The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas

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The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Stefan Bachmann
Reviewed by Stefan Bachmann
Summary: Bookbag has loved this series from the start, but the third book tops them all. Great writing, great imagination, and an incredibly winning main character make this one a must-read for fans of all things magical.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: April 2010
Publisher: Quercus Publishing plc
ISBN: 978-1849161916

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When we last saw Conn, he had blown up his wizard master's house, was exiled from the city of Wellmet, and lost his locus magicalus (it's like a magic wand, just it's a stone). He's been unable to do magic ever since, which is rough because he needs his powers now more than ever. A terrible evil is blazing a trail towards Wellmet, intent on destroying the city, and Conn's only hope to defeat it is to somehow get a new locus magicalus. He sets out on a quest to find one, but the journey is long and dangerous, and time is running out.

I had to kick myself before starting into this book. No biased reviewing! I loved the second book so much I couldn't bear to think this one might be anything less than earth-shatteringly brilliant. All wishful thinking was forgotten, though, after about two sentences, and I can honestly say Found is the best one yet. It has dragons (Yay!), explosions, action and hair-breadth escapes... In our interview with Sarah Prineas she said there might be a fourth, and I hope there will be, but if not, Found would definitely make a worthy conclusion to the series.

At a glance, the whole Magic Thief series doesn't look like anything new. But saying the books are about a boy with special powers is like saying The Lord of the Rings is about evil jewelry. There's just a lot more to it than that. For example: in Conn's world, cities are built around a living sentient magic that can be weakened and even killed. And if it dies, the city dies, too. You have to admit that's pretty much the coolest idea ever.

The bulk of the praise needs to go to the main character Conn, though, which surprised me because I didn't really like him in the first one. He was kind of a brat and a know-it-all. In the second book he was far more rounded, made mistakes, had conflicting emotions etc., but in Found he's really 'there'. Completely. He's a flesh-and blood person who I was rooting for from page one, and when something utterly unexpected happens to him late in the book, the panic and disbelief is as much the reader's as it is his. There's also a touching undercurrent about his longing for a true home that – looking at how few words the author spent on it - shouldn't be half as poignant as it is.

Prineas' writing is as light and accessible as ever, and makes for super-easy reading, so I imagine the series would be perfect for readers just starting into 'fat' books. Any big words are noticed by Conn himself and being a gutterboy and all that, he has to find out the meaning along with the reader. Found is a bit darker than the previous ones, but not too much. There's some deliciously creepy imagery when the 'terrible evil' enters Wellmet, and a rather startling punch to a face, but it's definitely tame compared to some others books geared toward the eight-and-up crowd.

In the end, Found basically has everything a good book needs: an engaging main character, a bit of humour, fresh ideas, great writing... It also has loads of things a good book doesn't need but are fantastic anyway, like sword-fights and dragons and epic clashes. A must-read for fans of fantasy, and highly recommended to just about everyone else.

Thank you, Quercus, for sending Bookbag a copy to review!

Further reading suggestion: If you enjoy this type of book the obvious suggestion for further reading would be Harry Potter, but chances are you're one of the bajillion people who've already read that so... the protagonist and writing-style of Joseph Delaney's Spook's Chronicles: Witches reminded me a bit of Found, just with the darkness ratcheted up to ten. I found it profoundly disgusting, but that's just me. For something lighter, try Syren from the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. It's a charming fantasy with warmth and wit to spare.

Buy The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas at Amazon.com.


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