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The Magic Thief Hardcover – 4 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847244327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847244321
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3.7 x 18.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 751,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A stunning debut from new author Sarah Prineas … The novel is spellbinding in plot, characters, location and dialogue … a wonderful book which I recommend unreservedly - Bookbag

This a pleasingly fresh and pacy take on some much-visited themes, which will leave many readers eager to know what happens next. The aptly named Conn surely has many more tricks up his sleeve - Guardian.

From the Inside Flap

Never steal from a wizard! Connwaer is a thief of the Twilight, a desolate part of the city of Wellmet, built up of factories and shadowy streets and teeming with pickpockets. On the run from the city's Underlord, Conn steals a banished wizard's locus stone. The wizard, Nevery, takes Conn on as his apprentice, and the boy becomes embroiled in his master's plan to save the city, whose magic is slowly dying. Meanwhile, Nevery is secretly beginning to question Conn's past: Why did the thief survive in the Twilight for so long and why is he immune to illness and injury? But Conn is hiding a much darker secret… The first book in a thrilling trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By ELH Browning VINE VOICE on 26 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Conn is a street urchin who pick-pockets something of immense magical strength and yet seems unaffected. Intrigued, Nevery the Magician from whom he had tried to steal the stone (or locus magicalicus) takes him on as an unorthodox apprentice.
Prineas, and her main character Conn, has a unique and imaginative take on the essence of magic: its vitality. With dwindling magic in the city, Conn has an unnerving instinct about what is wrong and why, going against city institutions and wizard elders in order to set things straight.
With a dark and Dickensian flavour, this is a gentle introduction to dark fantasy for confident junior readers upwards. The story is lean and linear and has only a fairly sparse cast of characters, making it a real page turner, its gripping nature belying its simplicity. The physical book has a good feel to it too, a neat hardback with a map of the city, interspersed entries from Nevery's journal, and atmospheric illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.
And if you enjoy this, I recommend you try The Toymaker by de Quidt for a darker twistier tale at the same reading level.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Conn was just hoping for a few coins to buy food when he picked the pocket of the wizard who passed his alleyway. What he gets is an adventure far bigger than he could have imagined. The wizard, Nevery, takes an interest in Conn, and takes him in as a servant and then an apprentice. With regular meals, blankets to sleep under, and enough magical objects and lessons to keep Conn's eager mind occupied, the once-homeless boy couldn't be happier.

Unfortunately for Conn, nothing is as simple as it seems. Before he can truly become an apprentice, he must find his locus magicalicus (the stone which will focus his magical power) in a most unlikely place, convince Nevery that one of his fellow wizards is consorting with the city's cruel Underlord, and figure out why the city's magic is fading away--and how to save it--before the city dies from the lack of it. It's a terribly large task for a boy who has only just started learning his letters, but Conn is nothing if not resourceful.

THE MAGIC THIEF will pull readers in so completely that they'll have trouble setting the book aside. The details of the Victorian-esque world are so vividly drawn that readers will feel the chill of the icy winds and taste the buttery goodness of Conn's favorite biscuits. What makes the book particularly special is Conn himself. His voice is lively, with exactly the sort of street-smart practicality and frankness you'd expect from a boy who has spent most of his life on the streets. Despite his criminal background, Conn is good-hearted, and simply longs for a place where he can make something of himself.

Readers will sympathize with his struggle to prove himself to Nevery and the city's authorities, and appreciate his clear-headed thinking amid all the secrecy and scheming of the adults around him.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sir Furboy on 1 Jun. 2009
Format: Library Binding
Annoyingly I read this book without reading the one before it - I ordered it not realising it was different from "The Magic Thief" which I had intended to buy. When it arrived I read it anyway, and have now added the book I intended to read to my wish list!

That ought to amount to a recommendation. This book was good enough for me to want to fill in the gaps.

I read this straight after reading Angie Sage's Physik, and that was perhaps unfortunate, as Angie Sage's books are so good it was hard for me to put that out of my mind when reading this book - and comparisons are inevitable. This book lacks the wacky humour of Angie Sage, and the storyline is less involved. Characterisations are not as deep either.

But despite those comparisons, this is still a very good story. A fast paced adventure with plenty to endear it to its intended audience. For instance, the chapters are riddled with secret runic messages to decode, and there are some wonderfully interesting recipes at the end!

Ultimately I would say this book would appeal to a slightly younger readership than the Septimus Heap books - say 7 or 8+, although it could still be enjoyed by much older children and lovers of children's books.

(Always the problem with adding reading ages to books - it puts off the older readers who would still love it. nevertheless, children 10+ may prefer Septimus Heap).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack M on 19 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I have wanted to read this book for a while but just didn't get around to it, but having done so I am glad I did. In truth I found the written style a little jarring at first but having kept going it does settle down, or perhaps I just stopped noticing. The story is good; it is well paced and not overly complicated so you get carried along with the adventure. There are no great surprises in the story, but it is still enjoyable. For a fantasy writer I do not think that the author has created a particularly vivid or creative backdrop for the story, the world she has created is not imaginative. But I liked the characters, they are not complex but they are likeable and help facilitate the story.

This was sufficiently good that I immediately read the second in the series, "Magic Thief - Lost", and enjoyed that as well. So this has been a good discovery and worth reading. I will certainly also read the third part in the series.
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