Thief's magic by Trudi Canavan

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Orbit Books, 2014. ISBN 9780356501116.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Fantasy. Adventure. Science Fiction.
Thief's magic is the first book in the new Millenium's rule trilogy by author Trudi Canavan. The book comprises two stories which, in this first book at least, run parallel to one another with no crossover. Magic is at the heart of both stories, however its use is viewed very differently in each.
The hero of the first tale is Tyen Ironsmelter who is a student of sorcery and archaeology at the Academy. In Tyen's world sorcery is a valued profession and extensive use of magic to power great machines has been responsible for society's development. So heavily has magic been depleted in this world that there are fears it will run out.
An archaeological expedition at the beginning of the first chapter sees Tyen find a magical book in an ancient tomb. The book calls herself Vella and we discover that she was once a living person. Vella is a repository for knowledge - she is able to learn from those who touch her and communicate with writing which appears on her otherwise blank pages. Tyen develops a 'relationship' with Vella and is determined to find a way to return her to human form. His desire to hold on to her, coupled with his concern for how others may use her knowledge, see him become a fugitive on the run from the Academy and, ultimately, from his own world.
The parallel story is that of Rielle Lazuli whose parents own a respected dye works. We learn early in the tale that since a young age Rielle has been able to see 'stain' - the evidence of where magic has been used. Rielle's world appears significantly less advanced than Tyen's and here the use of magic is forbidden by all but priests as it is seen as stealing from the Angels. As being able to see 'stain' is associated with the ability to use magic Rielle has been encouraged by her aunt to hide the ability from everyone - including the rest of her family.
When Rielle strikes up a relationship with an artist, who her parents see as being below her status, she turns to magic for help. A series of events sees her crime discovered and she is arrested and banished to a far off land.
Thief's magic is an intriguing start to this new series. I was considerably more engaged by Tyen's story than by Rielle's however I suspect that in future books the two will intertwine. A substantial read at 553 pages, I would consider Thief's magic equally as appealing to both sexes and would recommend if for fantasy fans 13+ years of age.
Nicki Paterson