Thief’s Magic. Book Review

17302559THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan
Orbit, h/b, 560pp, £20
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Tyen is a trainee sorcerer on an archaeological dig and needs to find something of worth on this research trip to take back to the Academy. He did his research, calculated where he would most likely find such a treasure, and now he has uncovered something unique. The treasure, however, may not be what he expected, and he faces a critical decision: should he turn his find over to his professors, or hold on to it until he understands it more fully?

Rielle is young, a little naïve, perhaps – nothing you wouldn’t expect from her upbringing – but she hides a secret: she can see Stain, the marks that magic leaves behind. Concealed from the Priests, her ability to see magic is a danger, but not one she ever expected to come to fruition. Rielle’s life is about to change, and what she has always been taught of right and wrong will be tested.

Thief’s Magic introduces us to a world among worlds that is still being explored by its various inhabitants, and thus by the reader, and all involved are only at the beginning of understanding it. Magic’s limitations quickly become clear while its benefits and applications are revealed more slowly, gradually disclosing how vast this world and its possibilities are.

With a witty, warm voice, Tyen is just the kind of hero you would expect in a Canavan story and is a delightful contrast to his counterpart, the treasure, who has a sharp tongue and a disturbingly sad creation story that evokes the sense that a far grander and complex story is to come in the rest of this series. That Tyen and Rielle’s plot threads remain entirely separate so far is also indicative of that.

In terms of narrative and themes, this book gives us everything you would expect from this author: an exploration of wealth and divisions in society between those who have and those who have not; the importance of learning and an educational system that is both robust and flawed, available to some and not others; and relationships that are examined and tested. Fans will be thrilled with the start of what looks set to be an immersive series.