I love Megan Whalen Turner. How does she do it?
Now. Take a perfect book and add a sequel. Usually, the sequel is okay but not as good as the first -- sometimes it stinks -- but it's usually okay. In occasional cases -- take The Queen of Attolia for instance -- the sequel is as fantastic as or (there is some argument here) even surpasses the original.
I'll backtrack for anyone who got tangled in my web of amazingly well-argued blather. The Thief is a perfect, amazing, fantastic piece of perfection. If you read that entire book and A) AREN'T in love with Gen by the end of it and/or B) DON'T want to be him, there is very possibly something wrong with you. With The Queen of Attolia, same goes, but even more so. It isn't just because of Gen. The world that Megan Whalen Turner creates is rich and complex and so are the secondary characters. The books are worth reading for the mythology alone. Or the politics. Or the action. Put all those together, and WHEW. They rule.
The King of Attolia is another perfect book. I loved it so much that I love Gen even more. (And I really, really didn't think that was possible.) Each book has been better than the first -- and the first one was perfect. I'm not going to talk about what actually happens because I went into it without knowing and sometimes it's nice to have everything unfold without any prior knowledge.
Surprising as this may be, I don't buy that many books new and in hardback. This series is well worth it. For real. (I even like the new cover art, which is rare.) If I was still working at the store, I would be the bossiest of the bossypants. EVERYBODY would be walking out with a copy of this book. (Or, if they hadn't read the first two, they'd be walking out with those.)