The Magic Thief, Lost, Found – Sarah Prineas
Published by Harpercollins in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Boy wizards have been rather prevalent in children’s literature. They come in many shapes, sizes and talents. Harry Potter came with truckloads of issue and history, tragedy and hope. Connwaer (Conn for short), the intrepid “gutter-rat” and future wizard has his own history full of evil uncles and starved mothers. But there’s a magical essence in him, a non-human essence that sets him apart from everyone else and makes him a fascinating character to read and follow. His fearlessness and absolute refusal to be subservient to anyone, even his wizard master, is in parts endearing and in parts amusing. While there is an element of immaturity in his person, it is tempered by the odd wisdom of his words, his conviction of his beliefs and his determination to follow through with his plans no matter how high the odds against him are stacked.
The writing in all three books is sparse. Prineas does not spend much time on description but she creates a solid world, an alternate world where cities have their own magic, where there are moldy wizards who refuse to admit new ideas. The mythology is gripping and the world building is detailed and strong. The divide between the poor and the rich, the social hierarchy, the humour – all of these are so well done. Then there are the characters. The books do not have too many characters but the ones they do have are strongly individualized. Prineas does not stereotype, in fact, she takes stereotypes and twists them on their heads. There is Bennet, the extremely huge bodyguard, who knits sweaters for Conn. There is the duchess in training who would much rather spend time with Conn than attend state parties.
I like how the primary arc of the story links all three novels together but each novel is one story on its own. There are also dragons and you guys ought to know enough about me by now to know that I am utter putty in the face of dragons. Literary dragons, of course. The novel will be enjoyed both by younger male readers as well as female readers – it’s gender neutral and does not pander to any one type of reader. I like that. Older readers, like yours truly, will be charmed by Conn and the wizard and any number of characters. I found the trilogy to be brilliantly imagined and perfect for Harry Potter fans. It was a good introduction to Prineas’s writing and I can’t wait to read more of her books. I recommend this trilogy.
p.s: I just found out that there is a fourth book in what I previously thought was a trilogy. It’ll be released in September 2014.