The darling of the fantasy fiction scene returns with a magical new trilogy to delight loyal readers and newcomers alike. Antipodean Trudi Canavan is an expert in the trilogy field, Millennium’s Rule being her fourth and equally epic voyage.
Thief’s Magic is an introduction to the multiple world adventures of Tyen, a gutsy, Indiana Jones-style archaeology/sorcery student and Rielle, the submissive daughter of a wealthy family, destined to be married off to maintain status. The narrative alternates between the two seemingly unconnected stories and the protagonists’ very different worlds, as Canavan cleverly keeps you guessing when, where and if the two will meet.
Tyen’s tale begins with a very Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque excavation, where he comes across a sentient book created from a human woman, called Vella. Before he can say “fedora hats”, Tyen finds himself a fugitive, hounded by the Academy he was once the star pupil of. Rielle on the other hand, comes from a world governed by priests, where magic is the sacred power of the Angels. Corrupt citizens caught stealing magic from the Angels become “tainted”, leaving a trail of magical stain in their wake.
The opposing worlds are a little gender skewed; Tyen has the adventure while Rielle has the romance, but they do have equal helpings of treachery and dishonour to contend with which helps the balance and leads to plausible character development.
The sheer size of this first instalment of the Millennium’s Rule is intimidating and at times the narrative does become a little tiresome. Canavan could have been kinder to the environment and condensed the action by a few hundred pages. Having said that, Thief’s Magic is definitely an inviting introduction to the series. It’s a smooth, easy read, providing your arm is strong enough to withstand its hefty ergonomics.