Review: Thief’s Magic. Millennium’s Rule 1 by Trudi Canavan

Thief’s Magicthiefs magic

561 pages
Orbit
published in 2014

1. Thief’s Magic
2. Angel of Storms
3. Successor’s Son (2016)

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.

Thief’s Magic focuses on two different characters – Tyen and Rielle, who live in different worlds and tells us their story. First we meet Tyen, a student of magic and archaeology (sounds nice, doesn’t it?). Right in the beginning he finds a magical book. But not just a book that contains spells & secrets. The book was once a person and collects as well as gives on information. Tyen can communicate with her (yes, it’s a girl called Vella) and does so without thinking about any consequences. I liked the idea of a book that is alive, it reminded me of Tom Riddle’s diary. But what I didn’t like is, that Tyen trusts Vella immediately and doesn’t consider that she might have bad intentions. I thought that was a bit naive. Didn’t he learn from Harry Potter? Don’t trust books that  talk to you!

Tyen can use magic, but how exactly he does that, is not explained properly. What we know is, that he can move himself and objects and hold them up in the air. Magic is everywhere around people in the air and if it gets used it will be replaced by a kind of black spot. The more magic is used, the bigger the spots and they only fill up with magic very slowly. In Tyen’s world, where machines are powered by magic, magic is in danger of running out.

I found the setting very interesting, as I like steampunk-y fantasy worlds, but unfortunately a lot of things are only mentioned shortly and the author doesn’t give us many details about the setting. I don’t know how exactly Tyen uses magic as well as other ways to use it. I would have liked to know more about this in particular as apparently people can use magic in different ways. Tyen stays quite bland throughout the book, we actually only know that he is talented when it comes to his magical abilities and that he’s from a poor family. I would have liked him to be more interesting and complex.

I found many parallels between Tyen’s storyline and Sonea’s, especially in the first book of the Black Magician trilogy. Tyen gets betrayed and is on the run. This time not for half of the book but the whole one. He always just gets away from his followers until the end & the final showdown. I found it a bit frustrating as I hate reading about characters running away from characters for too long. Just get away at one point or get caught..

Rielle, the second main character, lives in a world where people believe that magic belongs to angels and only priests are allowed to use it. If you are none of those, you get punished if you use it, but it’s worse if you are a woman. For me, Rielle was more interesting than Tyen and I enjoyed reading about her life much more although there’s not much action going on at first. She finds out, that she is able to see  & use magic and finds herself caught in a story of lies to keep herself save from the priests. There is also a lovestory involved and a lot of emphasis is put on arts. People believe that creativity helps the use of magic.

In the end I must say that both storylines seem more like introductions to the ‘real’ story that will probably start in the second book. I will probably not read it, as the ending did not make me curious and I wasn’t blown away by the whole story.

Some more observations:

  • I noticed that there were a lot of repetitions of the same words or phrase. So often that I noticed and was a bit annoyed.
  • Some scenes were really funny, but probably not intended to be so. Especially a scene with Rielle and that creepy Stalker-monk. I don’t wanna give it away though 😉

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