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.
Trudi Canavan was born in Kew, Melbourne, and grew up in Ferntree Gully, a suburb at the foothills of the Dandenongs.
In 1999 she won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story with “Whispers of the Mist Children”. In the same year she was granted a writers residency at Varuna Writers’ Centre in Katoomba, New South Wales.
In November 2001, The Magicians’ Guild was first published in Australia. The second book of the trilogy, The Novice, was published in June 2002 and was nominated for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. The third book The High Lord was released in January 2003 and was nominated for the Best Novel Ditmar category. All three books entered Australian top ten SF bestseller lists.
The Black Magician Trilogy reached the international market in 2004, published by HarperCollins’ EOS imprint in North America and Orbit Books in the UK. The trilogy is now rated by Nielsen BookScan as the most successful debut fantasy series of the last 10 years.
Trudi’s second trilogy, Age of the Five, has also enjoyed bestselling success. Priestess of the White reached No.3 in the Sunday Times hardback fiction bestseller list, staying in the top ten for six weeks.
In early 2006 Trudi signed a seven-figure contract with Orbit to write the prequel and sequel to the Black Magician Trilogy. The prequel, The Magician’s Apprentice was released in 2009 and won the Best Fantasy Novel category of the Aurealis Awards.
Trudi Canavan is a new author to me. She has a very accessible, cosy writing style, suitable for YA fantasy. I'd recommend for fans of Tamora Pierce and/or Mercedes Lackey.
In this book we have two stories:
In one, we are introduced to a steampunk/magical world. A young student of magic named Tyen discovers a powerful book while on an archaeological expedition. It's not just a book - it contains the consciousness of a woman, Vella, imprisoned in this form by a ruthless sorcerer long centuries before, and imbued with the ability to glean the knowledge of anyone who touches her. However, Tyen's professor turns out to be ruthless as well, and as he tries to gain the book's knowledge for himself, Tyen finds himself framed for a crime, kicked out of school, and fleeing for his life.
In the other story, we have a more 'traditional' fantasy setting. Rielle lives in a land where the use of magic is reserved for priests alone. Others found using magic secretly are subject to arrest and unknown punishments. Therefore, Rielle has always hidden her natural talents in that direction. At first, magic seems like the least of her worries. Her social-climbing parents have enrolled her in a young ladies' school where her colleagues treat her with ill-concealed disdain. Caught under the weight of her parents' expectations, Rielle ends up running off to become the lover of a poor artist. But will her lover treat her own artistic ability with the respect she deserves?
I'm sure you're familiar with stories where two different POV characters are introduced; where separate storylines are created and developed before being woven together. Well, in this book, the two stories never come together. They don't mirror one another, they don't comment on each other. They take place in two different worlds and they are totally unconnected. Now, since there's that "#1" up there in the subtitle, I'm certain there will be a sequel where Tyen and Rielle meet. But it doesn't happen in this book - which means that the whole format of intercutting the stories with each other doesn't work. They should simply have been presented as two separate stories.
However, I'd still be happy to find out what happens to both - or either - of the characters next.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Orbit for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.
I was very excited when I first heard about Trudi Canavan’s Thief’s Magic, and doubly more so when I discovered it was going to be an introduction to a brand new universe we’ve never seen before. I’m not completely unfamiliar with the author’s work, having read The Magician’s Guild, book one of her Black Magician trilogy, but knowing that she has two series and a couple more novellas based in that world of Kyralia which I haven’t even yet come close to finishing, I was glad to have a fresh start in Millennium’s Rule.
Magic and magic users seem to feature strongly in Canavan’s books, and that’s no exception here. At the beginning of this novel we meet Tyen, a young archaeology student (though calling what he and his professor and fellow students do “Archaelogy” might be a bit of stretch…they’re more like tomb robbers) who discovers a sentient book while excavating an ancient tomb. The book can read the minds of anyone who makes physical contact, communicating through text appearing on the pages. Calling herself Vella, the book claims to have once been a sorcerer-woman, until she was transformed into her current form by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. She has been gathering and storing information through the ages ever since. Sensing bad things to come if Vella were to ever fall into the wrong hands, Tyen decides to keep her to himself for now, but as we all know, a secret this big is always bound to come out sooner or later.
Meanwhile in another world, a dyer’s daughter named Rielle harbors a secret of her own. From a young age, she has had the ability to sense magic – and hence the potential to use it. However, Rielle’s society could not be any more different from Tyen’s, where magic is used freely (and some might say TOO freely) to power their fantastical machines. Instead, the priests of Rielle’s world teach that to use magic is the equivalent to stealing from the Angels themselves. Anyone caught committing this crime is published severely then cast out from the city to live out the rest of their lives in a prison. Rielle is therefore all too happy to just keep her head down, hoping to also to do what her family wants of her and find a prospective husband. But then she meets and falls in love with a local artist named Izare, which is patently NOT what her parents had in mind. Oh, hello, Forbidden Love.
What do these two plot lines have to do with each other? Very little, actually. Reading Thief’s Magic felt essentially like reading two-books-in-one. The novel’s structure can be a little jarring if you’re not expecting it. We first start with Part I which follows Tyen’s story, and several chapters after that Part II begins with Rielle’s. The novel continues like this, alternating back and forth between their narratives. Actually getting the hang of this perspective-jumping isn’t all that difficult, but Canavan likes to tease, and she seems to have this knack for choosing the most suspenseful moments to make the switch between characters. Often, I would find myself pulled away into Rielle’s story just as I was getting completely drawn into Tyen’s, or vice versa. This format was both simultaneously addicting and frustrating, though I have to admit I kind of liked it.
When it comes down to it, I’m just completely hooked by these two characters and their respective worlds. Both Tyen and Rielle are written very well, even though occasionally their naiveté would grate on my nerves. However, their decisions – misguided as they are sometimes – always led to interesting things happening. I’m fascinated by the differences in their cultures and how each of them view magic. I love that their own personal conflicts take them on completely disparate adventures, so that the individual challenges they face differ profoundly as well. I’m especially intrigued by Rielle and her struggles in a society where unauthorized use of magic is treated as the greatest sin, where women like her have very little choice and practically no future when they are discovered to possess magical abilities.
I don’t know if Tyen and Rielle’s paths will ever cross, though something tells me that they will – but that particularly story is not for this book to tell. At this point, I feel I’ve been given enough information to formulate a tenuous theory on how the two characters’ worlds are linked, but for the most part we don’t get too many answers on that front. I really enjoyed following both story lines, but if you’re the kind of reader who prefers self-contained story arcs or at least some closure at the end of a novel, you won’t really find it here. It’s a factor to think about, though I already know I will be picking up the next book in spite of it. Thief’s Magic may have all the hallmarks of a “Book One”, but Canavan has crafted a very fine beginning (technically, TWO very fine beginnings) and I want to find out what happens to both Tyen and Rielle.
Sadly the only word I can think of to describe this book is dull. And reading over 500 pages of dullness took a lot of perseverance. It is not a bad book, it just never captured my interest, the characters were bland and not much happened for page after page after page. The possibilities were all there for something really good but for me it just never happened.
I have finally FINALLY finished this book! I had just over a week off of college with nothing arranged yet in that week I failed to finish a single book.. Because I don't want to read this again..
Ok now on to the actual review..
This book started off alright but I've got to say there was a strangeness surrounding all the events and characters. I did find it hard on more than one occasion to connect to the characters and their situations. They were just crafted in such a strange way and it felt like there was no depth to them. The writing style itself also lacked in character and while I was reading it I became distracted with other things hence the reason it took me so long to finish this.
I also felt there could have been more description and world building around the two settings. Part of enjoying a high fantasy novel for me is learning about a totally different world with a different culture and belief system. Things like that give me a sense of wonder but there was hardly any in this book.
Despite all the boredom I felt, I might read the next book. This is because I'm intrigued about a few things mentioned at the end and I genuinely am curious as to what will become of these two characters in their new settings. I'm also interested to see what becomes of Tyen's promise to Vella.... For all I know this book might have just been a prologue and maybe things will heat up later on.. Or maybe there are better high fantasies out there.
It's safe to say that I loved Trudi Canavan's first series The Black Magician Trilogy and I've read it over and over (seriously, my first copies are falling apart I think I've gone through 3 of each book) and recommended it to all of my friends who loved it too and fell in love with her world and her writing. But then I kind of fell out of love with her as I read her newer works.
But oh my god, I am back in love. Truly, madly, deeply. This is definitely one of those high-fantasy books that you can read again and again. I LOVED the world, the characters, the atmosphere, the way it made me think, the subtle way feminist-issues were raised. I loved everything.
I found this very different from her previous books, but also very similar in a way to BMT. It had that same magic that hooked me right from the start.
The two narratives running through this book were simply stunning. Every time it came to where the narrative switched worlds I would cry out in indignation because the cliff hangers, oh dear god the cliff hangers. This was an edge of your seat, stay awake five hours past your bed time, forget to eat or drink, truly epic fantasy. This writing is breathtaking and the pacing of the story works so well. There is love, lust, hate, deceit, loyalty, surprises, rejections, tragedy, hope, adventure, drama and magic.
I couldn't get enough of this book and now I can't wait until the next one. I need to know what happens to Tyen and Rielle and how/if/when/where their worlds collide. I will DEFINITELY re-read this, it was so freaking awesome.
Thank you so much to Little, Brown UK for my e-galley. I fangirled like mad when I was accepted and now I can't even put some order to my thoughts because this book was so freaking good.
I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
My first Trudi Canavan! I bought this out of curiosity several years ago, started and dropped it several times, then was just about to remove it from my kindle and gave it one last chance. I loved it! I found both T yen and Rielle's story equally engrossing too. Richly imagined worlds, strong characters and good plotting. I call that a win!
I've been looking forward to this new series from Trudi Canavan because I really enjoyed her excellent Black Magician trilogy. However, I was somewhat disappointed that it is a fairly long book (560 pages) where not too much happens.
The book is comprised of two stories, that of Tyen, a young magic and archaeology student and Rielle, daughter of a wealthy family who own a large dyeworks. They live in different countries but have the common problem that the world supply of magic is running out. In Tyen's country, magic is used as the energy to power machines and advancing technology is rapidly depleting supplies. In Rielle's country, magic is conserved by only allowing priests to use it. Ordinary people caught using magic are labelled tainted, put in chains s and taken away to a secret location by the priests. I had expected that these two story threads would link up at some stage but that did not happen in this volume.
The book started well with a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' type scene where Tyen, his classmates and tutor, looking for treasures in newly discovered tombs have to flee when chased by angry locals. However, this turns out to just be a device for Tyen to discover and then learn to use a very special magic book. This ultimately leads to him running away from the Academy where he is a student and the rest of the book is about his (fairly boring) journey to get to a country where he can be free to learn and practice magic.
Rielle's story is also fairly drawn out. She has fallen in love with an artist, a lower class of man than her family will allow her to marry. She knows her ability to detect when magic has been used must be kept a secret but she ultimately lets down her guard when she is with him and is captured by the priests and taken away.
Whether these two will meet up in the future we don't know but my guess is that this first instalment in the series is setting the scene for what is to come and hopefully the next volume will be better paced and more engrossing. Despite it being a long book and centred on these two characters I didn't feel there was a lot of character development so that they are still very flat and I don't feel any emotional investment in them at this stage. Hopefully, that will also improve as the series develops.
The final section of the book did finally provide a bit more action and interest, propelling Tyen and Rielle into new places with the promise of more adventures in the next book.
Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait. :) Update 6th April: I JUST RECEIVED AN ARC OF THIS. I AM SO DAMN EXCITED, IT'S MY FIRST ONE EVER AND FOR A BOOK BY MY FAVOURITE AUTHOR. ISN'T IT PRETTY? :D Thank you to the Little, Brown Book Group for providing it.
Intelligent world building and complex storytelling at its best. Thief’s Magic is an epic adventure/fantasy novel that follows a young man named Tyen struggling to make his mark on the world. His friends have always seen him as a goodie goodie who follows all the rules and procedures. But when Tyen discovers a magical book on an archeology trip, bound with human hair and skin with the consciousness of a woman named Vella trapped within the pages, Tyen feels the impulse to break the rules for once. Findings are supposed to be handed straight to the Academy, but instead Tyen covets the book for himself. He soon realises that there is more to Vella than meets the eye, she’s lived though centuries collecting a vast array of knowledge, has travelled though many different worlds and is able to consume the entire knowledge a person possesses with a single touch. In the right hands she is a valuable source of history and knowledge; in the wrong ones she is a danger to everyone. When the academy realise what Tyen is hiding it will set off a dangerous chain of events forcing him to leave the only life he has ever known. Meanwhile in an alternate world, a girl named Rielle is struggling to fit into the constraints of her life as a rich dyers daughter. Her parents are determined to improve her prospects by matching her with a rich man. But Rielle harbours a dangerous secret; she can see stain, a residue left behind after the use of magic. In her world, those who use magic are exiled and labeled the tainted as punishment for stealing the power of the Angels. But when Rielle collides with an attractive lowly painter, her secret becomes threatened.
Once again Canavan’s writing is sublime. I never tire of her smooth, evenly paced prose which always lull me into a sense of calm. I admired her every sentence and turn of phrase. She whisked me away with her engaging style, drawing me into the struggles of the two leading protagonists. As I have noted with Canavan’s previous works her writing is quite meandering but in a pleasant way; she is not a fast paced writer but neither is she slow. Canavan gives enough detail to create a clear and rich fantasy world which naturally slows the pace a little, however, her worlds and the characters living within them are all the more satisfying because of it and ultimately this is why I feel her style works so well. I was also impressed that the author developed an entirely new explanation as to how magic worked in this new series, clearly setting it apart from her previous works. I love that Canavan writes in a way that makes fantasy accessible to any reader. Her books are intricate but not too overwhelming which I believe is a concern that puts many off high fantasy. Canavan traverses the genre with ease, her expertise showing though the pages so that readers will never find themselves feeling too daunted or lost. The chapters of Thief’s Magic flew by and before I knew it I was slowing down my reading pace in the hopes of drawing out the story just a little longer because I wasn't quite ready to let go of it yet.
The plot of this novel had me hooked from day one. The narrative switches back and forth between Tyen and Rielle’s perspectives and I liked that as a reader I was treated to big chunks of each characters’ viewpoint in one go rather than having alternating chapters, it gave me the opportunity to become invested in each protagonist and their separate worlds. I was drawn to Tyen’s adventures instantly, his discovery of the mysterious book, the set up of the academy he studied at and his world’s views on magic. Vella was a regular enigma for me. I never knew whether Tyen should trust the book, unsure if he was being lead astray through manipulation. However, the problem with the parallel storylines for me was that I was far more invested in one than in the other. It took me longer to warm to Rielle’s tale, it seemed slow moving in comparison and I didn't find her predicaments or world setup quite as interesting as Tyens. However, as the story progressed the events in Rielle’s world escalated increasing my interest. I soon found myself worrying for her safety desperate to see how she would get out of trouble.
The world building in this novel was fascinating and probably my favourite aspect of Thief’s Magic. Both Tyen and Rielle’s worlds were different and unique. Tyen’s lives in the midst of invention and discovery, there are fancy machines and aircarts, flying contraptions powered by magic and I definitely felt there was a slight underlying steampunk vibe. However, their gluttonous use of magic is at a cost because they are slowly running out of it. While Tyen’s world celebrates magic, Rielle’s shuns it. Her city is more hot and desert like, controlled by priests who alone have permission to use magic.There are clear class and gender divides, with some great feminist undertones weaved in. Everyday people are punished for using magic and understand little about how it works. What I found most interesting about the two worlds was considering their wildly different setups there were also a lot of similarities between them that had been interpreted in different ways according to each world’s individual cultures. It’s so clever because as a reader you can see logically how their worlds could have developed to become so different, each belief system seems equally plausible and believable, functioning successfully with the materials available. As a reader these hints begin to provide subtle clues that may lead to the understanding about the history of magic and how to solve the problems each world is facing, with an omnipresent view you start to see the links where the characters cannot. It’s really exciting to picture where this series is going to go, there is already so much opportunity to expand the story in future books, with an endless expanse of new worlds with mysteries and myths to unearth.
Tyen was by far my favourite character in Thief’s Magic, his love of knowledge, will to succeed and his determination to become the best he could be were inspiring and all traits I could relate to. He was faced with a great deal of moral dilemma’s and was forced to reevaluate his entire belief system and everything he had been raised to believe. In many ways, Rielle has to come to terms with these things too. She has always tried to do what was right and please her parents and the priests that rule her land but soon she finds herself longing for things they would not find acceptable. However, I didn’t warm to her character as much if I’m honest, I found her a little annoying and the romance that blossomed between her and the painter felt hollow and underdeveloped to me. I still found her story as a whole interesting though. Kilraker, Tyen’s mentor was great fun as a character, I liked how much of an enigma he was and I had fun trying to work him out and Sa-Gest made the perfect villain, deceptive and despicable in every way. Vella the book was a great character too, her lack of human emotion made her unintentionally funny and blunt at the most unusual times.
Overall Thief’s Magic was a brilliant, engaging read and everything I had hoped it would be. Although I enjoyed The Traitor Spy Trilogy I was yearning for something new and fresh, Thief’s Magic certainly ticked all those boxes. The world building was intelligent and complex, the plot gripping and the characters entertaining!
After the somewhat disappointing second magician's trilogy by Trudi Canavan I had high hopes for her new book series in a completely new universe. And it started out great. I liked the magic system, which had a few similarities to the one used in her previous books, but far more worked out. Story wise I liked the first part with the introduction to the world and Tyen as well, but then I got to part Two and it all went downhill from there. The story about Rielle is just a unimaginative and cheese YA love story. The fact that everything just happens to her and she isn't striving to archive a goal makes this story even more uninteresting. Most of the time events are out of her control. Both main characters, as it turns out, are so naive it often times hurt reading reading about their decision making (oh, they tried to have me killed, sure I can trust them this time, they obviously act for the greater good). My main quarrel with the whole book is that there are no intersections between the two plots. Ok there are a few mentions of the past events giving a better general view, but besides this the stories have absolutely nothing to do with each other and never cross paths. And the endings to both plot strands were equally dissatisfying and didn't feel like a proper ending, more like a cut so that the book isn't getting too long.
The premise of the book is actually pretty great, but I think Trudi Canavan botched the start completely. I will give the next book a try though, maybe she can turn things around.
This book just needed to stick with the young man journey which was interesting. Rielle story was boring from the start and i couldnt get into it. I felt like i was reading two different fantasy novels(which rielle story was an awful fantasy). i really dont know what to make of this book which was too long because both characters just kept repeating the same thoughts in different ways which got annoying. Fantasies use to have great adventures with great characters and worlds that u could imagine urself in as the adventure went along. I just dont get these fantasy novels anymore. They lack a good adventure,character development and most importantly creativity
“My first Trudi Canavan novel is mostly a success. Smart, well written and compelling Thief’s Magic may not be perfect, but it is one of the better Fantasy books you’ll read this year and I can certainly recommend it.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, discovers a sentient book in an ancient tomb. Vella was once a young sorcerer-maker, until she was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been gathering information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.
Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests since a terrible war depleted all but a little magic, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows from her ability to sense the stain it leaves behind that she has a talent for it, and that there are people willing to teach her how to use it, should she ever need to risks the Angels’ wrath.
Further away, a people called the Travelers live their entire lives on the move, trading goods from one world to another. They know that each world has its own store of magic, reducing or increasing a sorcerer’s abilities, so that if one entered a weak world they may be unable to leave it again. Each family maintains a safe trading route passed down through countless generations and modified whenever local strife makes visiting dangerous. But this is not the only knowledge the Travelers store within their stories and songs, collected over millennia spent roaming the universe. They know a great change is due, and that change brings both loss and opportunity.
Trudi Canavan has always been one of those authors who has been high on my to-read list but someone whose work I’ve never actually read. When Thief’s Magic came around as the start of an exciting looking series with lots of potential I leapt at the chance, and was really glad I did, with the focus split between two characters making this a very good read and something that is most likely going to be one of the strongest fantasy titles of the year. It’s certainly got me interested in reading more of Canavan’s work and I’ll be interested to see where she can take the series from here, with the second book Angel of Storms having an expected publication date of August 2015 according to Goodreads. Needless to say, I will be picking that one up for sure based on the strength of this title.
There are several strong things about this book. The world building is done cleverly and imaginatively – not only do we get one fleshed out world with its laws and settings, but two - for the two main characters that are on offer start in entirely different settings and it’s great to see the creative display of Canavan on offer here as the despite the large attention to world building, the pace doesn’t suffer, with the title managing to be a compelling and enthralling read despite this featuring two likable and sympathetic lead characters who you will be able to get behind.
Firstly we have Tyen, who studies Archaeology. In the process of excavating an ancient tomb he stumbles across a book that’s capable of communication with anyone who can touch it, and with the name of Vella – it gives Tyen a narrative that we follow for most of the book. It’s interesting to see how is character grows and develops over the course of the title and how he struggles with his choice to keep Vella a secret. Like all secrets, even the most well kept ones – they’re bound to come out sooner or later.
It isn’t long before we meet Rielle, and the differences between her world and Tyen’s come quickly. Whilst like Tyen, both of them are unfortunately and annoyingly naive in places, her world doesn’t ban magic and its inhabitants can use it freely. It’s interesting to see how this affects her world and the changes from Tyen’s are fascinating to see, which is great but comes at a cost, because the split between the two characters doesn’t always work. Just when you’re beginning to be invested in Tyen’s story the narrative switches to Rielle and then back again to Tyen, which can become frustrating in places especially as there’s no clear connection between the two characters.
However, if you can put that aside, then you’ll find Thief’s Magic a compelling read and hopefully the sequels will build on what this title has fleshed out for us. It’ll be great to return to this setting for sure and I can despite the problems recommend this book based on the strength of its characters and world building.
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for giving me this book to review.
Tyen is a student of archaeology and magic, living in a world where all machines are powered by magic, he finds a book which used to be a person called Vella. Since Vella can read the minds of anyone she touches and has to tell the truth, she has been collecting information which some people would do anything to get their hands on her, Tyen must find a way to protect her. In another world where only priests are allowed to use magic, and everyone else who uses it is stealing from the Angels, Rielle has always been able to see the stain left behind when someone has used magic. But when she is attracted to a man her family does not approve of, she is worried that the corrupter’s interest in her will lead her astray and she will face the angel’s fury.
Thief’s Magic is Trudi Canavan new fantasy trilogy and I loved it as it has action, fascinating and different worlds, romance and magic. The pacing is a bit slow to start but it really picks up and I struggled to put it down. It is told from the POV of both Tyen and Rielle, and I love how different the use of magic and the worlds are, as in Rielle’s world magic is seen as something holy which only angels and priests can use, however, in Tyen’s, magic is seen as a commodity.
I liked Rielle as she was kind and always wanted to do what was right and good, however, I got annoyed that she never asked questions and always believed what she was told instead of thinking for herself. I really liked Tyen as he comes across as proper but will always do what he thinks of as right even when others are against him, and will try to help those in need. I liked Vella but I hope we get to know her better in the next book.
I can’t wait to see what happens next to Tyen and to Rielle, and see what other worlds there are out there. I would recommend Thief’s Magic to anyone who enjoys fantasy books, especially those by Trudi Canavan.
Tyen, un joven estudiante de arqueología en la Academia se ha embarcado en una expedición donde encuentra un objeto que parece carecer de valor, pero que le cambiará la vida, un extraño libro en el que se encierra el espíritu de Vella, una hechicera cuya sabiduría se ha acumulado a lo largo de los años e incluye información sobre el fin de la magia en este mundo. Rielle es una joven que vive en un mundo donde el uso de la magia está regido por los sacerdotes y está totalmente prohibido para el resto de los habitantes. Ella siente que tiene habilidad para la magia y una persona en la ciudad puede estar dispuesta a enseñarle.
Me ha resultado una novela entretenida pero irregular. El estilo de Canavan hace que la lectura sea ligera y rápida, con una prosa bastante fluida y con mucho momento cliffhanger al final de cada parte, aunque algunos momentos creo que cae en una sobre información un tanto exagerada durante la narración, sobre todo al principio. A lo largo de todo el libro iremos conociendo que les sucederá a nuestros jóvenes protagonistas alternando una y otra historia en bloques de aproximadamente un centenar de páginas, y si bien yo esperaba que ambas historias terminarán confluyendo, se ve que de momento no es así.
El problema principal es que una historia me enganchaba y me gustaba, y la otra no tanto. La historia de Tyen es la más interesante, sus aventuras con viajes y huidas alocadas, con magia y personajes interesantes, con revelaciones y cavilaciones atractivas; en un mundo en plena revolución industrial donde las maquinas funcionan con magia. En cambio, la historia de Rielle no deja de ser más que un drama romántico de telenovela predecible desde los primeros momentos y donde se me hacía difícil avanzar en sus tramos, excepto en los capítulos finales del libro donde deja de lado ese romance y su trama se vuelve de mayor interés. Su mundo además, inspirado en parte de la cultura árabe, era menos interesante, los sacerdotes gobiernan y pueden usar la magia, mientras el resto si lo hace son llamados impuros y sometidos a encierro.
El sistema de magia es algo difuso, pero se basa en que la magia habita en los mundos y se deben canalizar los sentidos para proyectarte y absorberla, para después poder utilizarla. Creo que es interesante como se va a desarrollar en posteriores entregas el tema de la magia y su creación, algo que se toca sobremanera durante todo el libro y que a mi particularmente me interesaba. En cuanto a los dos personajes principales, Canavan utiliza un par de inocentes e ingenuos protagonistas que irán creciendo con el curso de los acontecimientos. No es algo que me suela desagradar, aunque hubo momentos de Rielle donde he sufrido por este defecto. Pese a eso, están bastante bien construidos, son coherentes y su evolución es palpable con el paso de los acontecimientos. A su vez algunos secundarios como Vella, Sa-Gest o Kilraker son bastante interesantes, y suman bastante a cada trama.
Mi primer Canavan ha resultado una historia entretenida por momentos, un buen pasatiempo y en cuyo tercio final se vuelve bastante trepidante e interesante. La autora se esfuerza por mostrarnos dentro de este volumen introductorio su universo, su magia y un par de protagonistas que nos servirán de guía durante la trilogía; y que personalmente, espero que se junten en algún momento. El epílogo deja la historia en un punto álgido que da ganas de continuar leyendo, aunque gracias a la edición de Fantascy podemos gozar de un fragmento de El ángel de las tormentas, la segunda parte.
Tyen is a student at the Academy, the only place in the Leratian Empire where magic can be properly investigated. Rielle is the daughter of a scorned but influential family of dyers, in a land where only priests are permitted to use magic. Both run afoul of the authorities, and must try to understand how to apply their magical abilities in difficult circumstances.
I quite liked Trudi Canavan's first (Black Magicians) series, though I know some found it overly romantic. Her second trilogy (Age of Five) was less compelling, and I skipped the third (Traitor Spy) completely.
In this latest offering, the first in the Millennium's Rule trilogy, Canavan treads familiar ground. Very familiar; in fact the first book has a very formulaic feel to it. Young people, oppression, misunderstanding, romance. The writing is generally quite good, but there are very few surprises in this novel. It's been slightly updated to include a nod to steampunk, and slightly more sex, but otherwise, it's ground we (and Ms. Canavan) have trodden before. Even the societal pressures (girls must marry, raise children, not speak; creative types are poor but happy) are from some decades back.
The book is further weakened by a particularly limp magic system. Not everyone can (or should) be Brandon Sanderson, with a painstakingly (sometimes painfully) logical mechanism for magic. But, aside from an interesting innovation on depletion and creation of magic (inconsistently applied), Canavan doesn't even do much hand-waving. It's the kind of magic where you just exert your will and things happen. That can be fine as well, but when magic is easy, there must be limitations or consequences. Here, there are social barriers, but few magical rules. There's a strong feeling that the rules are at the convenience of the author, rather than having any kind of internal logic. Some of the non-magic elements were equally non-credible or inconsistent. It makes for disappointing and unfulfilling reading.
These limitations are a shame, because otherwise, Canavan is generally a good writer (leaving aside some awkward infodumps). The characters are (within their tired settings) interesting, and the story ends with plenty of things that call for exploration. If Canavan had taken the time to try for something a little fresher, the story could have been very good. As it is, it's a decent but not compelling entry in the generic fantasy ranks; one that suggests Canavan either hasn't grown as an author, or isn't really trying.
I made it to the 83 percent of the book, but I can't keep reading when I have no interest of whatsoever when it comes to the story and the characters both.
The biggest problem I had was how flat the book is. I've read much worse over the years, but if a book is so flat that it can't hold my interest I can't give it more than 1.5 stars. I don't know if the final 20 percent is actually good, but the point is: a good chunk of the book made me completely uninterested in finishing this novel.
There is a lot of info dumping at first, which would have been kind of okay if it had stopped! But no, the info dumping goes on and on and on...and it bored me. The characters were really flat. At some point I was reading a sentence and I realised that I did not know whether I was reading a chapter in the male character's pov or the female's. And this is not okay. I understood which pov I was reading because the female character has a love interest and he was in the next scene. Considering how many good things I had heard about this author I'm disappointed. Thief's magic could have been much better; it did have an interesting premise, but the result wasn't as good as I expected and I can't ignore how boring this book was.
Tyen is a student of history at the influential Academy. When he falls foul of its politics and powers, he finds himself on the run, his fate now inextricably bound to a sentient book who calls herself Vella. Rielle is a socially oppressed young woman from a well-to-do family. When she inadvertently helps the authoritative priests to capture a ‘tainted’ (a person found using illegal magic), she begins a journey that will take her far from the life she has been raised to lead. Thief’s Magic is split equally between Tyen’s and Rielle’s perspectives. Although for the moment their stories remain separate, this grants the reader a comprehensive view of Canavan’s world.
It’s hard to fault Thief’s Magic on any of the obvious grounds. Its characters are appealing, pace generally good, its worldbuilding interwoven with the action. Canavan’s magic system is clever in its simplicity and sits at the heart of a cultural divide. She manages to achieve an enviable balance between magic and technology. Equally deft is her handling of religion, industry and empire, and the problems that result from their conflict.
The magic system isn’t flashy, which might not suit some tastes, but it is logical. In Tyen’s native Leratia, magic is widely used to power machines. Canavan neatly unites magic with technology to create an unusual society that requires both to function. We are told that magic exists all around us and that ‘Soot’ is the waste substance created whenever magic is depleted in an area. The machines expel Soot much as a factory chimney expels smoke.
Since the machines cannot function without it, Tyen’s city imposes strict rules on magic’s use. Magic becomes a hoarded, potentially finite substance, rather like a fossil fuel. There’s an intriguing theory surrounding its origin too: that magic is a by-product of human creativity. This theory is considered dangerously radical by the Academy, while in Rielle’s society, it’s held to be true.
These opposite beliefs greatly impact on Canavan’s protagonists and the rules of behaviour instilled in each by their respective cultures. Rielle – who has the potential to become a sorcerer herself – is especially affected by her society’s almost total ban on magic. Only the ruling priests are allowed to use magic without tainting themselves. Any other use is considered to be thieving from the Angels, mysterious deities whose laws are enforced by the priests.
The book’s title cleverly summarises both attitudes. In order to use magic, it must be stolen: in Tyen’s case, from his immediate vicinity. Rielle believes it must be taken from the Angels, a crime that will damn her in the afterlife. Whereas Tyen is an accomplished magic-user, Rielle’s ability causes her serious problems. It is central to her rebellion against family and culture, and provides her with an unwelcome reason to question the priests’ motives.
Speaking of rebellion, I initially found it hard to warm to either protagonist. Tyen’s perpetually guilty conscience irritated me during his early chapters. I tried to remind myself that it was pleasant to see a character with a solid sense of right and wrong, but Tyen came across as bit of a goody-goody, who was unrealistically forgiving. He became more appealing when events forced him to swallow some hard truths. In her defence, Rielle’s obedient nature is chiefly the result of oppression by a patriarchal society, which I suppose was the reason I didn’t readily identify with her. However, Canavan charts Rielle’s sexual awakening with poignancy and skill, resulting in a plausible development of character.
Rielle is not the only one to undergo a transformation. Tyen’s is less obvious and potentially less successful. He tends to be reactive rather than assertive, which isn’t a problem in itself, except that he doesn’t have an especially strong personality. However, his interaction with Vella – the book who was once a woman – more than makes up for it. Vella is the best thing about Thief’s Magic, which is strange considering she’s an object with no feelings. Her fascinating history and unusual relationship with Tyen kept me turning the pages.
So why 7/10?
I was unconvinced by characters Sezee and Vero, whose names I just had to look up for the purpose of this review. Clearly plot devices, they are ditched at the end of the book when their presence no longer serves a purpose. Their only real reason for entering the story is to provide the rather helpless Tyen with an opportunity to escape his pursuers. Both left me cold and I was glad to see the back of them.
Thief’s Magic is rigidly divided between protagonists who never meet. It feels as if you’re reading two separate books. This serves to make the ending anticlimactic and dilutes already unexciting scenes. Even if a book is part of a series, it ought to strive for a sense of integrity. I don’t mean to say it can’t end on a cliff-hanger, but a solid conclusion leaves a better impression than a few sentences signalling that the story isn’t over. The problem of abandoning Tyen and Rielle on the cusp of new lives is that it paints Thief’s Magic as an introduction, a prologue to the real story that is yet to come.
We have some slight, but unnecessary padding. The reader is treated to a lot of Tyen running away and Rielle making agonised journeys between her home and Izare’s before she decides to act. While these interim scenes provide opportunities for character development, the pace suffers as a result. I now also question whether the multiple-worlds idea is explored comprehensively enough, considering its vast implications and the concluding events of the book. I was under the initial impression that Rielle and Tyen lived in the same world, as Canavan gave no evidence to the contrary. (Feel free to advise me on this point).
And so to my chief reason: I wasn’t moved by this book. I found both Tyen’s and Rielle’s stories interesting. I liked the magic system and the role it played in the wider world. But…my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t engaged on an emotional level. That’s annoying because Thief’s Magic is a solid book from an accomplished author, whose prose is light and peppered with eloquent phrasing. However, I can’t help comparing Sonea (protagonist from The Black Magician Trilogy) to Tyen and Rielle, and finding myself rather less concerned about the fates of the latter. Nevertheless, I do recommend Thief’s Magic and hope you’ll read it in order to decide for yourselves.
SPOILER FREE Having purchased the third book of this series recently, I thought it was about time to read the first one, Thief’s Magic. The second best part about reading this book was that when I first bought it, about 4 years ago, I must have put £25 inside it – no idea why – but it was a nice surprise!
The best part, however, was obviously the book itself.
To anyone who knows me, It is no secret that Trudi Canavan‘s fantasy is what made me fall in love with the genre.
Her books are so accessible, relatable, and have a wonderful way of mirroring some of the issues cultures and societies around the modern world suffer from.
Thief’s Magic is no exception to what I have come to expect from Trudi Canavan’s work.
Rielle is a wonderful character She is so invested in her faith and struggles desperately not to disappoint her family or the Angels she worships – even though it is not her fault.
You could see her inner conflict and it was great to be inside her head. I did not see her character change very much in this first book, which is shame, but I am hoping she has more of a development in the second book.
Tyen’s character, in comparison, has a decent character arc Yes, it is rather subtle and not much is done with it, but again, I am hoping to see more development in the future.
The book as a whole feels less like the first book and more like the first few chapters of a story. I burnt through the book because of how easy it is to be lost in Canavan’s writing, but that did not hide that little of significance really happened. It felt like 500-odd pages of an infodump.
The worldbuilding is fantastic but the book seems to focus on that, rather than the stories themselves.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and I’m not upset that not much happened because it didn’t take long to read. If the book had been longer and more dense I would have struggled to see where it was going.
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 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.
‘Thief’s Magic’ by Trudi Canavan is the first in the Millennium’s Rule series. I’m not entirely sure, but it seems that this series is set in the same world as her previous series, The Black Magician trilogy and Traitor Spy – though perhaps in a world that has has become more developed.
We see a world that is currently in an industrial revolution that is powered by magic – there are machines, but they need a skilled man of magic to power them. Tyen is currently studying at the academy, worried that this is the life that awaits him – he would much prefer to be an adventurer, or, failing that, teach history at the academy. It is on an adventure with Professor Kilraker of archaeology that Tyen discovers a seemingly disappointing book. It’s not even jewel-encrusted or gold-embellished, and is even empty when he first opens it… that is until, words start appearing on the page.
The words tell him that the book is in fact made from human skin, hair, bones and tendons, and contains the spirit and thoughts of a woman called Vella, who was transformed into a book by one of history’s most powerful and feared sorcerers of their history. As long as the book is touching human skin, Vella is awake and aware, and able to absorb all knowledge from the person. She is already a wealth of knowledge, though sadly lacking the last few hundred years while she was trapped in the tomb Tyen discovered her in.
From there, Tyen’s life is turned upside down. He must give all discoveries to the Academy, but thinking of giving up Vella is a hard thing to come to terms with. When the Academy discover her existence, they think her evil for the secrets she could so easily gather, and then pass on without hindrance. Then when she goes missing from the vault she’s kept in, Tyen’s set up to take the fall… and with his future at stake, soon there’s only a few options left open to him…
Throughout the novel, it switches between that of two characters – Tyen, as described above, and then also Rielle, a girl situated elsewhere (they never meet in the novel) who, as a female, leads a life of rules and guidance, whether it be from her family or the priests that rule the land. Coming from a family of artisans she’s considered little more than worthless from the rich girls her age she must mingle with, but as her family are wealthy, she is held above the truly dirty, and is pushed from all sides to do the right thing at all times in order to keep her family’s name in good standing. That is, at least, until she meets a very good looking man, who is unfortunately, also an artist.
Combine the above with the fact she has a talent for magic, even though to use magic itself is considered to be stealing from the Angels, and we have an unfortunate life for Rielle. It truly doesn’t seem like a good land to be a woman, especially one that can use magic, and see the taint it leaves behind.
Overall this is a rollicking start to a new series by Canavan, who writes books that are hard to put down and easy to read in one sitting. One minor quibble I have is for a plot point in Rielle’s life, that seems to happen too suddenly without the build-up required. By the time the effects of the plot point are in motion, I found it hard to believe it was actually happening, as it seemed to have come on too easily as though nothing dramatic was really happening. It seemed like a little more writing was needed in between, that may have been cut to get Rielle from one stage in her life onto the next within a few pages.
Other than that, the characters were interesting and very enjoyable, and it’ll be interesting to see how they meet eventually. Really, there were two stories in this book as Rielle and Tyen don’t intersect at all.
The next book in the series is slated to be called Angel of Storms to be released in 2015. Then there shall be Successor’s Son in 2016.
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.
Yet again, I have found a book that I really wish I had picked up earlier.
Thief’s Magic had been sat on my Kindle for a while, one of my many Netgalley requests from when I was still really getting to grips with the whole system (i.e. not thinking through what I could read and when…). Unlike some of these requests, it was one that I knew I’d get around to – the question was just when.
A story that features archaeology? Check. A setting that includes a magical school/university? Check. Those are pretty much the two main factors that drew me to this one, and although the archaeology element is very minor, it was a good way to set up the story and introduce the reader to Tyen and Vella. Thief’s Magic is, at its current place in the series, more like two separate stories that do not really meet, but sooner or later you know they will. Although the two points of view did not combine as I hoped, they showed two very different worlds in which magic is seen and treated in two very different ways. In Tyen’s world, magic keeps things running – literally. It pretty much does the job of electricity in our own world. It is not seen as a negative thing. In contrast, Rielle’s world sees magic as something only Angels, and their priests, can use. If anyone else uses magic, they are seen as ‘stealing’ from the angels, and are punished.
However, in both worlds the use of magic has a similar result – a black cloud or void in the area where the magic was used, the size of the cloud depending on the strength of the magic. In Rielle’s world it is known as the ‘Stain’, reflecting the negative associations with magic, whereas in Tyen’s it is just referred to as ‘Soot’, a byproduct of industry. I personally enjoy magic systems where the use of magic demands a sacrifice of some kind, such as in The Name of the Wind. Whilst the magic in Thief’s Magic did not, I have a feeling that something will come into play later on in the series that reveals what the ‘Stain’ or ‘Soot’ actually is, and it won’t be a good thing.
Whilst at the beginning of the book I much preferred Tyen’s chapters, Rielle’s really started to pick up later on, and I was just as happy to read either point of view. Tyen’s world had a sort of fantasy-steampunk feel to it, whilst Rielle’s felt more like a ‘traditional’ fantasy world. From Tyen’s chapters especially I got a real sense of exploration and adventure, and overall found Thief’s Magic to be an extremely fun read. It made me feel as though I hadn’t read a good old fashioned fantasy adventure novel in a while, and I was glad to amend that.
Strangely enough, it seems I actually picked the right time to read this – the second book in the series is due to be published next month. I will definitely be looking out for it!
Having never read a Canavan book before when I saw the inexpensive preorder price for a Kindle version I decided to take the plunge. This was one of those middle of the road type fantasy books that had some interesting ideas but lacked any real punch for me. The writing was....utilitarian, that might be the best word for her style, at least in this book. There are two primary POV, Tyen a student sorcerer/archeologist. This was one of my biggest diassapointments with the book, this combination seemed unique and held many possibilities but was never explored past the opening scene. My one hope for the series is that this idea for Tyen is used more fully. Rielle is the daughter of a family of dyers who sit on the bottom rung of polite society in their world. She has the ability to see "stain" or the aftereffects of used magic.
In Tyen's world magic is used for even the most mudane of activities, including the operation of the machinery that props up their civilization. A sort of magicpunk society. On the other hand, magic use for Rielle and those in her world is to be used only by the priests and women don't become priests, only men approved by the Angels. So the author sets up a nice disctinction between the two worlds and initially I thought this was two different socities on opposite ends of the same world. However, we learn that the magic system in this new series can be used to move between different worlds so maybe these are two seperate worlds as opposed to a first world-third world type of arrangement.
So, while this book didn't bowl me over I did find enough intriguing ideas to continue with the second book in hopes that some of my disappointments with world building might be answered.
I don´t know what I expected, but maybe it was more than I got in the end from this fantasy novel.
From the beginning till the end, I was hoping and searching for at least a few answers what Trudi Canavan´s unique style looks like and why she´s called one of the best and most famous high-fantasy writers. Well, I got one answer for sure: She has an uncommon writing style.
This first book of her Millennium’s Rule trilogy seems to be one big foreplay and introduction of her main figures. Two plots which never come across show the reader two worlds that couldn´t be more different then they are. Tyen´s world is one where magic is all around and men are allowed to do everything, but women aren´t. Tyen´s professor at the Academy plays a false game with him, accuses him of being a thief and that he´s stolen a magic book which Tyen found during an expedition but didn´t hand over right away to the Academy. The story of Tyen and his attempt to save the magic book from being misused or, even worse, destroyed leads him to the sea and to two women, who are totally different from what he´s used to.
Trudi Canavan shows a world of great fantasy. She uses a light tone and develops a melancholic and sometimes a bit dull atmosphere. Her language is clear; she shows a very old women picture and has a great way of building new landscapes.
Although I liked her landscapes very much and how she describes them, I wasn´t too happy with the way the women in this novel are shown or treated. Yes, her characters are very strong, have their own mind and she shows both sides from men and women, but for my taste the background was a bit too ancient.
On the other hand Rielle makes a change and gets to see the real truth behind all those things she learned at the temple. At some point I was wondering if she and Tyen would somehow come together, but no, it didn´t happen. Only in the end the author gives a little glimpse that there could be a chance in the next book of this trilogy – and I hope they will meet.
Maybe my expectations were too high after all those enthusiastic reviews I´ve read. This novel was my first Trudi Canavan book I´ve read and I hope very much, that the author will answer at least a few questions in the second book of this trilogy and bring the story forward. Despite my low rating, and I´m not sorry for that, I´m looking forward to read the next book.
I was so happy when i found out about this new series, because her Black Magician trilogy is on the top of my favorite books. So i am very thankful to the Orbit publisher for providing me the book.
In this story we actually follow to story's. One is about Tyen, the magic and archeology student and the second is about Rielle the daughter of a good-standing dye-works family.
And this to stories are very different, and they never meet each other, never intercept. Ah well, maybe they will in the second book.
Anyway, the stories even happen in different countries and the only similarity is one big problem they have. Namely, they are running out of magic.
In one country they use it as fuel for different kind of machines so they spend it a lot and fast and in the other country they don't spend as much but that's because only priests are allowed to use it.
There is romance, there is action, there are secrets and gossip, there is friendship and betrayal, there are so many things happening!
The world building and the characterization is very advanced and thorough, i was completely engrossed in this fantastic story and couldn't let it go all the 500+ pages.
It all felt really true and believable- the dialog, the social interactions, the mean enemies and the not so flawless friends. Trudi Canavan again proved us she is a seasoned and talented author and she definitely has an enormous imagination and knows very well what she is doing. It is smart and very well written so i definitely recommend it to all the fantasy fans who like to have in a fantasy book a bit more beside just swords,battles dragon and spells:)
It was different, but then fantasy mixed with industrialism always is. Flying cars + magic, makes it different.
The book has 2 POVS, 2 worlds. First there is Tyen, a student of magic and sometimes archaeologist (well grave robber). Here they use magic for a lot as technology has made it into the world, but not by its own means, but by magic. Tyen was somewhat grey at times, he was a follower, but he finds his way. And grows a bit of backbone.
The other world was actually more interesting. Here priests rule and if you use magic you are brought somewhere else and probably killed. In This world we have Rielle, whose family is trying to better their status. I must confess that she was grey at times too. She was a follower, but like Tyen she finds her own way too. With quite a bang, for her at least.
That world grew even more interesting at the end when I learned some hidden truths. While Tyen's world was a bit too modern, not in a bad way, but they were all yes magic, but haha, oh silly magic, we use you. They did not think of their actions.
I guess these two will eventually meet, as there are more than one dimension or whatever and it's possible to travel. If you have lots of magic that is, and knows how too. Other than that I do not really know what will happen.
At the end, well it was good, still it also felt like it lacked something, but it was good enough
Thief's Magic is the first Trudi Canavan book I've read, and while I enjoyed the world created, the overall pace was plodding which made the read a bit more of a struggle than I expected.
I am intrigued enough to continue with the series, just not any time soon. 500+ pages is enough for anyone.
Using two main characters, Rielle and Tyen, in alternating sections, both in different locations meant a lot of ground was covered.
The supporting cast was varied and consisted of a good mix of good, bad and indifferent characters. I particularly enjoyed the women from the West and Tyen's little created beetle.
I imagine Rielle and Tyen will cross paths at some point in the next book/s but I am unsure how this will be done. I look forward to exploring that thread of the story.
I was reading an unproofed NetGalley copy of the book, so wasn't keeping tabs on the typos and editing issues (there were a lot!) I can only hope that the editing team did a good job of the final product.
Overall, a slow but intriguing read.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review.**
Thief’s Magic is the first book by Trudi Canavan I have read, and it is the first in a new trilogy. There is an interesting story and world here that did keep me reading, but the execution felt flat. The story is split between two main characters: Tyen and Rielle. Both live in different worlds in their universe and their lives do not intersect. By the end of the book, it seems that there is a chance they may have an opportunity to meet at some point in the future, but it’s not definite.
The reader could go through the book and read one character’s story straight through, and then return back to the remaining character, and not miss a single thing. This set-up can be disjointing, but it did remind me of His Dark Materials with different worlds, and I wasn’t too bothered by it.
The main plot point for both stories is related to the use of magic. In this universe, there is a finite amount of magic in any given area. When drawn, it leaves an emptiness known as Stain that is visible to those that can use magic. Magic can supposedly be regenerated through creativity, such as painting. In Tyen’s world, magic is being used at too high a rate by machines that it can’t be replenished adequately. In Rielle’s world, only priests can use magic, and there is much association with sin and with the afterlife in regards to magic.
Tyen is a student of sorcery. In the beginning, he is seen grave-robbing, along with two other classmates and his professor. His university wants magical artifacts and it is a common practice for students and professors to take whatever they can find. Of course, there is an angry mob of villagers and a sorceress at the bottom of a cliff, and everyone makes a getaway.
Tyen finds a blank book that can read his thoughts and converse with him through writing. The book used to be a woman, named Vella, and she contains all the knowledge of anyone that has ever touched her, which includes powerful sorcerers in the past. Tyen knows he should hand the book over, but he keeps it instead, and trouble ensues.
What I found annoying about Tyen’s parts is that he is constantly being helped by other people to the point it is absurd. Because of this, the character doesn’t have much struggle, and there is a lack of potentially interesting solutions to his problems. Some examples:
These convenient things happen over and over again, and it felt really bizarre to me. Tyen is left will little agency in the book. He’s at the whim of everyone’s good hospitality! Granted, Tyen is a student and probably couldn’t accomplish much, but I would have much rather read about his struggle.
His sections are so focused on action that he is a very underdeveloped character. The quick pace of the action scenes also reminded me of a book written for a younger audience. And his companions were boring, I kept confusing who was who.
Rielle’s sections are slower paced, but she gets more character development. Because of that, I preferred Rielle to Tyen. Rielle is the daughter of a merchant and is being groomed for marriage to a rich man. Her parents have placed her in some sort of Sunday school/religious class in which she can mingle with girls of the upper-class and meet their male connections. Her biggest secret is that she can see Stain, and hopes that no one will find out, or she will be taken away.
She falls in love with a painter and continues to hide her secret. Most of her sections deal with everyday life and her growing from a girl to a woman. Even at the beginning of the story, it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen to Rielle. I liked her world more than Tyen’s, as the religious aspect and severity against using magic was described in more detail.
However, the romance and passion between Rielle and her lover is bland and boring. They act rather courteous to each other for being young, and it seems unbelievable.
The style of writing is very plain, and in the beginning I thought I had mistakenly picked up a young adult novel. Adult themes are present, but they’re rather vanilla. In fact, the whole is book is rather vanilla across all its parts.
I was disappointed by the lack of description and exposition. There’s a constant push to have the characters constantly acting, and the reader doesn’t get a moment to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the world. I would have liked a paragraph here and there that would have described the scene. While reading the book, many of the chapters read like skeletons of chapters by other authors.
There is a prominent gender disparity theme in the book. Both worlds view women as beneath men. In Rielle's world it fits more, as with religion there often comes suppression of women. I don't know what the purpose was to have that in Tyen's world. I am wondering if at the end of the trilogy these views are going to be overturned?
If Canavan took the time to describe and stepped up her word choice, the book would have been far better. The story isn’t complex in itself, which I am fine with. I don’t need a sprawling epic for every fantasy, but everything is far too plain.
I will probably pick up the next book, as I’m interested in learning what happens next to Rielle, but I can’t say I would recommend this.
The only reason I picked this book up was because it was an Australian fantasy novel and I needed one to use for genre study in a class assignment for Advanced Editing. I had no idea what I was getting into, to be honest. This book is absolute rubbish; a failure in so many ways I don't have enough fingers or toes to count them all.
But I'll try.
We are first introduced to Leratia, a steampunk-ish world where magic fuels an Industrial Revolution and great machines keep society afloat. Tyen, a young sorcerer/archaeology student who, while looting tombs for the shadowy Academy, stumbles on a magical book in which a sorceress named Vella has been trapped for nearly a thousand years.
Vella can communicate with Tyen, and her ideas on the limitations of magic strike him as heretical. However, when he learns of a great threat to his world, he must flee from those who benefit from the status quo and would love to see Vella destroyed.
Meanwhile, in the desert world of Fyre, theocratic forces known as The Angels rule. A young woman named Rielle learns she has a knack for magic—but unfortunately to use magic is considered ‘stealing from the Angels’—and to be a woman who uses magic is a crime for which the punishments are particularly grim.
Strike #1: Canavan has two separate protagonists. This ordinarily wouldn't be too much of an issue, but in this case, Tyen and Rielle's stories not only never intersect, but they don't influence the other in any way, shape or form. Now, in the hands of a better writer, this wouldn't be a problem either; however, Canavan opts to alternate between their stories in huge chunks of tedious, expository info dumps of detail-laden prose.
Strike #2: The prose, my god the prose. Canavan must despise her readers; or, at the very least, think very lowly of them. Not a detail goes by where she resists the temptation to make bloody sure the reader knows 100% what a character thinks, feels or knows. I don't think there's an ounce of 'show' in this ocean of 'tell'. Anything any character says is accompanied by what they're thinking about, how the look on their face should be interpreted, or how what they say affects the story. The dialogue is an excuse to shift massive info dumps onto the poor reader, and it's poorly written to say the least. Wooden, halting and strained—three very good adjectives to describe not just the conversations that take place in these 553 pages, but the entire freaking book as well. It's painful to read; not a page went by where I didn't sigh and throw the book down, thinking, "My God, really?" It's that bad—but not as bad as the characters themselves.
Strike #3: Unlikeable, two dimensional characters stuck firmly in Identity. Tyen is a blank slate made unlikeable by his sheer and exhaustive naivety. Seriously, what a little shit. Which is fine and dandy if that is merely his identity and the voyage he's about to take bring him firmly into his Essence. A little character-building 101 for a second. Stage #1: The Character is stuck, fully in Identity (that which he was and is; not what he is capable of). Stage #2: There needs to be an opportunity for the Character to have a glimpse of what life is like in Essence (that which the Character, once grown, can become or transform into). Stage #3: There needs to be a Change In Plans (the greatest vacillation between Identity and Essence, where the Character has to choose. Stage #4: There need to be Complications (HIGHER STAKES; the Character is so close to Essence, but with growing fear. There needs to be a Major Setback, that throws the Character back into Identity). Stage #5: There needs to be the Final Push (whereas there is EVERYTHING to lose; courage must be found and the Character must achieve his/her outer goal (hell, there must be an outer goal in the first place) and must be in Essence to achieve it).
There is none of this in Thief's Magic. Both Tyen and Rielle are empty vessels simply fleeing danger to their lives; the story happens around them and anything they achieve is neatly given to them with no great risk or Major Setback. There's no suspense, there's no reasonable fear for their safety, there's no reason to give a shit about them because they're Identity and that's all they are.
Empathy. It's important. And there are many tools for writers to make a character leap from the page and make the reader care about them; to make the reader want to jump in and follow them on their journey. You can make the Character a victim of undeserved misfortune. You can make them likable, funny, highly skilled, good-hearted, kind, et cetera. You can also put them in jeopardy, as Canavan does, but you have to give your character at least one of the above descriptors. Canavan just gives us two lifeless husks and demands—because something has happened to them—that we give a shit. I simply couldn't have cared less.
There is no longing; there is no need. There is no deeply held desire the Character is paying lip service to, but isn't pursuing because it's too scary.
And that is why this is such a shitty, awful, time-wasting, dreadful, unsatisfactory, brutally dull, deadly unfunny, and fake shitcan of a book. Avoid at all costs.
It was not easy for me to rate this book and I’m still sad to only be able to give it 3 stars and not more. When I started reading Thief’s Magic I was sure I was going to love this story. The first few pages made me all excited, I enjoyed the story and loved the setting. Sadly only one half of this book, only one of the two POVs made me feel this way, the other half was rather boring.
+ Two very different POVs Tyen and Rielle, the two main characters of this story live in two completely different worlds, literally. Their societies have different views on all things magic and who is allowed to use it. It was interesting to see the two distinct views on these societies and learn about the lives of these two characters. I enjoyed reading from Tyen’s POV a whole lot. He is an interesting character and he experiences exciting things in this story. It was fun to follow his adventure and learn the things he finds out about the past of these worlds. Rielle on the other hand was a very boring character in my opinion. She has no depth and her story wasn’t interesting enough for my taste. Where Tyen’s story was all about the magic and finding out about new things, learn new magic, hers was more about a girl whose parents want to see her get married and her of course falling for the wrong guy. At least she made some new friends I liked a lot and who were interesting to read about. If this book has been only Tyen’s story I would have given it 5 stars without missing a beat. Switching to Rielle’s story always made me want to stop reading or rushing through her part just to get back to Tyen’s story as fast as possible again.
+ Awesome worldbuilding I have read quite a few books about magic now and love that Trudi Canavan can still make me excited about it. Trudi Canavan created an interesting magic system that was not new but with the societies and how they deal with magic, it has something unique about it. Here again, I liked Tyen’s world a lot more than Rielle’s. What made me all excited right from the start was this steampunk like setting mixed with magic. The combination of the two made for a unique and thrilling story and came with new aspects, a lot of things to discover. Rielle’s world on the other hand is about magic being forbidden because they see its use as stealing from the angels. Sounded like another interesting concept to me, sadly made for a rather boring story though with the lack of magic. Her world still had some aspects about it that caught my attention but it was never like Tyen’s world, that was fascinating.
+ Two different worlds, like reading 2 different books On the one hand I loved that Trudi Canavan created not only one world, but multiple and shows us two of them. I didn’t mind switching between these two worlds, but it was definitely weird at first. The problem is that it felt like reading two completely different books. As if I switched one book for another when it switched POVs. That’s not only because of the different worlds but also because of something I have never experienced like this with multiple POVs: no time passes at all in one character’s story while reading about the other’s, especially with as long as these parts always were.
Had this story solely been about Tyen and his world, this would have been a raving review about me loving this book. His world that combines technology with magic made me all excited and his story was an adventure I had fun reading about. Sadly this book is also about Rielle who I didn’t really care about. Her story was flat and predictable and I was annoyed by her as a character. I’m still excited to see were this story is going and to learn more about the Millennium’s rule, something that has only been mentioned briefly so far but hopefully gets a lot more attention in the next book.
I received this ARC through net-galley to review and give my honest opinion.
Woah Trudi canavan has done it again, another amazing book. I have loved Trudi canavan since the age of 14. Remember reading the black magician's trilogy all those years back and absolutely loving it. It quickly became one of my favourite trilogies even to this day. Even now I always recommend any Trudi canavan books, because honestly there has never been a bad book. Yet again another extremely imaginative world Canavan is the best at world building. This is a very Canavan book, true to form it has the usual trademarks. This book though is still very much a book in it's own world literally. The universe is big there's many world's in this book. I like how there's lots of twists on problems we have in the real world. Put in a magical world with a twist. The magic system is very different but really creative. Magic is like how we are burning through fossil fuels at the moment. So was a clever twist based on the very real problems we have now. I'm not going to go too much into plot as I think, it's better going in to this not knowing. What I love though is how Canavan writes her female character's. She just has a knack for strong female character's. I also loved how this book is basically two books running along side each other in this universe. This book is told from two POV's and I don't normally like that. But in this book it worked really well. I liked both character's and was intrigued by both stories. Which also normally doesn't happen. Canavan is just a very talented writer and makes you feel for every single character. I liked how this was told from two opposing viewpoints gave us a full picture of this world. The writing as usual is poetic and just flows so well I'am never bored I'm just sucked in straight away from page one. Yes for some people these books will appear slow but that's just her style, and I personally love the build up for things to come. As usual another amazing start to another, trilogy which will proberly be up there with the black magician trilogy. I have given this four stars but I will be rating this more towards 4.5. If you have never read a trudi canavan book this is a good place to start as she's on top form with this latest instalment. Can't wait until I get my physical copy thank you for letting me read this early..