From Publishers Weekly
In this thrilling sequel to The Magic Thief, Conn, "a gutterboy from the streets of Twilight," continues to seek solutions and instead finds trouble. Still the unconventional apprentice of Nevery Flinglas, Magister of Wellmet, Conn, having lost his "locus magicalicus" (the stone that allows him to commune with the magic), is forced to improvise when his hometown is threatened by the sorcerer-king Aspeling. To further complicate matters, Conn gets exiled from Wellmet for using pyrotechnics, the Dutchess's daughter is in danger and Conn's "embero" spell turns him into bird instead of a cat. Conn has a heart of gold, but struggles with his past reputation as a thief, and his reluctance to work with a partner holds him back ("I wasn't sure, exactly, what diplomacy was"). Like its predecessor, this story is interspersed with letters and journal entries, as well as skillful etchings, giving readers an intimacy with the characters. Eloquent and suspenseful, this follow-up doesn't disappoint. Ages 10-up.
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—At the conclusion of the first volume, wizard's apprentice Conn lost his locus device, which he used to communicate with his city's magic, so at the start of this volume he resorts to pyrotechnic experiments to communicate with Wellmet's magic instead. After his experiments go awry, he is exiled and joins a mission to the city of Desh, which may be the source of the evils plaguing Wellmet. With help from his friend Lady Rowan, leader of the mission, Conn uses his street smarts and his knowledge of magic to try to understand who is behind the malevolent Shadowmen. His goals and guesses are opposed by a variety of characters, leading to intrigue and conflict. Prineas's detailed magic has its own logic, and an abundance of clues to the evil will intrigue and confuse readers as they try to solve the mystery along with the protagonist. Conn's first-person narrative is paired with letters from his mentor and other characters, allowing Prineas to reach beyond the limits of the main character's viewpoint. Conn's relationship with Rowan continues to grow, providing both humor for the story and depth to both characters. A fun read for fans of fantastic adventures.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI