I struggled to make it through the first 2/3 of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, but persisted because reviewers said the next book in the series was better. They were right. After a rocky start, the Queen of Attolia is a pleasing narrative of intrigue and battles. While the book is centered around Eugenides the Thief of Eddis, at its heart it is the story of two women striving to rule in their own right - the Queen of Eddis, and the Queen of neighboring province Attolia.
I would have liked a map as the terrain was and important conspirator.
(And yes - I AM spending my Sunday afternoon catching up on a week or more's worth of reading and reviewing)