Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Magic Thief: Book One

The Magic Thief: Book One

Sarah Prineas
Illustrator:  Antonio Javier Caparo 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
HarperCollins, 1999   ISBN: 978-0061375873

Conn is a street rat who just about manages to get by by stealing and picking pockets. One foggy evening, as he is roaming the streets of the Twilight, Conn sees a likely mark and he picks his pocket. He ends up getting a locus magicalicus, a wizard's magic stone. By some miracle Conn is not instantly killed by the stone, though the stone does give him a few uncomfortable moments. What is interesting is that the owner of the stone - a wizard called Neverly Finglas - does not punish Conn. Instead he takes him in, feeds him, and provides him with a warm set of clothes.

Conn learns that Neverly was banished from the town of Wellmet many years ago but he is now back, and it is a good thing too because Wellmet is in trouble. For some reason the magic in the town is disappearing and the Magisters (wizards) have no idea why this is happening. After a day or two in Neverly's company Conn decides that he isn't going to stay with the wizard unless he is apprenticed. Reluctantly Neverly agrees to take Conn on. He is intrigued by the boy's undoubted predisposition to magic and Conn might be useful to have around.

Conn starts to attend school, and he also begins to look for a locus magicalicus of his own. Without a stone of this kind Conn will not be able to become a proper apprentice. As he searches in the streets of Wellmet, Conn begins to realize that the magic on which they all depend is perhaps not what it seems.

This delightful story is told from both Conn's and Neverly's point of view. It is interesting to see how differently these two people think, and also how they grow closer as the story unfolds. Conn's growing magical awareness is fascinating to see, and readers will be eager to find out what this young man does next.