Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects a youth called Gen from the king’s prison. He was captured for stealing the king’s seal and the magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
It was a YA fantasy, high fantasy too, and still I was left impressed. Really. First of all, there was no romance of any kind. It made my heart warmer instantly even though the novel featured few female characters and all of them belonged to the background – a feature I usually criticize. Secondly the world build was very original – a mix of ancient Greek mythology and stories which sounded even older, a bit prehistoric. At first I frowned, not impressed by stories within a story, but then I was left charmed almost despite myself.
Gen was a dynamic, well-drawn character who has several surprises in store. He spent most of the book whining about current conditions and the limited food, and sassing the magus and other members of the group. Still he wasn’t annoying, he sounded believable AND has a wicked sense of humour. His companions freed him in order to gain a thief who can steal a powerful artifact and let’s face it, Gen has no disillusions about his abilities. He was actually named after the god of thieves, Eugenides. While his father wanted him to be a soldier, he knew that was not the life for him. Instead, he honed his skills at stealing like his mother, until he was one of the best if not the very best in the land.
Such a simple premise and it worked like a wonder. The artifact in question was also well-thought-out and made me curious. I think I am going to give the second part a try.
It was one of few YA books which, instead of leaving me annoyed, made me intrigued and curious – well done!