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In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery's pocket and touched the wizard's locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery ...
In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery's pocket and touched the wizard's locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who—or what—is stealing the city of Wellmet's magic.
Readers clamoring for magical tales will enjoy Prineas's fast-paced first novel, the opener of a promising trilogy. Conn-waer, a preteen pickpocket, steals the locus magicalicus from the most revered and powerful wizard in the city of Wellmet. Recently returned from banishment, Nevery Flinglas is not angered by the boy's thievery, just surprised the stone's power didn't kill the orphan. Accordingly, Nevery takes him on as a potential apprentice and offers him refuge in his crumbling home. Soon, Conn must enroll in wizard school, find his own magical stone and help his master determine the cause of Wellmet's diminishing magic while avoiding some unsavory characters. Prineas depicts Conn, the narrator, as refreshingly candid and a quick study while revealing Nevery as insightful and unexpectedly caring. Interspersed throughout and printed to look like facsimiles, Nevery's journal entries and correspondence offer intriguing counterpoint to Conn's perspective; sketches of characters and places, incorporated on the first page of each chapter, also lighten the lengthy text. The magical fireworks do not explode until the end, leaving readers confident that Prineas will turn up the heat in the next installment. Ages 10-up. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr 3-6- Conn, a pickpocket on the streets of Twilight, one day picks the pocket of a powerful wizard and steals his locus magicalicus, the center of his power. It should kill Conn, but it doesn't. Nevery, the wizard, has just returned after a 22-year exile, to try to save the town from the leaching of its magic, upon which so much, including its economy, depends. Curious about the boy, Nevery takes him on as an assistant and then an apprentice. Although it is the wizard's job to stem the tide of the disappearing magic, he seems unable to do so. Conn believes he knows the answer, but his enemies are closing in. Prineas has created an appealing cast of characters, which she carefully reveals through their actions. The story is told primarily by Conn, and is interspersed with cryptic journal entries by Nevery, which offer a tantalizing counterpoint to the protagonist's viewpoint. Their voices are consistent and well handled. Exciting without being frantic, the narrative wastes no time getting to the heart of the story. This novel would work well as a read-aloud, as it has a conversational rhythm that moves the plot along. The book is long, but the large print and appealing drawings will encourage younger readers. Fantasy and adventure lovers alike will groan when they get to the tantalizingly mischievous ending, and are likely to hound you until the sequel arrives.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
The Magic Thief
A thief is a lot like a wizard. I have quick hands. And I can make things disappear. But then I stole the wizard's locus magicalicus and nearly disappeared myself forever.
It was a late night in the Twilight, black-dark as the inside of a burglar's bag. The streets were deserted. A sooty fog crept up from the river, and the alleyways echoed with shadows. Around me I felt the city, echoing and empty, desolate and dead.
The cobblestones under my bare feet were slick with the evening's rain. No luck that day for my quick, pocket-pick hands, and I hadn't managed to filch my supper or a bit of copper to buy it with. I was hollow with hunger. I might have tried somewhere else, except that the Underlord had a word out on me, and his minions would beat the fluff out of me if they could. Keeping an eye out, I lurked in an alleyway.
At dusk, the shift had changed at the factories along the river, and the workers had trudged by, up the hill to their tenements, and I hadn't even bothered to try them. They never had any spare money. Now it was late. The rain started up again, not a hard rain, but a cold one, just enough to get into your bones and make you shiver. A good night for misery eels. I hunched into my lurking spot and thought about warm dinners.
Then I heard it. Step step tap. Step step tap. I edged back into my alley shadows to wait, and along he came. Old man, I thought. A bent, bearded, cloak-wearing old croakety croak leaning on a cane. Climbing the steep street toward me. Muttering to himself. His purse, I decided, would be paying for my dinner, though he didn't know it yet.
At my corner, he paused. Fog smoked around him. He lifted his head, and I saw the gleam of a keen-eyed glance beneath his wide-brimmed hat. Nobody here, I thought. Just us shadows. He lowered his head and went on. Step step tap. Step step tap.
I was a shadow, a breath of air, light-feather fingers and—quick hands—I ghosted up behind him, dipped into his cloak pocket, grabbed what I found within, and was gone. Away clean.
Or so I thought. The old man went on, not noticing a thing, and I slipped back into my alley and opened my hand to see what I'd got for my trouble. Maybe enough for a nice roast pork dinner, a few potatoes with pepper, some pie for afters.
Even in the shadows, the thing I'd stolen was darker than dark, and though it was small, a stone no bigger than a baby's fist, it was heavier than the heart of a man on his way to the gallows tree. It was a magical thing. The wizard's locus magicalicus. As I stared down at the wizardly stone, it started to glow. Soft at first, with the red warmth of coals in a winter hearth. Then, a sudden fierce flash of lightning and the alley was alive with dancing, flashing light, the shadows fleeing like frightened black cats.
I heard the wizard coming back. Step step tap. Step step tap. Quickly I fisted the stone and shoved it down deep into my pocket. Darkness fell again. As I turned, blinking the brights from my eyes to look, the old man came tip-tapping around my corner, and, reaching out with a big hand, grabbed me by the shoulder.
"Well, boy," he said. His voice was strong and gravelly.
I stood still. I know trouble when it grabs me.
The old man looked down at me with keen-glancing eyes. Silence for a long, dark moment. In my pocket, the stone weighed and warmed. Then he said, "You look hungry."
Well, yes. I was. Carefully, cautiously, I nodded.
"Then I will buy you some dinner," the old man said. "Roast pork, perhaps? Potatoes and pie?"
I swallowed. He hadn't realized I'd nicked his focus locus stone, had he? Would I go with him, then? Eat a good dinner against the cold and wet night? My head was telling me this was not a good idea. The old man was a wizard, clear as clear, and what kind of fool sits down to eat dinner with a wizard?
But my empty-since-yesterday stomach was telling me even louder that it wanted pork and peppered potatoes and pie. It told me to nod and I did. "Well then," the old man wizard said. "The chophouse on the corner is still open." He let me go and started step-tapping down the street, and I went with him. "I am Nevery," he said. "And your name?"
Telling wizards your name is generally not a good idea. I didn't answer. Just walked along beside him. Carefully, so Nevery couldn't see, I put my hand into my pocket. The locus stone fit smoothly into my palm, heavy and warm. With the stone in my hand, the night felt less cold and damp, my stomach less empty. The wizard seemed to be looking ahead to the chophouse on the corner, but I caught a glimpse of his keen-gleam eyes, watching me from under the brim of his hat.
The chophouse was lit by a coal fire in the hearth and was empty except for its keeper. "Dinner," the wizard ordered, and held up two fingers. The chophouse keeper nodded and went to fetch the food. We settled at a table, me with my back against the wall, Nevery blocking my way to the door.
"Well, boy," the wizard said, taking off his hat. In the brighter light I saw that his eyes were black and his hair, beard, and eyebrows silver gray. Beneath his dark gray cloak, he wore black trousers and a black frock coat with a velvet collar and an embroidered black waistcoat, all of it just a bit shabby, as if he'd once had more money than he did now. He leaned his gold-knobbed cane against the table. "A cold, wet night for travelers, is it not?"
A cold, wet night for anyone, I thought. I nodded.
He looked at me. I looked back....The Magic Thief. Copyright © by Sarah Prineas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted November 4, 2008
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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. The novel's conclusion is quite satisfying, while leaving lots open for the second book in the trilogy, which many will be clamoring to get as soon as they have finished this one. An all-round enjoyable read that easily stands out from the many fantasy novels on the shelves.
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This story contains characters that have hidden layers that are revealed as you get to know them. The world of Wellmet has been carefully constructed by Sarah Prineas, allowing the reader to really enter that world. This stories contains humor, suspense, and optimism. Pick it up today!!
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2011
Posted January 15, 2009
I loved the story and the action in The Magic Thief. I just couldn't put it down once Conn was sneaking in to the palace. And I just about bit my nails off when he got captured by the Underlord Crowe's right hand man Pettivox and almost strangeled by the misery ells. Overall it was a great book.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2012
Almost done with the first book in 1 1/2 days!!!! Really good book got in trouble for reading it and not paying attention in class!!!! ;)
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Posted December 26, 2011
The magic thief is very interesting and i love mystery and adventure bcooks. I read this book in 4 days. I can read the second book in 3 days.
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It is one of my favorite books and i'll read it time and time again it is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo goooooooooooooooooooooopooooooooooooooooooooooood thank you good night and incase I don't see you again good morning
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