Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Queen of Attolia

by Megan Whalen Turner

performed by Jeff Woodman


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The Queen of Attolia

by Megan Whalen Turner
performed by Jeff Woodman

Review posted May 29, 2009.
Recorded Books, 2007. 8 CDs, 9 hours.
Starred Review
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2009: Wonderful Rereads

This is approximately the fourth time I've read The Queen of Attolia, and like the rest of the books in the series, I like it better every time. With its beautifully orchestrated touch of romance, this is my favorite of Megan Whalen Turner's books, and indeed one of my favorite books of all time.

Jeff Woodman does an excellent job of bringing the book to life. The advantage to listening the book instead of reading it was that I was forced not to gobble the whole thing down in one night, and got to draw out the experience. The disadvantage was that I was very unhappy to arrive at work each morning while I was listening to it. Of course, this was the perfect audiobook to be listening to just after moving. My new commute is quite a bit longer than I thought it was going to be -- but because it gave me more time to spend with Eugenides, I was glad!

Megan Whalen Turner creates rich and complex characters. This book more thoroughly explores the character and background of the Queen of Attolia, and we learn that her apparent ruthlessness has reasons behind it. We find ourselves actually liking someone who seems capable of atrocities. -- Is that not the work of a master author?

I also love the way Megan Whalen Turner explores the question of why God (only in the book it is gods she invented) allows bad things to happen. Eugenides has a Job-like moment that gives Eugenides -- and the reader -- a perspective on how God transcends human comprehension, but also works for our good, even when we don't understand.