In my ongoing quest to avoid berserker rage on my morning commute, I have found another audiobook that I really enjoyed—The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. I got wind of this book when some young patrons were scrambling to get all of the sequels, in order, in audio. Their mom told me how much they were loving the books, so my curiosity was piqued. I love when kids tell me the best books to read! Or, you know, listen to!
I was a bit ambivalent at first about the narrator, Greg Steinbruner, but after a while he really settled down into the characters and made them come alive. Having done more than my share of read-alouds, I know that it can be difficult to get a character’s voice and mannerisms down. Still, I was glad that Steinbruner got the characters figured out, because the story deserves it. My last audiobook was a total snooze—literally. I kept zoning it out, was bored with the narrator and the characters, and found myself trying to doze off. Not happy. I don’t know if I actually made it through two chapters before giving up. (In case you’re wondering, it was The Dragon’s Tooth by Nathan Wilson, and sounded like a perfectly lovely book. Maybe it’s better in print?)
At any rate, in The Magic Thief, young Conn is eking out an existence as a thief in Wellmet until he picks the pocket of Magister Nevery Flinglas. Nevery is intrigued by the way his locus magicalicus (a stone used for focusing and using magic) responds to Conn, and takes him on as a servant. Conn believes he’s been taken on as a wizard’s apprentice and begins learning how to use magic. The story alternates between Conn’s first person account, and entries from Nevery’s journal. It’s interesting to hear the different perspectives about the same events, and hear Conn’s investigations into the decline of magic in Wellmet juxtaposed with Nevery’s oh-so-superior derision of Conn’s assertions about what’s going on. It’s so delightful when Nevery is proven wrong! Don’t get me wrong, Nevery is a good guy. He’s just terribly sure of himself, and don’t we all love it when someone like that gets their comeuppance?
I loved the theme of self-respect that runs through the story. Conn is willing to be a thief, but he refuses to be a servant (an interesting moral line to draw), he takes pity on another apprentice who is beaten by his master and asserts that being beaten by a master is something he would never put up with. He never doubts that he is worth befriending, and offers his own friendship without hesitation regardless of social status. He refuses to call Nevery his master, insisting that the wizard can learn just as much from him as he can learn from Nevery. And the wizard, to his credit, agrees.
I’ve enjoyed the book so much that I’ve started the second in the series. Huzzah for great audiobooks!
Copy for review was supplied by my library.