Return of the Thief’s release date has been pushed back, giving readers time to read (or re-read) the beloved YA fantasy series that is over 20 years in the making. We take a closer (spoiler-free) look at why we love The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner.
When I think of my favorite book series, the one that I’ve read the most throughout my life and never gets old, my mind immediately goes to The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. With its subtle read-between-the-lines revelations and not a sentence wasted, the series that Megan has spent over 20 years working on is coming to a close.
‘Return of the Thief’ release date delay
Originally slated to come out in March 2019, the Return of the Thief’s publication date has been postponed until 2020. In the wide scope of YA fantasy, The Queen’s Thief has a small but mighty fandom. Used to waiting an average of seven years between books, I’m sure I’m not the only one who fell out of my chair when Megan announced that the final book, Return of the Thief, would come out a mere two years after Thick as Thieves did.
Now the Return of the Thief, a.k.a The Queen’s Thief Book 6, release date delay makes it seem that the gap will be like three years, which is still better than anything I could have hoped for after the long wait between A Conspiracy of Kings and Thick as Thieves. From the bottom of my heart, each book has been well worth the wait.
Megan has taken her time, making each book as tight as possible, full to the brim of subtle twists that aren’t seen coming, with unreliable narrators, and excellent usage of point of view to move a story forward. That being said, in case you haven’t had the chance to read The Queen’s Thief, I’ve not spoiled any of the twists, I promise.
The Thief is merely the beginning of my love affair with this series. I still remember the first time I read it, when I got to the end and realized what had just happened; that sense of revelation is what I seek when I read unreliable narrators now. The closest feeling I’ve gotten to this is the reveal of who the narrator of The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin is, along with her usage of point of view to move the story along.
I reread, or re-listen to, The Queen’s Thief at least once a year. I started my re-listen of audiobooks (of which I waxed poetic about in this article) to get ready for Return of the Thief last fall, finishing at the end of January. Even though I just finished, I will definitely be rereading them again before the (hopefully) 2020 release of the final installment of this amazing series.
I’ve read Thick as Thieves the least amount of times, with it only coming out in 2017, but as I said before, each time I read/listen, I see something that I somehow missed in my previous reads. This time was no different.
Upon finishing Thick as Thieves this time around, with (happy) tears in my eyes, I immediately rushed to my friends who have also read the series to see if they saw what I had missed up until this point. The thing about The Queen’s Thief, you see, is that it is vague yet detailed at the same time. How? Megan writes subtly, leaving the reader to read between the lines with inferring a lot, giving me and everyone else endless revelations years later.
Each friend I spoke to had a different answer for this small detail at the end of Thick as Thieves. One said they were like me, unsure of what it meant, that they didn’t want to read too much into what the ending meant, one didn’t remember anything standing out to her (this is normal, the books are so packed full of detail but also vague enough it’s easy to skim over something important even if you’re being smacked across the face with it), and finally my other friend said that that detail is why she screamed and cried when she read it the first time.
There is something about how this series is written, the love put into it, that I can’t help but feel myself. Brilliantly laid out, The Queen’s Thief starts out with Gen as the sole narrator, then adding multiple points of view throughout the series to the point that we haven’t had Gen as a narrator since the Queen of Attolia, seeing him through the other characters’ eyes.
With the title Return of the Thief, though, it implies that we will, finally, after three books, have our Thief’s POV once more. It will be worth the wait, to the point where I tear up thinking about it, for us to be able to read from his point of view again. The build towards it has been astounding, with the storyline of King of Attolia playing out through the eyes of a guard who loathes him, to A Conspiracy of Kings telling the tale of Gen’s friend Sophos from The Thief ,who has been missing, and his journey to Attolia to Gen’s side, then with Thick as Thieves following Kamet, his enemy’s slave, as he escapes the Mede only to end up finding himself before Gen as well.
A Conspiracy of Kings and Thick as Thieves had only a few chapters with Gen in them, and while it seems weird to write aloud, the absence of Eugenides makes his appearance that much more powerful. When Eugenides appears in later books, my entire soul swells at my love for him and his cunning, conniving self. I’m not sure what’s in store in Return of the Thief, all I know is that I’m ready for Eugenides to trick me, mislead me, and I will wait as long as it takes to be able to read the ending that Megan has in store for us.
The way that Megan Whalen Turner writes Eugenides leaves us with gaps, never knowing exactly what he is thinking because those who know him best are as tight-lipped as he is. His enigmatic air is the epitome of mysteriousness that only makes us want more information. I, for one, will take the table scraps of information greedily and be grateful.
As I sit here, overly emotional about Eugenides, staring at my books lovingly, I cannot believe Eugenides’ journey will be over with the release of Return of the Thief. Thank you, Megan, for bringing this world to life. My love for thieves started with Eugenides, and he will forever be in my heart (the viper that he is!), and no matter what happens in Return of the Thief, I’m sure it will be beautifully done, even if it rips my heart out.
I’ve only just finished my re-listen, but with the delay of the release date of Return of the Thief, that leaves me plenty of time to go through them again. They are short, between 280- 380 pages each, meaning that you, too, have time to read or reread them before Return of the Thief comes out. You won’t regret it, I promise.