Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

June 8, 2014
Thief’s Magic by Trudi CanavanThief's Magic by Trudi Canavan
Narrator: Grant Cartwright, Hannah Norris
Series: Millennium’s Rule #1
Also by this author: Angel of Storms
Published by Orbit on May 27th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 17 hours and 36 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Angel of Storms

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The beginning of an all new epic fantasy series by international bestseller, Trudi Canavan.

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 an 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... and not even the people they trust.

Sometimes I really crave a good character driven book. I want to experience the story from the central character, feel and understand them, get inside their head. This was exactly that (plus magic and a cool new world). True there are two POVs in this, but they are actually self-contained stories with no intersection or overlap. Yet.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book. I read the Black Magician Trilogy, and enjoyed it, but at the same time, I wasn’t crazy about some parts, particularly romance wise. This left me rating the Black Magician as a good/enjoyable, yet average series. And I had heard that the subsequent books after the trilogy were not as good. So, while the cover of Thief’s Magic certainly caught my eye, I decided to wait until I read a few reviews before reading this one myself. I read positive things, and wanted a character driven story, so this seemed like the perfect fit. Definitely glad I did.

As I mentioned earlier, this book is really two stories told in one book. Sections alternate between the two main characters, Tyen and Rielle.

Tyen is a student studying sorcery and archeology. While on an expedition (which essentially is grave robbing in the name of ‘study’), he finds a quite unusual artifact. A book, that originally looked blank, turns out to be sentient and can correspond with Tyen, reading his thoughts whenever he was touching it. With his discovery, comes a wash of conflicting emotions that makes him evaluate his loyalty to the school and their rules versus following his heart for what he feels is right. When his first section ended and I had to start learning about Rielle, truthfully, I was disappointed.

Rielle’s storyline has two major components. The first is hiding her ability to see the voids left behind after someone has used magic. The premise here is that for someone to use magic, they must pull it from the source surrounding them. This leaves what they call a ‘stain’, a footprint left behind caused of the absence of magic. Since magic is strictly forbidden except for priests (who are always male), to acknowledge a women can see stain (not in and of itself a crime) could complicate her life. It might not be illegal, but is certainly not socially acceptable either. The other major component of Rielle’s story line is a budding romance with a local artist. Since Rielle’s parents have sent her to a school with what is essentially the upper class with plans of her marrying ‘up’, marrying ‘down’ with an artist for love is not at what they expect (or can accept) her to do. I can go either way when a book has a strong romance element to it. This one? It worked for me quite well. It may have been a bit sudden, but I got over it and had to root for the pair!

By the time I got to the end of Rielle’s first section and I had to go back to Tyen, I was once again (briefly) disappointed. What wound up happening is each section I read, I would want to keep reading. I would get over it rather quickly as I remembered where I left of with the other POV and realized I got to make progress over there again. This is actually a great sign for me. I was fully invested in both storylines, and neither was ‘filler’ while I waited to get back to the other.

I know not everyone is a fan of books that start as pretty much multiple stories that have no known connection for the reader yet. It is actually like being given two completely distinct stories in one book. But I actually quite enjoy this. I enjoy getting to know the characters individually, understand their background before they come to some common ground. I enjoy speculating about how, when, where and why the storylines will intersect, if the characters will meet or if the one story is really just creating a situation that impacts the other storyline. There are so many possibilities, that even if I have my own ideas, I won’t know until I read on. What Canavan has given us in this first book is a great look at two characters and how their lives have been completely upheaved, sending them in directions they could never have imagined at the start of the book.

I am excited to see where their journeys take them and what lies in store for them in the future. I love that I really enjoyed both story lines and did not have a strong preference for either. Whenever I would get to the end of a characters section, I would be disappointed I couldn’t keep reading, but then would be consoled, because I got to continue the other I had to put on hold for a bit. So while I may have been unsure about reading this one, I am definitely reading the next.

I also will add a brief mention that I mainly listened to the audiobook of this (I did read parts as well). The audiobook was very well done. Both narrators did a fantastic job, and made it a very easy/enjoyable listen.



  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) June 8, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I knew this dealt with two separate story lines but I didn’t realize that the stories didn’t intersect at all.
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  • Jessica @ Rabid Reads June 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I actually quite enjoy the split, nebulously connected stories scenario too. One of my favorite YA fantasy series (Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey) is written that way, and I loved the slow revealing of connectedness. And I can always go for a character driven book 😉 This will be my first Canavan, but I just moved it from the archive to my actual kindle, so hopefully I’ll be able to get to it soon 😉 Great review!
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  • Mogsy June 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about The Black Magician trilogy – actually to this day I still have yet to read beyond book one, it’s just one of those books that was good enough but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue. It was also a bit YA-ish for me, which normally isn’t a problem, but wasn’t what I expected. In fact, I think the trilogy has since been remarketed for YA.

    Anyway, I think Thief’s Magic was more up my alley. Definitely more adult, and had deeper themes and more complex relationships. I felt the same way as you regarding being really drawn into each character’s story, it was really hard to get pulled away when we had to alternate between them! I’m glad the audiobook was good, I might think about grabbing it too, even though I’ve read it already – with whispersync it’s only $3 and change! Considering I got the ebook for $2.99, what a deal.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Yep, Black Magician was definitely a bit too YA-ish for me. It definitely has an audience, I just wasn’t the best fit for it.

      As for the alternating, I have to confess a couple of times I was tempted to ‘skip’ and stay with one character. But decided not to, because first, I was afraid I might spoil something for myself, and two, I would remember I really wanted to know what was happening with the other character as well. I got the whisper sync and the ebook deal as well! It was hard not to, I figure I got both for less than the cost of a normal book.
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  • Lynn June 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    This was my first Trudi Canavan book and I thought it got off to a good start. I completely agree with your review. Very character lead and I sort of resented the break from each character every time it occurred but usually pretty soon got over that feeling. I suppose it is a bit odd that, apart from the magical elements, the stories haven’t crossed over at all but it certainly adds to the suspense and longing for the next book – so good plan really! I liked the way that Tyen’s storyline just started straight away whilst Rielle’s was a slow burner.
    Will definitely look forward to No.2.
    Lynn 😀
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  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) June 9, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Same here on the romance element aspects going either way for me. I haven’t read this one yet but I’m hoping that works for me because i have to admit more and more to myself these days that I really do enjoy romance in my SFF I just like it to be well done! Maggie and her husband both devoured this so I hope that means I will as well.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

      I’m looking forward to seeing your review. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I think Maggie’s reviews was one of the ones that convinced me to read it when I did. (hers and Mogsy’s).
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  • Carmel @ Rabid Reads June 10, 2014 at 9:06 am

    This isn’t my typical read, however I’ve read too many glowing reviews for this book to not give it a second look. I was already intrigued by the dual POV’s, but learning that there’s two narrators as well is fantastic. Sold!
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  • Anya June 19, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Oh interesting, I didn’t realize this one had two PoV that didn’t connect up in this first book. I feel like that might annoy me as a reader if I didn’t know it going in since I generally expect them to overlap beautifully at the end. I wonder how it will proceed in the series!
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