When I checked out the e-book of this novel from my library, it had been a long time since I’d read a middle-grade novel, and I missed them. It was also around the time of the OWLs Magical Readathon, a Harry Potter-themed reading event, and I needed a book to satisfy my Herbology requirement — a book with a title that begins with M.
I’d never before heard of the Magic Thief series or its author, Sarah Prineas, but the synopsis and the cover made me think of the Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage, so I knew I would enjoy reading it. And I did!
Magic Thief, book 1
In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery’s pocket and touched the wizard’s locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy finds a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who — or what — is stealing the city of Wellmet’s magic. (Goodreads)
I had fun reading this. Like most middle-grade fantasy novels, it’s a fast-paced, plot-focused story that easily kept my interest throughout. It was exactly the type of story I was looking for at the moment I picked it up. I wanted a story about magic and adventure with a character being introduced to a new world or at least learning something new, and that’s exactly what I got. I even got a surprise bonus — illustrations throughout the book, which heightened my enjoyment of the story, and even a map of the city of Wellmet to refer to. (I love maps in books!)
The story progresses quickly, maybe a bit too quickly because some things developed so fast that I missed it, like Conn and Rowan’s friendship. It’s as if I turned a page and all of sudden, they are best buds. I liked that they are friends, but I kept wondering if I missed a paragraph or something where we see the friendship strengthen between these characters.
I like that Conn is a natural at magic, but I became annoyed that everything was so easy for him. He could easily work spells and understand advanced concepts. He struggled at nothing except trying to find the one special stone in the city that’s supposed to be his locus magicalicus. This was probably the most annoying thing about the story because the explanation we are given is that the magic chose Conn to save it, which made me wonder if that simple reason is the explanation for his aptitude at working spells and understanding concepts that even Nevery seems to struggle with. I kept wanting to know more about Conn’s background. We aren’t given much in this book to the point where I kept wondering if Conn has memory loss. I’d like to know more about his mom and his life with her.
I also wasn’t a fan of the writing, unfortunately. I like alliteration; it adds a nice rhythm to the prose, and I like how it’s used in some areas of the story, like
“Muscle, minion, man of the hench.”
But the numerous rhyming compound adjectives was a bit of an overkill and sometimes annoyed me (“keen-gleam glances,” “swept-stepped”). I think a kid, the intended audience for this book, would get a kick out of those phrases, though. I know I would have if I’d read this when I was younger. I would have repeated those phrases all day long. (I saw that keen-gleam glance you gave me, mom! *Lol!*).
Anyway, it wraps up well and I would like to try the second book in the series. I hope we spend more time at the Academicos, the magic academy, in the second book because I’d love to learn more about it.
Overall: ★★☆☆☆ ½
Although I had fun reading it and will certainly read the next book, there were several things that annoyed me as I read, hence the 2.5 rating.