Book Review: Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan (published by Orbit)
This fantasy novel focuses on two characters: Tyen and Rielle. Tyen lives in a world where magic powers industry and although the industrial progress has been startling, it is sucking the magic out of the world and leaving a trail of Soot in its wake. Apart from powering industry, magic is not allowed to be used. Tyen is a student at the Academy which guards the use of magic and Thief’s Magic opens with him finding an intriguing book whilst grave robbing with his archaeology professor for the Academy. This book turns out to be trouble for Tyen. Others want it as it contains secrets that people want to expose or people want to hide, and it has a strange hold over the student which leads him to do anything he can to protect it.
Rielle lives in a world where Priests rule and magic cannot be used by anyone other than the Priests as otherwise it is stealing from the Angels. When magic is used, it is taken out of the atmosphere and leaves Stain behind – a black shadowy area. Rielle can see Stain but has kept it secret since she was a child. However, she learns she can not only see stain but can also use magic. She obeys the laws and doesn’t use magic until a corrupter tricks her and her life comes tumbling down as the Priests accuse her of being Tainted.
These two worlds come closer and closer towards the end of the novel, but don’t yet collide. That will come in Millennium’s Rule book number two or three (as this is book one in a trilogy) and I’m excited to find out how they meet. Both worlds are expertly created, believable and vivid and I enjoyed learning more about them both. I loved the descriptions of how magic is used and where it comes from and, as the quote from SFX on the cover says, it really is ‘Effortless reading”.
The characters of Rielle and Tyen are both well considered BUT they both sounded exactly like the other. There wasn’t enough of a distinction between the two as their dialogue, thoughts, descriptions of events were pretty much identical. If it wasn’t for the different worlds and the storylines, then they could’ve been one. (But perhaps that’s the point? And they are different threads of the same consciousness in different worlds? Hmm… I’ll need to read the next books to find out!).
In some places the language was a bit clunky. Take this example, “Tyen cast about, looking for a paper seller, but none were about. He resisted the urge to dash away and seek one out so that he could find out what else the article had said…” Is it just me or are there too many ‘abouts’ and ‘outs’ in those two lines?
Although I enjoyed the plot, it did seem to amble along for the entire novel. This was not fast paced and erred on the side of a slow plod. There was action, and some of it should’ve been quite thrilling, but the language didn’t change or ramp up and at some points I felt like Tyen had just been thrown a few challenges to overcome to add in some tension, but as a reader I wasn’t frightened for him or eager to find out what he’d do as I knew he’d overcome them, and quickly, with seemingly little effort. So, that got a bit dull at times.
Overall, a great read for the captivating worldbuilding .
My rating: 4/5
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**My debut novel, an epic fantasy called MELOKAI, is out now! Available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play Books, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Read more about my books here.**
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