The chunky format of The Magic Thief, now popular for books in which magic plays a predominant role, announces the first volume in a new trilogy, and the design and the illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo reinforce the desired effect. Recounted by Connwaer, a thief, which as he tells us, is much like being a magician, this young narrator draws the reader into the mystery of where all the disappearing magic in Wellmet is going. Connwaer, has, in fact, magical powers, and becomes apprenticed to wizard Nevery who somewhat reluctantly takes him on as his apprentice.
Prineas has taken the usual mix for this genre of a city, somewhere between medieval and Victorian in atmosphere, a school for wizards, a cast of characters from which it is not always initially clear, who are the goodies and the baddies, and an engaging young protagonist learning about magic.
She stirs it well, keeping the action moving along at a nice pace, providing lively dialogue, and a change of perspective every now and then with an extract from Nevery’s diary, letters and ‘notes to self’. Until the trilogy is complete, it is difficult to give a verdict, but this volume will most likely give fans of the genre a desire for more, and indeed, because it is less convoluted than many others of its kind, may recruit readers hesitant about fantasy.
The cast of characters at the end of this volume is useful, but would be of more benefit at the beginning.