‘Thief’s Magic’ by Trudi Canavan is the first book in a new fantasy series – Millennium’s Rule. In this, there are two main characters from very different worlds. Tyen is a student at the Academy, training to be a sorcerer-archealogist, when he discovers an ancient book. Once a woman, this book contains and collects knowledge from every person who touches her. This discovery sends Tyen on an adventure that he never thought he would have as he comes to realise that the nature is magic is not quite what he seemed. In another world Rielle, the other main character, is a daughter of one of Fyre’s wealthiest families. She has been brought up to believe that to use magic is to steal from the angels and, as such, only the priests are permitted to use it. Only there is a corrupter on the loose, and Rielle finds herself drawn into learning magic.
Unfortunately, for much of the book, the characters fell a little flat. While they were all interesting and had relatively clear-cut personalities, there was not very much depth. This caused them to not actually feel that real. Fortunately, as the story progressed, so did the characters and I was able to invest in them more, but you do have to struggle through at least half the book until you get to this point. Tyen, on the whole, I preferred to Rielle. His story was something I could get invested in. Rielle’s, on the other hand, made it difficult for me to relate to her. It was only once she left Fyre that I actually began to like her. The other characters were also fairly interesting, but again were not as fleshed out as they could have been.
The book was very much the beginning of the series. While Tyen’s part of the novel had adventure and kept me hooked as to what would happen to him, Rielle’s only became interesting after about three quarters of it had passed and her actions begun to have consequences. Towards the end, I did read the last 150 or so pages without stopping as both stories came to a head, but otherwise it was very clear that this was a book that was setting up for the next one – introducing the characters and getting them to where they needed to be. Rielle’s in particular could have halved in length. I also really did not like how neither characters met. It was obviously what the novel was leading to, and what will happen in the next book, so it was a bit of a let down to have it end before they meet.
One of my favourite parts of fantasy novels is the world-building and this is something Canavan does very well. In this book, her skill is put to the test as there are two, very different, worlds to build. While I thought Tyen’s character and story was stronger than Rielle’s, I thought the world building in Rielle’s, at least culture-wise, was better. I allowed me to understand Rielle’s motivations and appreciate her actions a bit more, which was definitely needed. While Tyen’s story involved seeing more of his world, these were only glimpses and so, while the glimpses were interesting, it did not really allow for much development or increase my understanding of his world.
Fortunately, despite the characters and story, there is very little I can do to fault the writing. I really enjoy Canavan’s use of words and her writing style is easy to read and fluid, allowing the reader glimpses in the character’s mind as well as showing their actions. I also really enjoyed the dialogue and descriptions as they provided me with a richer view of the story. The sections got shorter as the book went on, jumping between the two characters more often and increasing the tension as you read.
All in all, I am quite disappointed. I do have a high regard for Trudi Canavan’s work, however this did not quite meet it. There was not as much depth as I would have liked and the book felt more like a set-up than a stand-alone. I am curious to see how the story progresses, if just to see Tyen and Rielle meet. However, I am not that enthusiastic to read the next one. I will just have to see how I feel when the book comes out.