be anyone's puppet. The question raised by the story is not so much whether or not Gen can steal said sacred relic, but what he'll do once he's got it.