Reviews for Thief


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 January 1997
Gr. 5^-8. Set in a time long ago and far away, this first-person novel tells of a gifted young thief, imprisoned for life, who is offered one chance to win his freedom. If Gen can steal for the king's magus a legendary stone hidden in a mysterious temple, the magus will set him free. Portrayed as a likable rogue, Gen endures the difficult trek to the stone's hiding place with much complaining and little grace, but shows his mettle when he steals the stone twice and risks his life for his companions. Still, the revelation of Gen's identity surprises the magus (and readers) even more than his deeds. From the believable characters to the well-realized setting, this fantasy offers a refreshing change of pace for readers who enjoy adventure stories with a touch of magic. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997
An exceptionally clever novel features a thief named Gen who accompanies the king's magus on a journey to steal a legendary stone. Turner's characterization of Gen is simply superb -- it is Gen who tells the story, and he is clearly not what he seems. Unlike many other novels of suspense, [cf2]The Thief[cf1] is even more fun to reread -- you can see all the clues to Gen's identity and mission, and delight in the author's ingenuity. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #6
A tantalizing, suspenseful, exceptionally clever novel is set in a Mediterranean-like country called Sounis in a time when the old gods have just been supplanted. (So vivid are the geography and the details of daily life that the reader can easily believe in the existence of this imaginary landscape.) Gen, a thief languishing in the royal dungeons, is summarily reclaimed by the king's magus, who wants him to steal the unstealable: a legendary stone conferring the power of the throne of Eddis, a rival neighboring country, on its bearer. The magus and his companions set off, with Gen brought along as a "useful sort of tool," to find the remarkable maze/temple (underwater except for a few nights a year) inside which the stone is hidden; Gen has three chances to steal it, achieve a measure of fame - and remain alive. That's about as much plot as can be told, because it's Gen who is telling the story, and Gen is clearly not what he seems. The author's characterization of Gen is simply superb: she lets the reader know so much about him - his sense of humor, his egotism, his loyalty, his forthrightness, his tendency to sulk - and yet manages to hide the most essential information. Which is not to say that either Gen or Turner deceives the reader: both tell part of the truth at all times. And so, unlike many other novels of surprise, which don't bear up to a second reading, Thief is even more fun to reread - you can see all the clues to Gen's identity and mission, and delight in the author's ingenuity. m.v.p. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 June
~ A thief's quest for a priceless gemstone forms the background for a tale of redemption, tolerance, and cooperation in this first novel from Turner (Instead of Three Wishes, 1995, etc.). Gen the thief is released from prison in the imaginary medieval land of Sounis by the king's magus, on the condition that he join an expedition to recover the legendary Hamiathes's Gift Stone, said to be hidden in an elaborate maze underneath a river. For the chance at regaining his freedom, Gen agrees. The journey at first is fraught more with psychic than physical dangers: The magus and the other king's men on the trip--soldier Pol, aristocrats Sophos and Ambiades--insult Gen for his low birth and choice of profession, even denying him proper food and medical care. No adolescent will be able to ignore Gen's resentment, embarrassment, and pain, made palpable through Turner's compassion and crystalline prose. Similarly, Gen's narrative voice, at turns snide, sharp, then sad, will seem familiar to young adults. His ultimate discovery of the legendary stone and the clearing of his reputation are as grand as the fantastic myths the travelers tell on their fateful trip. This is an uplifting book, a literary journey that enriches both its characters and readers before it is over. (Fiction. 10+) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 January #3

A king orders a young thief to carry out a near-impossible heist under threat of death. "In addition to its charismatic hero, this story possesses one of the most valuable treasures of all--a twinkling jewel of a surprise ending," said PW 's starred review of this 1997 Newbery Honor book. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

[Page 67]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 October #3
The bragging thief Gen is sprung from prison by the king in order to carry out a mission-steal the precious stone Hamiathes's Gift from an impossible hiding place. If he succeeds, he'll be rewarded. If he fails, he will be killed. If he runs away, he will be hunted down. Half prisoner, half outlaw legend, Gen goes along with the king's assistant in the risky plan. Set in a semi-Mediterranean realm of old and new gods and goddesses, this compelling adventure propels readers along through the enemy lands of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia. Gen, a beguiling narrator, is afraid of horses but not of entering a locked labyrinth; he comes from a long line of thieves but puts honor first. Turner's (Instead of Three Wishes) device of having Gen and others tell god and goddess stories around the campfire bumpily draws the reader away from the main story, yet the plot is strong enough to survive the wanderings. In addition to its charismatic hero, this story possesses one of the most valuable treasures of all-a twinkling jewel of a surprise ending . Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 October
Gr 6 Up Things are not what they seem in this story of wit, adventure, and philosophy. Gen, an accomplished thief incarcerated for stealing the king's seal, is dragged from his cell by the king's magus, who is on a quest. The prize is Hamiathes's Gift, said to be a creation of the gods that confers the right of rule on the wearer. During the quest, the magus and Gen take turns telling the youngest member of their party myths about the Eddisian god of thieves. Turner does a phenomenal job of creating real people to range through her well-plotted, evenly paced story. No one is entirely evil or completely perfect. Gen is totally human in his lack of discipline, seeming lack of heroism, and need for sleep and food. The magus makes the transition from smug, superior scholar to decent guy in a believable fashion. Turner also does a neat job of puncturing lots of little prejudices. There are many deft lessons in this story. As absorbing as it is, the best part lies in the surprise ending. Though it is foreshadowed throughout, it is not obvious its impact is more like morning sunlight than a lightning bolt. This book is sure to be a hot item with adventure and fantasy lovers, and YAs who like snide, quick-tempered, softhearted heroes will love Gen. Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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VOYA Reviews 1997 #3
Gen, a lowly but skilled thief of poor upbringing, has been rescued from prison by the king of Sounis to help steal Hamiathes's Gift, an ancient stone, which will make the king the rightful ruler of Eddis. According to legend, the stone has beenhidden for generations, and no member of a party that has sought after it has ever returned. Setting out on the perilous journey to find the stone, Gen is accompanied by the king's scholar-the magus, a soldier named Pol, and the magus's apprentices,Ambiades and Sophos. Along the way, these companions constantly taunt Gen for his low station in life, making fun of his speech and manners. Gen, however, entertains his cohorts with stories of Egenides, the patron god of thieves-stories he learnedfrom his mother, who was also a thief. Arriving at the doorway to the temple that houses Hamiathes's Gift, Gen outmaneuvers all the traps and mazes that lead to the stone. Successfully completing his mission, he begins with his partners the journey back home to Sounis. But the thieves'luck takes a bad turn when they are attacked by Attolian horsemen, betrayed by Ambiades, and imprisoned-losing the stone in the process.The thieving party escapes the Attolians and finds themselves in the presence of the Queen of Eddis herself, where it soon is revealed that Gen the common thief is not at all who has claimed to be.Clever and well-written, The Thief is well deserving of the Newbery Honor it received, and its place on ALA's Best Books for Young Adults. The narration flows, the characters are well developed and believable, and there is plenty of action andsuspense. Gen's true identity came as a complete surprise to me, although when I reread the book I saw the foreshadowing that I had missed the first time around.The imaginary setting closely resembles ancient Greece, and the gods that play a significant role in Gen's stories-and eventually in his life-are much like the Greek gods. An author's note acknowledges that the landscape described in the bookresembles that of Greece, but the setting is imaginary and the story is not meant to be historically accurate.This book will be popular with YAs who like adventure.-Becky Kornman. Copyright 1997 Voya Reviews

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