Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Thief's Magic (Millennium's Rule #1)" by Trudi Canavan

Cover from Goodreads
After having this book on my Currently Reading shelf for 36 days, I've finally polished off the final pages. Perhaps my reading superpowers have been off kilter, but still- I read four of the ASoIaF series in a month, so it's unusual for me to take this long to finish a book.

It definitely took a while for me to get adjusted to this book, and its whiplash of plots. Thief's Magic cuts between worlds and characters, and sometimes it can be quite jarring to read. If any headway is made on that character's plot, it seems the author decides to stop it mid-action, a sort of mini cliffhanger until you get to the exciting part of the next character's story, and then shown the after-effects of the mid-action cut- making the book feel a bit odd.

The Plot:
Tyen is an Academy (magic school) student living in a steampunk-esque world where machines are run by magic, and the magic is running out. Rielle, a dye-maker's daughter, lives in a very different world where magic has come back from the brink of extinction and access to it is banned for the average person. Tyen finds a book during an archaeology trip in a hidden tomb, a book that happens to be a person made into a book by a powerful sorcerer, a book named Vella. Rielle is no ordinary girl, and can see the absence of magic, called Stain, which is a gift that supposedly is very bad to have in her world, for someone other than a priest. Tyen decides he'll keep the discovery of Vella to himself, as she hasn't been conscious of the world around her for over a thousand years (she's only conscious with human contact), and Tyen wants to update her knowledge. But will either Rielle or Tyen be successful in hiding their secrets?

One thing I found refreshing about this book is there are only two character point-of-views. So often writers feel like they can make a ASoIaF-like series (with many POVs) when their characterisations are not nearly as brilliant, and end up looking falling flat on their pens. While the characters in this book were good, I felt they were a bit flat, but mainly on Tyen's end of the story. Tyen could be interchangeable with so many other "meh" male fantasy leads that he fails to be unique. Clever, idealistic, and slightly naive are most of the traits that make him, with the backstory of his father back home working hard to send him to the Academy so he might have a better life. Is that ringing any bells yet? Luckily, being paired with Vella, a relatively robotic (as far as we're told) book who must serve her master in the finding of information, adds a touch of interest.

Rielle is also a bit of an interchangeable character, but she has a little more depth. She wants to please her parents and find a good match among the wealthier classes, but knows enough that she understands she may get stuck with someone with a less than stellar reputation, and therefore is willing to look in the lower classes for a husband. She's also naive, but she is a bit more likable due to her ability to hide a secret.

The Ending:
The ending was good, but by a slim margin. I only wish the characters had a bit more ambition and backbone, but I enjoyed the worlds presented immensely and will enjoy seeing how the series continues.

Thief's Magic has its great moments. Unfortunately, a during a lot of those moments, we're thrown into a different world (literally). As a whole, the book is complex. intriguing, and different from many others I've read, which is a great gift to any reader. But I also gained a lot of plot whiplash (a mild impairment of the experienced devourer), which will need to be repaired by another volume of chic lit. If you're looking for an original fantastic realm that is comprised of an entire universe of worlds and willing to be whisked off to a different world at the drop of a pin, this book is for you.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a book that opens doors to other worlds with decent characters.

Content: This book is intended for adults. Some (weird) sexual misconduct and violence. Ages 18+.

Page Count: 528 pages in the hardcover edition

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