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Literature / The Magic Thief

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The Magic Thief is a fantasy quartet for children written by Sarah Prineas and featuring illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo. It's published in the United States by Harper Collins.

The three books in the quartet are:

  • The Magic Thief, published June 2008
  • The Magic Thief: Lost, published June 2009
  • The Magic Thief: Found, published May 2010
  • The Magic Thief: Home, published Sept. 2014

The Magic Thief follows Connwaer, a young pickpocket in the city of Wellmet, who makes the mistake of stealing a "locus magicalicus", a stone that holds a wizard’s power. Touching a wizard’s locus stone is an almost-certain death sentence, but Conn somehow manages to survive. Curiosity convinces Nevery, the owner of the stone Conn tries to steal and recently returned to the city after a decades-long exile, to take Conn in as a servant, though Conn thinks he’s going to be the wizard’s apprentice. Nevery has been allowed to return to Wellmet in an effort to help stem the leak that seems to be draining the city’s magic. Conn seems to know more about it than anyone gives him credit for, but will he be able to convince anyone in time to save the city’s magic?


This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Crowe calculated that Conn would be a better heir than his own son, so he crippled Embrewing to clear the way. Conn is horrified.
  • Anti-Villain: The rogue magic is attacking Wellmet because it lost its city and people, and is desperately lonely.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Conn lost his memory for a while. He got it back by the very end of book 3.
  • Cain and Abel: Black Maggie, Conn's mother, was killed by Underlord Crowe, her brother.
    • Thankfully averted with cousins Embrewing and Conn, as the former admits to preparing to kill Conn before realizing he has no interest in usurping the Underlord position.
  • Captured Super-Entity: Wellmet's magic being contained in a machine to weaken it by Underlord Crowe.
  • The City Narrows: The Twilight. (No, not that one.)
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Connwaer.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Conn's mom is dead before the series starts, and his dad never appears.
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  • Delayed Explosion: What happens when Conn and Nevery try a locating spell to find Conn's locus stone.
  • Dying Town: Quite literally as Conn finds out; The magic running Wellmet is a sentient being, and it is old and weak.
  • Evil Uncle: Conn has one of these. It's Underlord Crowe.
  • Give Me Back My Wallet: Conn catches another pickpocket trying this on him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Connwaer. Twice.
  • Hey, You!: Conn always refers to his mother as "Black Maggie."
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: the magic beings
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nevery. One of his defining traits according to his character bio is "Kind, but would never admit it."
  • Justified Criminal: Connwaer steals so he can eat.
  • Land of One City: A rare Justified example, as cities only get built (and may literally only be able to flourish) around wellsprings of magic, which only happens when a dragon dies. Dragons don't exactly tend to settle near cities or other dragons, so wellsprings of magic tend to end up fairly distant from each other.
  • Language of Magic
  • Master of Unlocking: Conn.
  • Meaningful Name: Nearly half the cast has them, and certain names even become a plot-point.
    • Not to mention the fact that the boy-thief protagonist is named Conn.
  • Modest Royalty: Rowan Forestal. In the first book, Conn doesn't realize she's more than any other rich kid until he learns enough letters to read the Duchess' family name on Rowan's robe.
  • Our Dragons Are Different
  • Parental Substitute: Nevery and Benet to Conn.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Conn and Rowan. They're the best of friends and always stick up for each other, but there's nothing romantic about their relationship, even hintwise. Though Argest may be jealous of Conn.
  • Power Crystal: Wizards use, instead of the traditional Magic Wand, a jewel or stone called a locus magicalicus to focus raw magic to cast spells. As Nevery explains, a locus stone ranges from anything between a rock and a gemstone.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Benet is incredibly domestic, but terrifying if you get on his bad side. He doesn't work as Nevery's bodyguard (and stand-in housemaid and cook) for nothing.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Rowan is the daughter of the Duchess of Wellmet and later becomes Duchess herself. She travels to foreign cities, fights evil magic-beings and saves Conn more than once when he gets in over his head.
  • Rules of Orphan Economics: Conn starts off with type 3, but meeting Nevery moves him to type 2.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: ...Makes a great way to cast magic, as it happens!
  • Theme Naming: All of Crowe's family have bird-related names. Such as his sister Black Maggie (Magpie), his son Embrewing, Conn himself...
  • Trilogy Creep: The four-year gap between Found and Home probably qualify.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: Conn giving himself to Wellmet and Arhionvar causes this. He gets his memories back, thankfully.
  • Wham Line: In book three, Conn's plan to unite the two magics in taking care of Wellmet. More specifically, how he does it.
    I gave the magics me.
    The dragon wasn't dying. A magic was being born.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Nevery returns from a twenty-year exile at the beginning of the series, and in the second book, Connwaer gets exiled for the same reasons Nevery did.


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