It says it right on the cover of the Thief’s Magic advanced review copy that Trudi Canavan has sold two million books worldwide—which is roughly 1/50th of the Super Bowl’s audience, or about 100 times the audience of a moderately successful debut novel. You might think that’s a common level of success. It isn’t. It’s an absurd total, demonstrating a huge commercial appeal to Canavan’s fiction.
And I get it. Heavy investment in character development and setting creates an enticing remoulade to tempt the eye-buds (those are like taste buds, but with tear ducts). Even when the narrative drags—and it does—Canavan has that indefinable knack for capturing a reader’s imagination.
Tyen is an archeology student and burgeoning magician. On a dig with his mentor, he finds an ancient book, named Vella, who happens to be alive, more or less. Twisted into her current shape by a long dead sorcerer, Vella knows more about how the world works than anyone alive. Meanwhile, in a land ruled by religion, Rielle has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the divine. Unfortunately, she’s one of the rare people who can sense the stain magic leaves behind and it’s becoming an increasingly difficult secret to keep.
Canavan replaces our modern conception of electricity with magic—everything relies on its availability or lack thereof. A renewable resource, to some degree, magic swirls around humanity, but when tapped leaves behind a residue the sensitive experience tangibly. In Tyen’s world magic is strained to capacity, burning off at a rate not dissimilar from our modern relationship to fossil fuels. As a magician he’s concerned with its long term viability, and Vella, his sentient book companion, leads him to believe that alternative energy sources might exist if he’ll only look for them. < Read More >