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The Magic Thief Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 3, 2008
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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From School Library Journal
Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Young Conn opens the first volume of this new trilogy, noting “A thief is a lot like a wizard.” Conn is a thief but, through desire and inevitability, becomes a wizard by book’s end. This evolution begins when Conn picks the pocket of the wizard Nevery, who is startled that the nicked magical stone didn’t kill the boy. Nevery takes on Conn as a servant, but the boy’s inquisitiveness and talents move him to apprentice status. Nevery has recently returned to Willmet to save the city-state, which is faltering as its magic seeps away. As Conn becomes more enmeshed in his new life, he navigates through the intricate dealings of both the wizarding world and the political machinations of the Underlord. The events are not as lively as in some middle-grade fantasies—though Conn’s turn as a cat is delightful, and his search for his own stone is very well played. What works wonderfully well here is the boy’s irresistible voice, which is supplemented by the writings of Nevery in his journal, its creased and stained pages appearing as apart of the design. Readers will particularly enjoy the way Conn often knows just a little more than his master, and they’ll look forward to seeing how much more he learns as the series progresses. Grades 4-6. --Ilene Cooper
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I'm always checking out books for my grandkids. They must be good, age appropriate and CLEAN. If I love them, then so much the better.
This book was recommended and I'm so glad. It sucked me right in.
I like the way it's written; quirky words, repeating words, just what kids like. I guess just what this Grammy likes, too.
Had to order the whole series after the first book.
Grandkids will get sucked in, too.
The hero, Conn the street thief, is destined for great things as a wizard. Nevery the wizard senses this and takes him on as an apprentice. Adventure and excitement follow.
Conn is the primary narrator, and his wonderful voice carries the book. He is street smart, but not a wise guy. He is made of true-blue hero stuff, being loyal, honest, conscientious, brave and shrewd. He is also subject to youthful error, exaggeration and false hope, so he presents a well-rounded, age appropriate protagonist. Nevery is a classic fair-but-firm, grumpy/softy master. Benet, Nevery's "muscle" is an effective soft-hearted tough guy. Rounding out the gang is Rowan, the ruling Duchess's daughter. She is smart, sassy, adventurous, and an excellent partner for Conn. She also provides a nice counterpoint to Conn, (in a Hermione Granger kind of way).
This book is not frantic, and there are no monsters. It's about how Conn grows up to be a wizard, and how he and his companions use magic and their own pluck to solve problems and help their city. There is "political intrigue", but it is simple enough to not confuse the story, (i.e. some bad wizards, a criminal kingpin, some spies and sneaks - that kind of thing).
I'm a big fan of Delaney's Spook's Apprentice series, which covers similar ground, but for an older reader. (More violence, more complexity, more depth.) But, this Magic Thief series is a wonderful way to introduce a reader to fantasy, and would be a great stepping stone to the Spook's Apprentice series. Then, as your reader gets older, you could move on to F.E. Higgins' Black Book of Secrets, (yet a more advanced and deliciously well-written apprentice type book), and beyond.
So, well worth serious consideration.
On her insistence I read the series and was unable to put them down.
I hope this is not the last we see of Nevery and Connwaer. Or from Sarah Prineas.
This tale is action-packed, and full of interesting characters, among them the grumpy but kindhearted wizard Nevery, who has just returned to Wellmet after a 20-year exile, and whose journal entries and letters are effectively interspersed throughout the story as a sort of counterpoint to Conn's narrative; Benet, Nevery's big, burly, thuggish-looking servant/bodyguard, who bakes delicious biscuits and knits Conn a warm black sweater; and Rowan, daughter of the Duchess of Wellmet, who is interested in swordcraft and becomes Conn's mentor at the school for wizards and teaches him to read. I'd recommend this suspenseful, well-written story to anyone who enjoys a good middle-grade fantasy, and especially to those who liked Angie Sage's "Septimus Heap" series.
Most recent customer reviews
Not overly unique, but it had good movement, interesting plot, and a satisfying ending. Connwaer is a very neat character with a fun pov and voice.Read more