Title: Thief’s Magic
Series: Millennium’s Rule #1
Author: Trudi Canavan
Publisher: Orbit, imprint of Hachette
Date Published: May 13, 2014
Format: ARC– received in exchange of a fair review
Tyen is crouched in an ancient tomb when he comes across someone who will change his life forever. This someone is Vella. She isn’t exactly a person, but rather a book that was a young woman many millennia ago. She holds the secrets of fantastic sorcerers who have become little more than legends in Tyen’s time, and he has no clue what to do with her. He is a student at the Academy, studying archaeology and magic. He knows that his professors would love to see this book and use the knowledge it contains, but is afraid that they won’t understand it. He fears Vella will be locked up in the archives or destroyed from expressing ideas considered heresy in their current age of industry. When his worst fears are proven correct, he decides he must do whatever it takes to protect her and the knowledge she contains.
Trudi Canavan’s Thief’s Magic alternates POV between Tyen and Fielle, who lives in a world were magic is only used by the Priests. To practice magic is to steal from the Angels, and it’s a major crime. She can see the Stain, a dark mark that shows the area where magic has been drained from the air, but must keep this skill a secret, as it’s a sign that a person can use magic and will send her into exile.
Fielle has begrudgingly accepted that she will never be able to use her latent skill and is trying to focus on being a good daughter. She comes from a family of fabric dyers, and even though they have significant wealth, they don’t have great social standing. An advantageous match could give them the respect they desire, but Fielle cannot help but fall in love with a talented, struggling artist. While she is concerned about her personal life, there is a corrupter making their way around the city putting them all in danger. This person is teaching people magic and creating issues for the Priests.
In Thief’s Magic, Trudi Canavan crafts worlds were magic is a non-renewable resource like oil or coal. Whenever someone uses magic, it leaves behind a stain, which is later filled in by more magic. The authorities of these worlds deal with this issue differently.
Tyen’s world is in the midst of an industrial and scientific revolution. Inventions are powered by magic, which is drained rapidly from the air. Authorities have responded by conquering other lands and stealing their magic, but it is still only a matter of time before it’s all gone. There are rumors that magic can be replenished, but these are dismissed as backwards conjecture.
In Fielle’s land, magic is more plentiful – but only because no one is allowed to use it. Readers are led to believe a war long ago drained almost all the magic from the land, so now only the Priests are permitted to steal it from the Angels.
Canavan does an amazing job creating the worlds these characters live in. The magic system in the novel is fascinating and unique. There’s no way to hide that magic has been used and at times the characters’ “reach” is not long enough to access it.
While the worlds are interesting, the pacing is a little slow. The first part of the book doesn’t have a lot of action, particularly Fielle’s half of the story. Tyen’s journey was more interesting throughout. The stakes felt much higher, and Vella is such an enchanting character. Her presence really elevates his story and their interactions are some of the best moments in the novel. As Fielle meets different people, her story improves greatly.
Another issue I had early on is that Tyen and Fielle are just so… good. They have a really hard time questioning, much less rebelling against, authority. To the reader, the Academy and Priests come across as corrupt and despicable the second we see them, so it’s hard to suspend disbelief that they would blindly believe in these systems. When their eyes finally do open, it’s such a relief. I could stop thinking about how naive they were, and start taking them seriously.
Cover Critique: The cover is pretty standard. Any book that has a thief or an assassin for some reason always has a hooded guy/girl on the cover, even if it has nothing to do with the story. It’s just a little boring. Those flames, though… those are really dumb looking. It just takes it down a notch.
Quick Version: Thief’s Magic is a beautifully written novel about what happens when magic is not in infinite supply and corrupt governments and churches control the use of the resource. Tyen and Fielle both notice this injustice — even though it takes them a while — and try to find ways to improve the situation. Tyen’s companion, Vella, is the most fascinating character and this book only scratches the surface of the secrets she contains. Even though it was slow to start, Thief’s Magic was a very engaging and entertaining read. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.
Score: 4/5 stars 😀
I reviewed this book last week for Girls in Capes! You should go check out their site; they are really awesome. They are also hosting a giveaway for a hardcover copy of this book until 5/16!