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The Magic Thief: Book 1 Paperback – 5 Mar 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus Children's Books (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847246990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847246998
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I couldn't put it down. Wonderful, exciting stuff - Diana Wynne Jones (Diana Wynne Jones)

If a 'locus magicalicus' is a focus for magic, this book is one too. I was enchanted - Joseph Delaney, author of The Spook's Apprentice (Joseph Delaney)

An exciting read... a mixture of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Lemony Snicket books' The School Librarian Journal. (School Librarian Journal)

Book Description

Conn should have dropped dead the day he stole a wizard's locus stone, but miraculously he survives and becomes the wizard's apprentice.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
On a cold, wet night in Wellmet, Conn is hungry and on the run from the Underlord (who controls part of the city) when he sees an old man walking by. Picking his pocket, Conn finds that he's stolen a locus magicalicus - a stone that wizard's use to focus their magic. It should instantly kill Conn but doesn't and its owner, Nevery, is intrigued enough to take on Conn as his apprentice.

Nevery's investigating why the magic in the city is disappearing and he's not going to let the fact that he's been banished by its duchess and the other wizards stop him. Conn however has new problems of his own. He's begun studying at the Magisters Hall where he has 30 days to find his own locus magicalicus or he'll be kicked out, but Nevery's too busy to help him find it.

If Conn wants to continue leading a life of magic, then he'll have to rely on his skills as a thief and trust his friends Benet (Nevery's bodyguard, who likes cooking and knitting in his spare time) and Rowan (a fellow magic student) to achieve it.

Sarah Prineas's debut novel, the first in a series, is a delightful adventure packed with magic and populated with entertaining characters. Conn is wonderfully self-reliant - pragmatic and curious he's a born survivor who's been given the chance of an alternative future. Although his dark secret is a little too easy to guess, his determined search for his locus magicalicus has you rooting for him.

Nevery is very much the traditional grumpy wizard. His journal entries, with their casual attitude to his new apprentice and musings as to when he will kick him out give the story much of its humour.
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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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