Review of Moira’s Pen, by Megan Whalen Turner

Moira’s Pen

A Queen’s Thief Collection

by Megan Whalen Turner
illustrations by Deena So’Oteh

Greenwillow Books, 2022. 203 pages.
Review written December 19, 2022, from my own copy pre-ordered from
Starred Review

I’m so happy to enter the world of the Queen’s Thief again! Moira’s Pen is a collection of stories about the beloved characters from The Queen’s Thief series, giving a little more insight and backstory in some cases, in other cases letting us know what happened later or with side characters. The time range goes from Gen’s childhood to the life of one of his descendants.

Because it’s so wrapped up in the other six books, I don’t recommend this as a gateway to the series, but it’s a delightful dessert after you’ve read the books — and will make you want to reread the whole thing.

Megan Whalen Turner also includes some pictures of actual artifacts that inspired elements of the series. So you’ve got some insight into the stories behind the stories. This is a lovely volume, as besides those illustrations, there are full-page pictures for each story.

Here’s the explanation for the title from the front of the book:

Moira is the messenger of the gods. She carries a feather pen, sometimes in her hand, sometimes behind her ear. In the past, Moira loaned her pen to mortals. When the historian Eutritus succumbed to temptation and used it not just to record history, but to alter it, Moira promised the Great Goddess Hephestia never to do so again. After that, historians could only pray that she would guide their pens and be their muse.

Not only historians prayed to her, though. All wordwrights did. Every year a playwriting competition was held in Moira’s honor in the city of Attolia. The plays were performed during the Moirian Festival, and the winner of the competition would receive a feather pen crafted from solid gold.

Nearest of the gods to mortals, Moira sees them in all their folly and their wisdom and records what she sees. When people wished for something to come true they would say, “May it be written with Moira’s pen.”

I faced a dilemma when my preordered copy of this book arrived. I was reading for the Cybils, so I didn’t have time for this book (which was published after the deadline). But how could I resist? Well, the answer came when I realized that since it’s short stories, I could read a short story from this book as a reward for finishing another book. That ended up spreading out the book and making me happy each time I treated myself to another story.

Fans of Megan Whalen Turner will be delighted with this book.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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