Review: Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

May 26, 2014 4 stars, Book Review 12 ★★★★

Review: Thief’s Magic by Trudi CanavanThief's Magic by Trudi Canavan
Series: Millennium’s Rule #1
Published by Orbit Books on May 13, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy
Pages: 560
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

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.


Join me in reading this series if you love the long haul! Epic fantasy is my favorite of favorites and Thief’s Magic has epic fantasy written all over it! Lots of detail, a slow informational filled beginning and then WHAM!- off to adventure! An interesting note on this book is that there are 2 main character POV’s, Rielle and  Tyen. They are not in the same location, and it is impossible to tell when or if their paths will ever cross. Different, and pretty fun! A male/female split is also nice if you are looking for a recommendation for the opposite gender… everyone should be happy! You can also feel good recommending Thief’s Magic on content, interest, world building, and adventure. All around, a good solid read. I wish the series was written already, so I could fill in some gaps and see how our characters do. The slow pace and interesting internal monologues are what make this book. The descriptions of  how magic functions is consistent, unique and well thought out.  The landscape and city-scapes leave a little to be desired, because they tend towards map-like instead of descriptive. I do not have a grasp of the countries that each POV is in, which is kind of a shame because it feels like I should know, like these are real places I need to study. Another anomaly which has bothered me since I started writing this is that the “travelers” mentioned in the excerpt are not mentioned in the book at all. I don’t understand the omission. Hopefully they will be mentioned later in the series, as this element would help to tie together these two disparate stories. The common thread right now is how magic functions and patriarchal societies.

Some books are better than others at having it seem as though a tough decision a character needs to make is the only option available, or a decision that will become or is inevitable, due to circumstance. i.e. a person may run away due to an abusive system, which offers no hope of reconciliation. Characters making intelligent decisions is NOT a strength in this book. Instead of feeling like the characters Rielle and Tyen are forced by circumstance or inevitability, their choices are merely bad decisions with better options readily available. I can let this slide in a teen book, as we all know teenagers make many many poor choices… but not in an adult book where the characters should have a hint a maturity and little bit more situational awareness. They should not believe that regardless of a variety of proofs to prove their innocence that they would be guilty merely because it is their word versus an authority figure. This basic theme plays over a few times, which is why I mention (rant?) it here.

Luckily they recover nicely from their stupidity and the plot thickens.  =)

Tyen is a rule-following student who loves his country, sorcery and is looking to spend his life comfortably ensconced in The Academy. The Academy is the premier source of learning for the Empire he lives in, Leratia. When events surrounding his discovery of the magical book Vella spiral out of control Tyen is forced to confront himself and see how rule abiding he truly is.  Tyen makes me feel proud. He makes decisions that are noble instead of easy and he is doing his best to make sure that he doesn’t hurt others as his adventure goes on. If he can do good instead of harm he does. I hope my kids grow up with an ounce of his good-natured sense of  honor.

Rielle is a young girl who lives in an entry level rich family, and her mother wants her to marry above her station. Rielle is smart enough to know the disadvantages of marrying someone above her, because she must accept whatever quirk it is that is making them marry beneath themselves. Rielle is devout and believes in the priesthood system that runs the lives of their society. She knows that seeing magic can make her unofficially ostracized, and has hidden her nature from everybody but her beloved Aunt her entire life. When a chance encounter with a tainted (or magic user outside the priesthood) begins a downwards spiral from the protected life she has always known, we start to see the true inner beauty that Rielle possesses. Her devoutness is a credit to her family, and her soul is burdened with guilt for the same reason. Can she find a way to live and love who she is, even with the ability to see and use magic? My overall impression of Rielle is her youth and ability to be molded easily by those around her. This is not greatly in her favor, but there is an inner sore of strength and piety in her  and if she grabs on to those she can truly become something special.

Thief’s Magic is definitely a recommended read.

*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. Quotes are taken from an Advanced edition and may have changes in the published edition. This post might also contain affiliate links. To view my full Blog Policy, click here.


When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

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12 Responses to “Review: Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan”

  1. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I have this book, and I cannot wait to read it. It will be my first *gasp* Canavan book, but I’m sure I’ll have to check out her other series after finishing this one. Great review, Maggie–and thanks for the motivation 😉

  2. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I finally broke down and took advantage of the 2.99 ebook deal this week, so glad I did now. Really look forward to reading it. I don’t mind a character being just a little bit stupid/young in a first book, especially in the beginning, it gives them room for growth, and let their strength come out as they encounter what ever their journeys/trials may be in the book.
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellanMy Profile

  3. Mogsy

    Ooh, I finished this one the other day. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one who thought these characters were just completely dense. Seriously, it was pretty mind boggling. I don’t really think they ever recovered from making questionable decisions, but at least they all led to some exciting plot developments! I really liked this book, even though we don’t really get answers, it was like getting two books in one.
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: House of the Rising Sun by Kristen PainterMy Profile

    • Maggie Jones

      I think it would have been better phrased if I said that they get slightly less dense with each choice. =) I agree to be caught flatfooted a few times at their choices, even at the end. Did you find the traveler part mentioned on the back cover at all? I am nervous I missed it, but I remember so much of the rest it seems like that would have been hard to miss!

  4. kim { Book Swoon }

    I just bought this book, and wow, it not only looks and sounds awesome, but I might gain muscle tone in my arms reading it! LOL. The hardback is seriously a doorstopper. I’m excited to read the male/female alter. POV in it that you described so well. And, the worldbuildin sound so intersting. Great review, Maggie 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Book Review: Hexed by Michelle KrysMy Profile

  5. kimberlybuggie

    This looks great. I am adding this book to my to read list. Ooh, I love long series you can get lost in! I’m wondering if 560 pages is a lot for me to take on right now… but now I’m so curious! I’ll probably go out and buy it this weekend! haha!!!
    kimberlybuggie recently posted…Review: Whisper to Me by Christina LeeMy Profile

  6. Bube

    The cover is really awesome!
    Plan to read this book 🙂
    Thanks for the great review! 🙂