The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas
|The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas|
|Reviewer: Stefan Bachmann|
|Summary: The second book in The Magic Thief trilogy improves upon its predecessor in just about every aspect. Highly enjoyable, highly entertaining and highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: May 2009|
|External links: Author's website|
Conn, having narrowly escaped book one of The Magic Thief with his life, is back for a sequel and he's in more trouble than ever. The street-urchin-turned-wizard's-apprentice is on the verge of being thrown back into the gutters from whence he came. His notion that magic is a living, sentient being rather than a mindless force as is commonly accepted, has not gone down well with the senior wizards. Conn's master, Nevery, is being pressured to annul Conn's apprenticeship. It isn't helping at all that Conn is experimenting with pyrotechnics in order to attract the magic's attention, and that his tinkering has a tendency of going violently awry.
Anyone who though the first book was too similar to Harry Potter mustn't worry about any such thing when beginning The Magic Thief: Lost. It's more individual and daring than its predecessor was, and yet at the same time it retains everything that made the first book such an entertaining read to begin with.
The most intriguing change we get is one of scenery. At about the halfway mark, action shifts from dark and dreary Wellmet, the city wherein all of the first book took place, to the scorching sands of Desh. Not only is this desert city mysterious and well-realised, the change of setting also gives the second book some welcome scope and even a bit of an epic feel, something book one didn't really have.
Then there's the writing: it's even better than in the first book, more visual, with some vivid descriptive passages. The handful of excitingly dynamic action scenes keep the narrative rolling along smoothly, as do some cleverly presented plot-points that are far too good for me to spoil for you here.
As for the characters, it is in this installment that Conn completes his transformation into a fully three-dimensional human being. He's much more nuanced here, and apart from being a little crook (more on that later), makes an appealing protagonist. The wizard Nevery is simply the million-and-one-th clone of Gandalf, but he's a well-written clone so I won't hold it against him. By far the most interesting character is Nevery's bodyguard, Bennet. When he's not speaking in gruff, one-word sentences and pummeling people into the ground, then he's knitting Conn sweaters and being a good friend and protector to him. Very nice.
It also bears mention that The Magic Thief: Lost does not suffer from the middle-book-in-the-trilogy syndrome so common to fantasy. It has a solid beginning and a solid end. It's still not a standalone, however, and I don't think it would make an easy introduction to the series.
The one problem I did have with the book (and this might be a substantial problem for parents especially) was that Conn is a thief any way you look at him. Now, there's nothing wrong with flawed characters. Far from it. But this character doesn't have so much as a twinge of guilt about taking things that don't belong to him. In fact, he's proud of it, and picking locks and pockets is portrayed as a handy skill to have. Sure, it's always for the 'greater good', but do the noble ends justify the criminal means? In this book they certainly do.
All that aside, book two of The Magic Thief is even more wonderful than the first, which, incidentally, was also given a perfect score by Bookbag. It has more excitement, more originality, more action... Just a whole lot more fun all round.
Thank you, Quercus, for sending Bookbag a copy!
The Magic Thief: Lost reminded me a lot of The Well Between the Worlds by Sam Llewellyn. Well is a bit more unique, almost as enjoyable, and written in very similar, feather-light prose.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas at Amazon.com.
Sarah Prineas was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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