Magic Thief, vol. 1
My rating: 4.5 of 5
In a city that runs on magic–magic that is inexplicably running out–young Conn survives by picking locks and picking pockets. But one hungry evening, he unwittingly picks the pocket of the wizard Nevery, stealing the wizard’s locus magicalicus which ought, by all rights and expectations, have killed Conn instantly. Surprised at the boy’s survival, Nevery decides to take him on, first as a servant and then as an apprentice. Because Conn may have a greater talent for magic than has been seen in the city for quite some time . . . and he may just be able to find out what’s been happening to the city’s magic.
I first read The Magic Thief at the recommendation of Anastasia @Read & Survive (thanks for the suggestion!), and I must say that the story more than lived up to my expectations. The world building is excellent, immersing the reader in a magically-powered Dickensian world without being unnecessarily descriptive or wordy about it. The author does the same thing with the characters–they are full of character and life, and she does a fabulous job of showing this to us through their words and actions rather than telling us about them at length. Also, I really love the way Prineas plays with phrases, turning them outside-in or changing them just a bit to make them attention catching and unique; it adds to the impression that this is set in a different world quite effectively. As an additional plus, there’s a lot of interesting plot that is gripping and fun even for an adult but that is also completely age-appropriate for the book’s primary intended middle-grade audience. I love it! I would definitely recommend The Magic Thief both to most children and to adults who like fantasies and/or children’s books.