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Pump Six and Other Stories
Paolo Bacigalupi

The Thief

The Thief - Megan Whalen Turner My review of this novel is inevitably tainted by how much I have ADORED the sequels. Because I did. Do. Whatever. I want to sneak out of my office to sit in my car and start the fourth right now, even though my car is all black and it's 7892387905 degrees out. THAT much adoration.

This is a delightful little book, and its strengths and its weaknesses both spring from the fact that it is the introductory book to a character and a world. This is not the primary narrative line of this series - that totally lives in books two and three - but I enjoy how Turner has taken what could have been an off-hand reference to backstory and given it a little more meat to stand on its own. That way, when you get to the big, arching, games-of-kings epic story, you already have some of the basic groundwork laid. You already have the world built in your head. You already have emotional attachment. (By which I mean - oh, Gen.)

To that extent, I think the way Turner plays with POV among the various books is interesting. What better way to insert your reader into an epic than through a single, small, seemingly unimportant character? And while you know that all is not as it seems with your narrator, I feel like Turner does a lovely job doling out bits and pieces so that the reveal is an, "aaaah, of course," rather than an epic shock or "well, it took them long enough to figure it out" moment. A nice balance. It's a nice, non-clumsy handling of first person POV whereby avoiding the self-expositing ("as I already know, Gen thought to himself...") also allows Turner to be coy with the reader.

Plus I love love love the sharing of myths and legends - in an in-story-appropriate manner! - between the magus and Gen. Not just worldbuilding but characterbuilding, too!

Oooh, oooh, I've got it. This is as if Star Wars were told from Luke Skywalker's POV of that first trip to Alderaan, starting with the droid purchase. You have no idea the full scope of what's going on with this Empire and Rebel business, but you can identify with the kid who lost his only family and is now running around the galaxy with a crazy old guy and some really shifty characters. (If, you know, Vader ran into Luke after killing Obi-Wan, shook his head, and muttered, "Son, what have you gotten up to now?" Okay, so the metaphor falls apart...)