Thief’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
Length: 17 hours and 36 minutes
Also in this series: Angel of Storms
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.