‘Thief’s Magic’ is book one in a new probable trilogy by Trudi Canavan called the ‘Millennium’s Rule’.
This book is tricky to explain as it’s really two books in one. First, we follow Tyen who is training to become a sorcerer archaeologist who finds magical objects to take back to his university for study. While on a dig, he discovers a unique and magical book that absorbs your knowledge and memories if you touch it, while not harming you in order to add to her store of knowledge. This book can then answer any questions that it contains the answers to by writing within its blank pages and it cannot lie. Oh and it happens that this book was made using a woman so she calls herself Vella.
The second story is about Rielle, who also lives in the same world or, one very similar to it, as it also contains magic and stain. In Rielle’s world, it’s against the law to be able to use magic if you’re not a priest and, unfortunately, she can use magic so must hide this ability. We follow Rielle through her daily life hiding her magic and learning more about her world and that’s pretty much it in terms of story.
This book really does feel like an introduction to the next book in the series as we really don’t find out much plot or reason for the book at all until the last 100 pages or so. We just skip between Tyen and Rielle, who never actually meet in this book, following their lives and learning more about the worlds they live in.
Firstly, I wish that Canavan would put maps into her books as I’m always getting lost and confused while reading them. She mentions lot of different places and countries and I have little to no idea of how they relate geographically. Plus maps are always good in a fantasy book.
I liked the way that Canavan explained the way that magic exists and works in this world, that it’s like another part of the atmosphere that only magic users can feel and ultimately see. Basically, magic flows around the world from places that are high up to those that are lower much like water. When someone uses magic, they then leave behind a patch where there is no magic which is called a stain. The one thing people in this world don’t know is where magic comes from, which is a problem as they are running low on it, especially in the cities where magic is used much like electricity.
However, even though the magic was interesting and I liked reading about the different worlds and the lives of Tyen and Rielle, I did find myself wondering what the point of this book was. It just seemed to have no definite plot other than teaching the reader some basic bits about the world and maybe making us feel for the two characters. I found it to be really slow and ploddy right up until the last 100 or so pages where suddenly we discovered some reasons for the next book! I would not recommend this book as something to read if you’re feeling at all tired, it will send you to sleep. But it is pretty comforting and no sort of peril happens to the main characters, so it’s not too scary.
Having said all that, I do want to read the next book in the series as this one does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger for both characters as they’re both facing brave new worlds and adventures, but I won’t go into the next book expecting excitement.
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(pub: Orbit, 2014. 553 page hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-356-50110-9)