The Thief

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Thief Book Poster Image
Clever historical fantasy has crafty, delightful narrator.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Thief is set a distant past similar to ancient Greece. It presents the mythology of the region through stories told by Eugenides and the magus.

Positive Messages

Intelligence can sometimes conquer violence. Everyone should be treated with respect, no matter their station in life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eugenides is a thief, but one with a certain amount of integrity. He forms a bond with the magus and his followers and puts himself in danger to protect them, when he doesn't' have to.


Gen endures couple of beatings in prison and on the road with the magus. He kills enemies in a swordfight and feels bad about it.


Low-level cursing. A dozen or so uses of "damn," "gods damn," and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Thief is the first volume in an acclaimed historical fantasy series by Megan Whalen Turner. It received a Newbery award when originally published in 1996. The level of violence is low -- a few prison beatings and a deadly swordfight. Cursing is limited to a dozen or so uses of "damn," "hell," and "gods damn."

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bynyxrating May 20, 2020

Was expecting more

I used to go to extracurricular English classes where you read all kinds of different books, and study each and every one of them. The Thief was one of the book... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byIChoseMyUserName March 24, 2019


I think it is an okay story but the chapters are to long and it bors me to read like there is no tomorrow

What's the story?

As THE THIEF begins, Eugenides is taken from his prison cell and embarks on a reluctant journey in search of an invaluable treasure known as Hamiathe's Gift. A stone dipped in the Waters of Immortality, the Gift conveys the right to rule the four kingdoms to whichever king or queen it is given. The Magus of Sounis wants Gen to retrieve it from an underwater temple, since he has boasted that he "can steal anything." If Gen can't, it's back to prison or an even harsher fate.

Is it any good?

Cleverly constructed and unpredictable, this historical fantasy abounds with suspenseful set pieces, twisty double-crosses and a vivid set of main characters. The Thief starts slowly, but the measured pace allows for some delicious discussions between Gen and his captors. Author Megan Whalen Turn has created a highly detailed setting and peopled it with realistic and complicated characters. Eugenides the Thief  is a delight from the beginning, and many readers will want to follow his continuing adventures in this book's sequels.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the unreliable main character in The Thief . Why do readers like stories about tricksters?

  • Why do people continue to study Greek mythology? What lessons can it teach modern-day readers?

  • Gen and the magus eventually develop mutual respect for each other. What kinds of actions help develop trust between people?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and mythology

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