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Magic Thief #1

The Magic Thief

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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 discover who or what is stealing the city of Wellmet's magic.

419 pages, Hardcover

First published June 3, 2008

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About the author

Sarah Prineas

53 books1,087 followers
Coming in April 2021 from Philomel, Trouble in the Stars! It's a middle grade science fiction adventure about a shapeshifter kid.

And Dragonfell is out in paperback in April 2020.

Happy reading!

My website: www.sarah-prineas.com

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5 stars
6,538 (35%)
4 stars
6,386 (35%)
3 stars
3,950 (21%)
2 stars
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1 star
387 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,299 reviews
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 14 books1,424 followers
March 24, 2008
This book made me absurdly and enormously happy.

The Magic Thief has a number of familiar fantasy motifs and character types. But in Sarah Prineas's hands a story that could have been predictable instead has a wonderful freshness and vitality about it. The invented world in which Conn moves has a Dickensian flair without being merely alt-Victoriana, and its magical system is both well imagined and intriguing.

The characters in The Magic Thief are realistically flawed and fallible, yet they never lost my interest or (where appropriate) my sympathy; I particularly liked the way that Prineas developed a couple of the secondary characters, subverting my expectations of them in a surprising and satisfying way. And her hero -- well. I have a weakness for thieves to begin with, but by the end of the first chapter I was grinning idiotically (always a good sign) and I knew that I was going to like Conn very much indeed.

The Magic Thief will be out this June, it's the first of a trilogy, and it's wonderful. If you enjoy quick-paced, engaging MG fantasy, you won't regret preordering this one.
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,266 followers
July 14, 2014
Hmm. It's a fun, fluffy book for MG readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books. The illustrations on the inside are reminiscent of Mary GrandPré's Potter artwork, yet it does get repetitive as the same pictures are shown over and over again instead of individual designs for each chapter.

The wizards in this universe must let a magical object choose them in order to access their powers, but instead of a wand it's a stone called the magilicus locus (which just so happens to work exactly like a wand in Harry Potter).

There seems to be a little bit of a steampunk element to it as well as many of the characters wear victorian garb and there are clockwork devices to measure and trap magical energy, which is a major plot point towards the end of the novel.

Since it's a kid's fantasy book, I guess it wouldn't be complete without twee names like Periwinkle. Can we just discuss for a moment why most of these kinds of books have a character named Periwinkle?

I think the main thing that sets the Potter books apart from most of the other series with very similar tropes is that Rowling had a warmth to her writing; she allowed us to connect with characters and become engrossed in her world. Sarah Prineas and many others can use the same themes but you just don't get as invested. Perhaps I'm asking too much from a MG book. Perhaps I'm measuring all other books in the genre against Potter, but really who doesn't?
Profile Image for Dustin.
439 reviews163 followers
July 24, 2016

Well Connwaer, it has been a pleasure and an honor, but you and I must be parting ways for now. It won't be long before I revisit the initial leg of your epic journey, for my review and the second installment, aptly titled, Lost, beckons. Rowan, Nevery, yourself and the gang beckon loud and clear. Until then, I wish you well and good luck as your education continues...and many adventures along the way.:)
Profile Image for Connor.
693 reviews1,660 followers
March 7, 2016
A pure joy to read. It was such a fun little adventure about a boy trying to find his magic. Perfect for younger readers, and it has a fun code that you can translate using a key in the back of the book. I'll definitely be continuing with the series whenever I get the next book.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
142 reviews
May 9, 2008
Conn just wanted some money to pay for his meal when he picked a wizard, Nevery's, pocket. Taking Nevery's locus magicalicus (a stone that helps wizards to focus when using magic) should have caused Conn to die. But he didn't. Nevery finds this interesting, and takes Conn in as his apprentice (more of a servant, though.)
Life is still difficult for Conn even though he gets fed, has a roof over his head, and he even learns how to read. There is contempt for him since he is a known thief and lock pick. The city that he lives in has a dwindling supply of magic. He is given only 30 days by the Magisters to find his OWN locus magicalicus for himself. He knows that it is not in his academicos' stores.

The Magic Thief was an amazing book, and I really loved reading it. I could hardly put it down once I started reading it. Conn is an interesting character, and I liked how, despite his pick-pocketing and thieving ways, he's still completely honest with Nevery. I loved how Conn is very intelligent; it fit his character completely. I'm excited for the sequel, since the first book was completely satisfying, but still makes me want to read more.
Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,052 reviews156 followers
December 17, 2020
Conn is a lock pick and a thief in Wellmet and he is very good at it. One day he picks a wizard's pocket and steals locus magicalicus, an object that every wizard has and if someone else touches it they can get hurt or worse die. But the locus magicalicus doesn't kill Conn and the wizard, Nevery finds it intriguing and ends up taking him as a servant.

Nevery was banished twenty years ago from Wellmet by the Duchess and he has returned to investigate why the magic of Wellmet is dissipating faster than previous years. His banishment has been lifted and he goes to his home, Heatsease along with Conn and Benet, whom he hires as muscle.

Conn thinks that he is Nevery's apprentice but Nevery tells him that he is just a servant but then ends up taking Conn as his apprentice and starts to teach him things. Conn cannot read and Nevery takes him to academicos where Conn will be studying magic and also gets him extra help to learn to read. Conn learns it awfully quickly. Conn does everything in his own way. He poses questions that no one thinks of posing and comes up with theories that no one can comprehend.

Conn starts at academicos but he is given thirty days to find his locus magicalicus as every wizard has to have it. The locus magicalicus works exactly the same way as the wand worked in Harry Potter series. So Conn starts looking for locus magicalicus, it can be anything from a stone to a jewel and Conn has no luck even when he stops attending classes and starts looking for it in the town. Then on the thirtieth day, a thought suddenly pops up in his mind that he has to go to the Duchess' palace and there he finds his locus magicalicus, it is a jewel worn by the Duchess. When Conn tries to steal it, he gets caught and the guards think that he is the assassin. But Nevery realises the whole thing and helps everyone understand the situation.

Conn's locus magicalicus is a rare jewel that is way too big that anyone has ever seen one in person. Conn starts to learn more things whilst Nevery is still trying to find the cause of magic deterioration. Conn suspects Pattivox, the Duchess' official magic adviser to be working with Crowe and stealing the magic. He tries to find proof and turns himself into a cat but things don't go as well and he gets caught. Again, Nevery comes around and they figure out what's happening to magic and stop the thieves but Conn's locus magicalicus ends up shattering.

Much like the others, I do think that this is heavily influenced by the Harry Potter series. But I didn't care about that and I still enjoyed most of it. My main issue was that things happened way too fast and I didn't have time to like Conn all that much and all the other characters for that matter. Benet was hired as muscle but all he does is cooks, cleans and knits. Rowan was the only female character and again I didn't really like her. All the characters seemed to be generic, one-dimensional character with no depth at all. Nothing seemed original and none of the questions were answered like why magic behaved differently with Conn. Why didn't he need actual spells to do magic and so many other questions like that.

Sarah Prineas' writing at times did fail to engage me but I think from middle grade point of view it was okay. I am left intrigued though about Conn's connection with magic so I will continue the series.

Rounding up to 3 stars
Profile Image for A.J..
136 reviews51 followers
June 7, 2008
Okay, I guess I'm the first to give this book a review after its official publication date (June 3 or thereabouts).

To begin I think a bit of background is in order, because the 3-star rating I gave is deceptively low. The rating only reflects the book and its success stacked against myself as a reader with particular tastes and preferences. This book is definitely for the kiddies. It isn't designed to thrust itself among the greatest epic fantasy stories ever told, and in the darkness category it dips below even the for-everyone-but-especially-for-kids C.S. Lewis Narnia series. That being the case, I was surprised I got through the book as quickly as I did.

It reads fast. And when I say fast, I mean this thing ZOOMS by. I was clocking 100-page chunks per sitting with enough time left over to catch up on Battlestar Galactica. There is very little fat in this book. In fact I'd say this is, as far as fantasy goes, the chick at school you suspect might be bulimic but you don't have the guts to tell anyone. At times the pacing was so lightning fast that I almost wanted to put the book aside and simply imagine how the character was feeling about all this craziness going on. But on the happier side of the coin, I was too interested to see what happens next to bother.

Armed with a pleasant Tolkein lightness and a charming city which manages to be imaginative even in its simplicity, I can't imagine how any fantasy-loving youngster wouldn't get swept up with Conn, his grumpy master Nevery, and the story of one young wizard-thief's quest to be accepted by those around him in the midst of a city where magic is dying.

A wonderful read. Perhaps not in my strike-zone of fantasy stories (I like'em dark), but on a more objective basis, certainly well worth the time. Sure as sure.
Profile Image for Kirjoihin kadonnut || Johanna.
786 reviews67 followers
September 1, 2020
Mukavan ilmavasti kirjoitettu, lapsille ja nuorille suunnattu fantasiaseikkailu, jonka luimme lasten kanssa iltasaduksi. Kuulijakunta jaksoi keskittyä, sillä tapahtumia ja mielenkiintoisia hahmoja oli sopivassa määrin. Aluksi meinasi kuulemma mennä nuorimmalta paikat ja tyypit sekaisin, mutta tarinaan mukaan pääseminen oli lopulta helppoa, kun asiat alkavat selkiytyä.

Itsenäisesti luettavaksi tämä sopii tekstimäärän perusteella hieman isommille lukijoille - noin 11-vuotiaasta ylöspäin. Aikuisen kanssa yhdessä luettuna toimii jo hieman nuoremmillekin.

Olisi kuulemma voinut olla jännittävämpikin ja olen samaa mieltä, tarina on melko pintaliitoinen eikä hirveän jännittävä, loppurytäkkää lukuunottamatta. Mutta Taikavaras on vasta sarjan ensimmäinen osa, joten täytynee kuitenkin lukea seuraavakin osa, jotta tietää mihin suuntaan tarinaa lähdetään viemään. Sen verran pojatkin kuitenkin tykkäsivät, että haluavat tietää kuinka nuoren Connwearin käy.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,942 reviews200 followers
May 4, 2015
Like L.M. Boston's Green Knowe series, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Sarah Prineas' The Magic Thief represents a children's book that's bound to be devoured by thousands of adults.

The eponymous thief Conn meets his future magical mentor, wizard Nevery Flinglass, while trying to pick his pocket. Nevery's locus magicalicus, a sort of magical stone that gives a wizard his power, should have killed Conn on the spot -- but does not, much to Nevery's amazement. Thus begins a partnership and a trilogy that will attract as many adults as members of its intended middle-grades audience. Their city of Wellmet, like other cities in this alternative fantasy universe, literally runs on magic; recently, that magical force has been gradually disappearing -- almost as if it were being drained by some unseen and unsavory force. Hmmm. While Nevery is investigating the strange diminution, the teenaged Conn undertakes to find his very own locus magicalicus, a requirement if he is ever to become a full-fledged wizard -- or even a full-fledged wizard's apprentice.

Prineas navigates the plot through terrifying scrapes and close calls for Conn, his hard-earned advancement in the wizarding realm, a possible newfound love, and a search for the cause of -- and solution to -- what Nevery calls "the decay of magic" in Wellmet. Take some advice from me: Buy the other two books in the trilogy -- The Magic Thief: Lost and The Magic Thief: Found -- before you finish The Magic Thief. You will thoroughly enjoy the novel and the endearingly sassy and intrepid Conn. How much? So much that you will be eager to pick up Conn's adventures in the sequels just as soon as you finish The Magic Thief.
Profile Image for AR.
412 reviews16 followers
September 13, 2012
As I was perusing the shelves in my local library, I came upon this book, looking deceptively innocent with its nice blue and gold cover. Since I like fantasy, I decided I'd give it a go. Little did I know what horrors awaited me. The plot, (if you can call it that), centers around a young thief oh so appropriately named Conn, who attempts to steal a locus magilawhatsit from the wizard Nevery, which should have killed him. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen. Instead, Nevery decides to take Conn home with him and make him his apprentice. Because really, when a grubby little thief tries to steal your powerful magical stone from you and doesn't die from it, you would obviously take him in, feed him, clothe him, train him in magic, and send him to an expensive school where he receives an education that most orphans can only dream of.

He then begins the search to find his own special magic stone thingy, which he does for most of the book. The plot drags on and on without anything interesting happening besides the numerous boring subplots (except for the biscuit recipe). Conn eventually finds out that 'his' stone is currently in the hands of the queen. Naturally, he decides to sneak into the palace and take it. I mean, it's not like the ruler of the land owns it or anything. Oh wait, she does. But that doesn't matter because it's HIS stone after all. And after he finds his locus magicachoo, he (spoiler) promptly loses it when fighting the bad guy. The magic stone concept strongly resembles the wand one from the Harry Potter series in that the wand/stone chooses the wizard. Except in HP, you feel Harry's emotional connection with his wand, and his devastation when it breaks. Here, you only feel that the whole 'find your magic stone' subplot was a complete and utter waste of time (and paper).

'Well,' you ask, 'if the plot isn't the most memorable, surely the characters are original and complex? Or at least likable?' No. Not in the slightest. They are all unpleasant stereotypes you can't connect to. Gary St-err, Conn is your average, badly written fictional thief with a heart of gold. He's 'mischievous', 'quick-witted', 'charming', and has the personality of a doormat. Which is an insult to doormats everywhere. He is such a bland, boring character that I literally forgot his name while reading this book. No joke. If you can't remember what the main character's name is in the middle of the book, you know the author is doing something wrong.

Our villain, (whose name I can't remember), is a generic baddie who hates Conn, tries to kill him on various occasions, and has no character whatsoever. The other bad guy (of sorts) is a bully at Conn's school who (surprise, surprise) hates his little pickpocketing guts. He also has no character outside of his stereotyped category. But these are just the antagonists. Doesn't Conn, dull and bland as he is, have any friends? Of course he does. And they also are unoriginal cardboard cut outs. Yay!

Nevery is an irascible old codger who, for all his snapping threats at Conn and making him work for his keep (which seems to be a bad thing in Conn's eyes), puts up with his obnoxiousness thinking that he might be useful someday for saving the kingdom or something like that. He is not the best authority figure, particularly when it comes to the way he interacts with others. If handled well, a bad mentor might make for some interesting reading. However, it is not handled well here.

You may begin to ask yourself, 'Well, where are all the girl characters? There must be at least one strong female protagonist who helps the hero, right?' Um...if you mean the smart girl who does well in school, and despite being kind of stuck up (spoiler:she's a princess), manages to befriend the hero, then yes, she would probably count as one. Yet another used to death stereotype, Rowan is an intelligent princess who attends Conn's school and helps tutor him, since he can't read or write well, if at all. And is it just me, or is Rowan being set up as Conn's future love interest? Of course, I wouldn't know anything about that considering I haven't read the other two books.

Overall impressions? If you couldn't tell from my review, I really don't like this book. The plot (more like a mishmash of subplots) drags in all the wrong places, I've seen all of these characters before, only done better, the writing is nothing great, there aren't any good role models, the world isn't that creative, and all in all it's just very forgettable. There's nothing in this book that makes it worth reading instead of other fantasies. If you do want to read it, I'd advise getting it from the library, so you can see for yourself whether you'd want to buy it or not. There's not a lot that I found morally offensive, but as a fantasy lover I was offended by the number of clichés and recycled ideas that were used here. I have not read the next two books in this series, nor do I plan to. I would only recommend this book to my worst enemies. If you're looking for books about young boys and magic, I suggest you try the Septimus Heap series or reread Harry Potter for the thousandth time.

(No disrespect is intended toward the author in this review. I apologize if it seems that way.)

Profile Image for Christa Schönmann Abbühl.
950 reviews20 followers
May 1, 2021
I read the German translation of this book to my son when he was little. Now I listened to the audio book, and it is just as good as I remember. There is a warmth to it, hard to explain. And Conn is such a free spirit.

The narrator did an excellent job, but I did not love his voice for Conn. Still, I highly recommend. If my memory serves me right there were some illustrations in the book.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,341 reviews
March 21, 2011
Conn is a young thief in the Twilight, managing to stay alive and well when so many others have fared far worse in the cold and threadbare conditions. But, when he tries to steal a wizard's locus magicalius stone (a source of connection with the source of magic) he ends up winning a new life for himself as an apprentice to the wizard Nevery. For Nevery sees what others never bothered to see in the lowly pick-pocket; a good-hearted boy with an uncanny aptitude for magic. But even in Nevery's home, life is not exactly cozy and comfortable. The magic is fading throughout Wellmet and even in the Duchesses' Dawn Palace, all is not well. Is the magic fading due to forces of nature, corrupt wizards, or something else? And who will be right when Conn and Nevery begin to disagree on the answer to that question.

I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book. Prineas' wise word choice quickly wove a believable and interesting world. Her use of hyphenated words like "keen-gleam look" really made an interesting style to the story so I became annoyed when, a few chapters in, that style all but disappeared. I felt cheated, as if she tempted us in with promises of being unique and then lapsed back into normalcy. I also felt the first half of the book moved slowly in places, occasionally fell into redundancy or simply failed to really progress the plot or characters. However, I was still interested in our protagonist, his honesty and forthrightness and insight really won me over and I liked that he never made excuses for what he did in the past, never whined or complained for what he had to endure. Some of the other characters, like Nevery, were a bit more "standard fantasy stock" but ultimately wove together to create a satisfying and fresh story. I really ended up enjoying the second half of the story. It became more complex and interesting and I was curious and engaged throughout. That bumped this up to a four-star book for me and I am definitely interested to continue the series.
Profile Image for Andy.
211 reviews
January 13, 2011
This book, the first in a trilogy, is a great example of how children’s book publishers are putting out way too many series and lots of bad fantasy in an attempt to make money. Connwaer has lots of street smarts and a skilled pick-pocketing hand. At the start of the story he steals the locus magicalicus of the Wizard Nevery Flinglas. This magical device should kill Conn, but doesn’t. And so, Conn is taken in with interest and some apprehension by the wizard Nevery. Magic abounds in their city of Wellmet, or at least it used to. Lately, the magic has weakened, and Nevery has come back from exile to try and solve the mystery of its disappearance. Conn is sent to school, he learns to read, longs to become Nevery’s apprentice, and struggles for acceptance. Although Conn must prove that he is worthy of magician status by finding his own locus magicalicus (every true magician has one), he is much more interested in doing his own clandestine detective work to determine where the magic of Wellmet is going. The plot was not engaging and, frankly, rather dumb. The characters were predictable and unoriginal, but worst of all was the writing which lacked vocabulary and eloquence.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
May 29, 2015
This was a fun book about a magical world.Conn con is a boy living on the streets until he meets a wizard who sees magic in him. He takes it upon himself as the chosen wizard apprentice to save the magic from being depleted from his world.he is a very likable character and you truly are cheering for him. I found the use of magic interesting in this book, and I definitely plan on reading some more books in the series.
Profile Image for Ann.
511 reviews
March 20, 2011
Conn is a common thief, living on the streets of Twilight and stealing what he can to survive. Until he tries to steal something very important from a wizard. But what catches the wizard's interest isn't so much that Conn tried to steal his precious magical stone, but that the stone didn't kill Conn when he tried to.

Twilight is part of a city separated into three sections (basically the good side, the bad side, and the in between), and the city's magic fading - fast. Why? To what effect? And how to rectify it are the pressing questions that need to be answered.

While a lot of this book is a little predictable, I was still surprised at some of the plot points and found them fairly unique and interesting.

This book started a little slow for me. The first two chapters have a very unique writing style, which kind of subsides as the book goes on (though perhaps this is a good thing). But as the story progressed I found myself feeling more and more involved and curious as to how it would end. By the final third of the book I was really enjoying myself and eager to read the next chapter.

I liked Prineas' writing style (once the book got into the flow) and the book is easy and quick to get though. I really liked our main character, Conn! He's very likable, smart, brave and observant. I believe my other favorite character was Benet - though to say why would give it away. I liked the other characters a lot, too, but they never really developed as much as I'd hoped, and thus seemed more one-dimensional than the others. Though, I'm hoping this will be alleviated in following books. Which, I do plan to read, and hopefully rather soon!

Profile Image for colleen the convivial curmudgeon.
1,155 reviews296 followers
September 3, 2016

A pretty decent story, if a little typical - orphan boy steals a wizard's locus magicalicus, which should kill him but doesn't. The wizard, intrigued, takes the boy in and the boy just happens to turn out to be a sort of chosen one figure.

The characters were ok, though, again, fairly typical, but my biggest issue was the way Conn, raised poor and uneducated, was naturally good at everything. He learns to read in about a day, and can memorize complicated spells after hearing them twice.

As for interactions, everyone sort of jumped to conclusions, and no one listened to anyone else. I guess, in a way, it makes sense for people to not listen to an untrained boy who used to be a thief but, still, it was annoying when Nevery knew something was going on, but refused to listen to Conn's ideas.

Also, the writing was a bit meh. Very sort of clipped:

"Then I heard it. Step step tap. Step step tap. edged back into my alley shadows to wait, and along he came. Old man, I thought. A bet, bearded, clock-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."

And she's fond of using terms like "light-feather fingers", "keen-gleam eyes" - that sort of thing.

The story alternates between Conn's first person narration, and Nevery's journal, but both are written in a very clipped, matter-of-fact kind of style.

But, for all that, it was a quick read, and rather fun, for all its flaws.
Profile Image for Missy.
564 reviews28 followers
January 5, 2023
Month of November 2022 - The Thief Books

“The Magic Thief: Take the Magic and Run” (Book 1 of 3) - Sarah Prineas (2008; 2009 ed.) 419 pages.

READING LEVEL: 4.5 AR POINTS: 9.0 (Middle grade level)

I’m not into “fantasy” reading, but this was actually a cute little story for middle schoolers, one I think my middle school granddaughter will really enjoy. It’s not outlandishly fantasized like the Harry Potter books and movies and much easier to follow and understand. Don’t let the large number of pages turn you off. The print is larger and there is more white space on the pages. It’s really a quick and easy read.

You don’t take the locus magicalicus from Wizard Nevery Flingas without it instantly killing you. So, when the young, orphaned thief, Connwaer, steals it and doesn’t die, Nevery was intrigued and sets forth to find out if he could be the next apprentice wizard in training.

The city of Wellmet is losing its magical powers, and Nevery has returned to find out why and try to stop it before the city falls into decay.

My interest was piqued wondering where Conn was going to find his own locus magicalicus, a special stone that all wizards must find on their own and is used to create magic. I loved Conn’s honest and meek personality, and I loved that he was the one to discover who and why all the magic was being sucked out of Wellmet.

It’s fun when small, bad characters turn good and end up strong heroes.
Profile Image for Aviva.
482 reviews3 followers
January 27, 2015
Picked this book up last year during a trip to Chicago. My kid had dragged along four thick hard-backed novels for our our five-day stay, and had them all read by day two and needed something to read on the trip back. (I've since bought her a used Kindle so we don't have to pay overweight fees for our luggage!) We hit a book store, and picked up several books, including this one.

She insisted she wasn't going to read it, so I said fine, I'll read it. Turns out, she got to it out of boredom before I did, and liked it a lot. (She doesn't trust me to pick out her books, but I definitely know her genres.)

I found this book entertaining, the characters interested and well formed, and the plot intriguing.

Great book for kids (and adults) who enjoy the Harry Potter and/or Percy Jackson series. I definitely plan to read the next book (and so will Ellie!).

Profile Image for Roslyn.
355 reviews17 followers
January 8, 2019
Charming, with hidden depths. It puzzled me a bit at first - the characters almost appeared superficial, but I suspected there was more, and there was. Loved the way the protagonist's POV interacts with the diary of another main character. Can't wait to read the next in the series.
Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,711 reviews708 followers
June 8, 2017
First in the Magic Thief fantasy series for middle-grade readers and revolving around a young pickpocket with potential.

In 2011, The Magic Thief was nominated for the Iowa Teen Award and also in 2009 for the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.…

My Take
…This reminds me of Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, right down to the book size. Prineas, however, does have a different take on how magic works and who her major protagonist is. I enjoyed her dual first-person protagonist point-of-view with Conn, as it gives us his worldly wise street thief perspective on his world, and Nevery’s perspective provides good back history.

I got pulled in by that first paragraph with Prineas’ combination thought- and question-posing hook. As for changing the font and page background color for Nevery’s notes, that was a handy visual cue that the perspective was changing from Conn’s to Nevery’s. Thank you! I always appreciate an author making it easy for the reader [me!] to stay connected to the story. Although, I could wish the page color hadn’t been quite so dark. Maybe it’s just my old eyes…

Prineas combines the ticking clock scenario with Conn having to “prove” himself with the plot coupon of Conn having to find his magicalicus locus while she beautifully integrates her info dumps throughout the story. There were a few plot twists, but no major issues. Just enough to give the story a bit more interest.

Conn isn’t shy about speaking up for himself or for what he thinks, and Prineas uses the epiphany plot beat with that excellent point Conn makes on the truth about magic.…
”Spells are a language and we use it to tell the magic what to do.”
The Story
…The boy has potential, but Nevery isn’t sure he’s worth the trouble. Nor does Nevery have the time to train an apprentice, not when he must discover why the city is losing its magic.

Although…the boy was able to withstand his locus magicalicus. Hmmm, maybe he should give him a try…

The Characters
…Connwaer “Conn” is between twelve and fourteen years old and a successful lockpick and pickpocket, most of the time. Black Maggie was Conn's mother and the one who taught Conn how to pick locks.

Nevery Flinglas is a wizard who was banished from Wellmet 20 years ago after an experiment blew up. His locus magicalicus had been his great-great-aunt Alwae’s stone. Benet is hired muscle with a talent for knitting and baking. The house Nevery left behind, Heartsease, is falling to pieces. Lady is the cat.…

Wellmet is…
……one of a loose confederation of cities, the Peninsular Duchies. It runs on magic and is ruled by Willa Forestall, the Duchess of Wellmet, who is based in the Dawn Palace in the well-off Sunrise neighborhood. Captain Kerrn, Farn, Jas, and Merik are guards.

Wellmet Academics is…
…headquartered on the islands which are the homes of the magisters, wizards, if you will. Magister Brumbee is the Master Wizard of the academy and is part of the council along with Periwinkle, Sandera, Pettivox who is also the court liaison, and Trammel, who appears to have some skill with healing.

Lady Rowan Forestal is a regular student at the academy — and the duchess’ daughter — and has been set to mentor Conn. Keeston is Pettivox’s apprentice and a real jerk who has been partnered with Conn.

Underlord Crowe is the crime lord of Wellmet with headquarters in Dusk House which is in the Twilight neighborhood of factories, warehouses, and the poor. He’s also Conn’s uncle.

A locus magicalicus enables a wizard to focus magic and work spells. Slowsilver restrains magic, so a wizard can examine it. Embero is a dangerous spell. Micnu wrote a paper explaining how magic is created; he and Carron have written about magical nodes.…

The Cover and Title
…The cover is a textured deep and grayed royal blue with embossed gold frames and plaques. The title and author’s name are embossed in a deeper gold inside the plaques — top and bottom respectively. The center, inside its round, gold frame is a graphic of Nevery and Conn, using his street skills along with his locus magicalicus. On the left of the cover, just below the pivot of the conjoined frames is the leaf-shaped green and gleaming locus magicalicus.

The title could go two ways, for there are indeed two thieves, and The Magic Thief could be the thief being reformed or the thief being born.
Profile Image for Elwen.
589 reviews47 followers
August 7, 2021
Klassisches "Waisenkind entdeckt magische Fähigkeiten"-Geschichte, aber so warmherzig erzählt, dass man einfach darin versinken kann. Am besten waren die unterschiedlichen Sichtweisen der Geschehnisse durch den Magier und seinen Lehrling. Hohes Schmunzelpotenzial :)
Profile Image for Stefanny Natalia.
261 reviews30 followers
September 17, 2021
Uaaaaa sukaaa ceritanya seruu
Aku suka karakter Conn dan Benet ya ampunnn badan sama wajah boleh sangar, tapi hatinya hello kitty 😆😆😆

Meski banyak misteri yg belum diungkap tapi untuk buku satu ini rasanya konfliknya diselesaikan dengan baik, instingnya Conn ngingetin aku sama Harry Potter ahahah.
Buat yang suka middle grade ini rekomended, seruuu
48 reviews
January 12, 2021
Andrew and I enjoyed reading this book together. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sentence fragments which I felt the need to expand and fill in so that it made sense while I read it out loud. I felt like this was done so excessively that it took some pleasure away from reading the book.
Profile Image for Clare Carter.
Author 2 books30 followers
October 13, 2022
Erin reminded me I read this series (at least the first 3??? Imma have to dig deep to remember if I read the 4th one) with my cousin Charlie back in the day, so many good memories!!! <3333
Profile Image for Abby.
31 reviews
February 27, 2012
Plot Summary:
The city of Wellmet is losing its magic and no one can seem to figure out why. It is up to a previously exiled wizard named Nevery and a young thief named Connwaer, to save the town from its untimely demise. The story tells of Connwaer’s search for his locus magicalicus, or the stone that allows wizards to harness magic’s power and how he enters into apprenticeship with the older wizard. He also helps Nevery solve the mystery behind the lost magic.

Main Characters:
Connwaer: He is a young boy that was raised on “the wrong side of town”, quite literally. His mom dies while he is still young and he fends for himself in the “twilight” neighborhood. He has a strong will and does not lie. He is also eager to learn, and will not be entered into servitude.

Nevery: Nevery is an old wizard, who 20 years prior, was exiled from Wellmet because he blew up his house and part of the palace. He is a bit of an ornery older man, who walks with a cane and believes that things are not always how they look.

Benet: Benet is the “hired muscle” for Nevery and Connwaer. Even though he is hired more as a body guard, we find out that he also has excellent cooking and knitting skills.

Key Issues:
Fantasy, Magic, Good vs. Evil, Changing your Destiny

Other Interesting information:
I love how throughout the book, whenever Connwaer felt like he was not going to be allowed to continue his apprenticeship, or if Nevery used corporal punishment among other things, he had such a strong will and pride about him that he would say things like, “I would not be a servant, that would never do,” or “I just would not allow it.” He was quite daring for the time period that this seems to be set in. The reason that I gave this book four out of five stars was that I really did the novel, it had an interesting, page turning plot line, and the characters were funny. The book was a little slow going on the plot, but I would definitely want this book in my classroom, and would recommend it to others.
Profile Image for Lucy .
343 reviews34 followers
October 10, 2008
Conn is a thief--a pickpocket, lockpick and gutterboy. Living in the Twilight, the seedy district of the magical city of Wellmet, there's not much else he could be. But when he picks the pocket of the wizard Nevery and comes out with Nevery's locus magicalicus, he's stolen more than he expected.

Nevery expects Conn to be dead--and fast--but when Conn doesn't die, Nevery decides to keep him around--just for a little while. Just until he figures out why not.

While Nevery may think that Conn is his servant, Conn knows that he's really Nevery's apprentice--and that he is meant to be a wizard. But there are a few obstacles standing between Conn and his plans. He has to find his own locus magicalicus within thirty days, or he's out. And between going to school for the first time and trying to help Nevery solve the dangerously low level of magic in Wellmet, Conn is running out of time.

This book is. so. good. Conn is utterly, ridiculously, wonderfully likeable. That's the first thing. Once you start reading his first-person narrative, you don't want to stop. And Prineas's fascinating magic system is clever. Best of all, Wellmet is a fully realized city in a fully realized world--and even as Conn only sees bits and pieces of it, we pick it up on the periphery of his vision--kind of like the way we learned about Lyra's Oxford in The Golden Compass.

This book is the real deal. An honest to goodness great adventure, a feel-good fantasy read that you won't be able to stop reading and will be sorry once the book is over.

Lucky for us, it's the first in a trilogy.

So if you haven't read Sarah Prineas's The Magic Thief yet, why not? Get to it. You will not regret it.
Profile Image for Bette.
583 reviews
February 19, 2011
I liked this book a lot. It's a bit derivative of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. There is a wizard school, for instance, but the focus of the book on schooling isn't nearly as prominent as in Harry Potter. But overall, Prineas succeeds in creating a unique alternative fantasy world with an engaging protagonist. The main character, Conn, is a clever pickpocket and lock picker. He is "nosy," according to the wizard, Nevery, but it's his curiosity that leads him to solve the mystery of why the ambient magic in Wellmet is disappearing. Benet, the "muscle," reminds me a little of Butler in "Artemis Fowl"; Benet seems to be just muscle at first, but he turns out to have a good heart, as does Nevery. The relationship among the 3 grows as the story progresses.

The story-telling technique is inventive. It consists of Conn's first-person narrative interrupted periodically by Nevery's diary entries. This allows for humor since Conn at first thinks he's Nevery's apprentice, while Nevery keeps calling him a servant in his diary. There is actually quite a bit of humor in the book. Conn keeps eating Nevery out of house and home, i.e.

My only objection to the book is that I found the magical language awkward. I kept having to stop to figure out how to pronounce the words for spells and magical objects, and they didn't seem to have a rhyme or reason, unlike Rowling's, which are Latin-based. Plus the spells themselves are very unwieldy. They are just a lot of letters strung together.

But overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and would read the rest of the trilogy. It's a good addition to the fantasy of childre's fantasy lit.
Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews123 followers
February 8, 2010
This one just felt right from the beginning and continued to hit me the right way throughout. It's a bit younger than I normally read, but the fact that I never felt the least bit less enjoyment from it says a lot.

It's extraordinary because if you set up the plot it sounds very, very old. Young boy, underdog of the first order (orphan, "gutterboy", pick-pocket), taken up, reluctantly, by an older wizard - a grumpy and often distracted one who ultimately comes to care for the boy. (I almost could see Nevery saying "Fool of a Took!" at some point.) And big threat to the city through loss of its magic which only the boy can figure out in time to save the day, using his magical talents and left-over thieving skills.

BUT. Conn is one of the best characters I've encountered in a long time, and the super-restrained presentation of his real pain ends up being very effective. The magic was fun too, and all three of the male main characters being men of few words worked too.

Lest it should seem that only the boys have any interesting parts, it's not the case! The ruler of Wellmet is a woman, and her daughter Rowan is another great character. That said, after Conn, my favourite is probably Benet, hired as a thug, pretty much, but a knitting, cooking sweetie. (Not that I'd say it to his face.)

Finally - it's got runes for deciphering. I'd have loved them as a child and I still love them now. And the messages at the bottom of Nevery's journal are so much fun it's a nice touch.
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