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Thief's Magic
Millennium's Rule – Book I
Trudi Canavan

Orbit (little, Brown)
15 May 2014 / ISBN 9780356501109

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Tyen is an archaeology student in an industrial empire powered by magic. He is one of those who can use it, and unearths a very special book while excavating a tomb. The book was once a real woman a thousand years earlier, and she was turned into a book by the most powerful wizard of the time. Now Vella talks to those who hold her via words on the pages, and thus Tyen realizes he has a treasure that could prove dangerous. Elsewhere Rielle lives in a land where priests rule and where magic is the realm of the angels. She can see magic and has to keep this secret, as any magic is likely to run the risk of her regarded as tainted. But both Tyen and Rielle are going to learn that everything they think they know about magic is not exactly true…

Ms Canavan is the bestselling author of the Black Magicians trilogy and other popular books, so you know to expect a good yarn. She is adept at world building, and quickly sketches in enough details to avoid the dreaded info dump, but let the reader know enough to feel immersed in a new place. Both her characters have plenty of adventures and the pace is admirably fast for a doorstop-sized novel. This is partly achieved by having a section about one character, and then a section about the other and having them get shorter as the book progresses. Expect surprises, although certainly some of the things that happen can easily be guessed at. It is due to this author's storytelling skills that even the clichés are made to be interesting enough and I was left thinking that I would rather read an enjoyable and well-told tale like this than something that is merely original. This is the sort of fantasy I have been enjoying for a long time and continue to do so. Thanks to the right sort of ending I am also left hoping that book two won't be too far in the future. If you like real fantasy, you ought to like this.

Reviewed 2014