Book Review: Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule #1)
Author – Trudi Canavan
Publishing – Orbit, May 2014
Genre – Fantasy, High-Fantasy
Pages – 560
Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces. 

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it — should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands… and not even the people they trust. 


Thief’s Magic is the first book in Trudi Canavan’s series, The Millennium’s Rule. Im a big Canavan fan especially after reading her Black Magician series, which is brilliant by the way! However, I am not entirely sure how I feel about this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good story, and the magic system and characters etc are all very interesting and well written, but I just didn’t love this book.

The plot is told from two different character perspectives: Tyen and Rielle. Tyen lives in a world where magic has been used to help advance civilization by building and powering machines. Tyen is a student at the Academy, studying archaeology and sorcery. We first meet him on an expedition, where he finds a book hidden in a tomb. The book first appears to be blank, but as words start to appear, the book tells him that it once used to a woman, Vella, who was turned into a book by a powerful sorcerer. Vella can link to the mind of whoever is holding her, communicate and store knowledge from that person, making her a very powerful and useful tool. Tyen is torn between his desire to keep Vella for himself or having to hand her over to the Academy and he soon ends up in a mess, and after being framed for theft, he has no option but to flee the Academy. I got a real industrial/steampunk vibe from Tyen’s world which I really liked. 

Rielle’s world is very different and is almost the complete opposite of Tyen’s world. Her people believe that magic belongs to the Angels, and to use and practice magic is to steal from them. But Rielle is hiding a dangerous secret, she can see Stain (a black mark left being when magic has been used). After a series of bad events, she is faced with huge choices that will change her life, and challenge everything she has been taught to believe.

Tyen and Rielle’s stories are completely separate throughout this book and the two characters never cross paths, and although themes like theft, magical repression and sexism are woven into both worlds, they are more obvious in Rielle’s storyline. She lives in a very strict culture where women are considered less than men. She is constantly being told to be quiet, to be modest and to find herself a good husband. After refusing to let her self be treated like “carefully preserved stock”, she decides to say screw societies standards and do what she wants, which was a very powerful and brave thing to do. I prefer Rielle’s story much more that Tyen’s, and I feel like there was much more happening in her parts of the book whereas Tyen’s were slightly repetitive.

Despite my mixed feelings about this book, l will definitely be picking up the sequel, as I’m really interested to see what the characters do next, and I definitely have more questions that need to be answered.

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