The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner -- 432 pages
In possibly my favorite book in the series "The Queen's Thief", the young guard, Costis, serves for the King of Attolia, but his real loyalty lies with the Queen. Only a fool would show respect to a King who gained his throne through scheming and thievery.
Costis positively hates the King, but his contempt slowly chips away to grudging respect.
This book is full of more character and character development than the first two, but it still is gripping and charming, and the character detail is pleasing.