the king of attolia - megan whalen turner
i love costis. i love attolia. i love eugenides and his batshit and very effective plans. the raw power... like obviously he was the protag and so was costis, but eugenides was very much the anchor of the book and his arc was central, while costis played both a central role in growing himself, and a supporting one protecting and getting to know gen. i did feel like attolia was more static in this novel, having done most of the setup and growth near the end of the one prior. everytime she was present i was glued to the page <33
costis.... i love him...... favorite trope is the royal and guard dynamic where they can banter and rely on each other and watching them grow into that was SO fucking amazing. but also the like, exhausted straightlaced guard and bitchy tiny king... OBSESSED!! and the amount of maturing they both did... i loved the one bit where it was pointed out how long ago their initial meeting punch felt, after everything that had happened since.
costis is honestly perfect for the tone of this novel, because as he gets to know and respect eugenides, it parallels how far along he is in his plans, and you can slowly see more of his mindset. by godd the reveallllll of him having promised attolia to rid her of her biggest rival house within six months, and then doing it in like three months... literally there is no word for it other than sexy. he is a sexy awful conniving little man and he is so steadfastly loyal i can barely wrap my head around it. im PASSING AWAY.
and also costis as a pov character for intimacy between the king and queen is like, so deeply heart eyes. they spend such a long time obfuscating things (eugenides visiting her in the dark of night, incognito... im obsessed. the element of public vs private difference in interaction). costis, their loyal protector... at last understanding the truth of their regard for each other. sobbing
there are so many moments between them ive been thinking about nonstop. the part where he flinches from her in surprise and shes hurt for a moment, and then he kisses her in front of everyone and. hold on let me hunt down the quote because scream:
“The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead in the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day.”
!!!! like damn!!! also there was that passage where theyre dancing in front of the court and the language was so gorgeous i just. such a striking mental image is now going to be in my head forever <3
the scene as hes drunk on the roof and costis gets called to coax him back in, god that was so good. the themes of him interacting with the gods are always one of my favorite parts of these books, and honestly this was my favorite scene so far that centers on that. like Fuck Dude. absolutely sublime. my mental image of him dangling in midair as the gods tell him to go to bed still has me in stitches honestly, but also it was so weighty. i think thats one of my favorite things about these books, is that theyre so entertaining and smart and have emotional depth, often all in the same moment!!
also this just occurred to me but like, the way costis (and everyone really) is really shaken after the encounter with the gods, really reminded me of book one, when eugenides is unwilling to fully explain what had happened in the temple, and could feel their favor weighing on him. i think the narrative mentions how costis for a moment knew that the world was thin like paper and the only real thing present was the god holding eugenides up, or something along those lines, and that was really intense!
and! the sparring at the end!! i loved that ultimately everybody had a hand in bringing eugenides to the mental place of accepting the mantle of leadership, and that he did that by finally showing himself. (losing my mind when he knelt to her after the sparring and called her 'my queen' and she responded 'my king' like aaaah!! how long was she waiting and hoping to say that...)
the scene in the guards bath at the end was incredible, and equally impressive. something about openness symbolized in him being naked and thus not having the smoke and mirrors anymore, especially contrasted with book two where hes still coming to terms with the loss of his hand!! and then explaining his scars to his guard, teleus vowing to protect him... so good!!
so yeah. holy FUCK does this series just keep getting better.
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