Series: Millennium’s Rule #1
Published by: Orbit
ISBN 13: 9780316209274
Published: May 2014
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five
‘Thief’s Magic’ by Trudi Canavan is the first in the Millennium’s Rule series. I’m not entirely sure, but it seems that this series is set in the same world as her previous series, The Black Magician trilogy and Traitor Spy – though perhaps in a world that has has become more developed.
We see a world that is currently in an industrial revolution that is powered by magic – there are machines, but they need a skilled man of magic to power them. Tyen is currently studying at the academy, worried that this is the life that awaits him – he would much prefer to be an adventurer, or, failing that, teach history at the academy. It is on an adventure with Professor Kilraker of archaeology that Tyen discovers a seemingly disappointing book. It’s not even jewel-encrusted or gold-embellished, and is even empty when he first opens it… that is until, words start appearing on the page.
The words tell him that the book is in fact made from human skin, hair, bones and tendons, and contains the spirit and thoughts of a woman called Vella, who was transformed into a book by one of history’s most powerful and feared sorcerers of their history. As long as the book is touching human skin, Vella is awake and aware, and able to absorb all knowledge from the person. She is already a wealth of knowledge, though sadly lacking the last few hundred years while she was trapped in the tomb Tyen discovered her in.
From there, Tyen’s life is turned upside down. He must give all discoveries to the Academy, but thinking of giving up Vella is a hard thing to come to terms with. When the Academy discover her existence, they think her evil for the secrets she could so easily gather, and then pass on without hindrance. Then when she goes missing from the vault she’s kept in, Tyen’s set up to take the fall… and with his future at stake, soon there’s only a few options left open to him…
Throughout the novel, it switches between that of two characters – Tyen, as described above, and then also Rielle, a girl situated elsewhere (they never meet in the novel) who, as a female, leads a life of rules and guidance, whether it be from her family or the priests that rule the land. Coming from a family of artisans she’s considered little more than worthless from the rich girls her age she must mingle with, but as her family are wealthy, she is held above the truly dirty, and is pushed from all sides to do the right thing at all times in order to keep her family’s name in good standing. That is, at least, until she meets a very good looking man, who is unfortunately, also an artist.
Combine the above with the fact she has a talent for magic, even though to use magic itself is considered to be stealing from the Angels, and we have an unfortunate life for Rielle. It truly doesn’t seem like a good land to be a woman, especially one that can use magic, and see the taint it leaves behind.
Overall this is a rollicking start to a new series by Canavan, who writes books that are hard to put down and easy to read in one sitting. One minor quibble I have is for a plot point in Rielle’s life, that seems to happen too suddenly without the build-up required. By the time the effects of the plot point are in motion, I found it hard to believe it was actually happening, as it seemed to have come on too easily as though nothing dramatic was really happening. It seemed like a little more writing was needed in between, that may have been cut to get Rielle from one stage in her life onto the next within a few pages.
Other than that, the characters were interesting and very enjoyable, and it’ll be interesting to see how they meet eventually. Really, there were two stories in this book as Rielle and Tyen don’t intersect at all.
The next book in the series is slated to be called Angel of Storms to be released in 2015. Then there shall be Successor’s Son in 2016.