Title: The Magic Thief: Lost
Author: Sarah Prineas
Conn has been set adrift. Since the loss of his locus magicalicus, the stone that lets wizards communicate with magic, he hasn’t been accepted as a wizard by the wizards of Wellmet. But he can’t go back to being a thief, either. He starts experimenting with pyrotechnics, hoping the explosions will allow him a brief window to communicate once more with the magic—knowing pyrotechnics have been outlawed and were the reason Neverly himself was once banished.
I love Conn. He’s smart and a very skilled thief, but he can’t seem to stop himself from getting into trouble. Trouble with the authorities, trouble with the magic, trouble with other nations . . . And despite being able to open locked doors, he’s also dealing with people who know enough to take away his lockpicks.
The uneasy relationships Conn has with everyone add a wonderful depth to the tension. Rowan, the duchess’s daughter, is possibly the only person who sees him as a friend. The duchess, the guards, and especially Kerrn, captain of the guards, dislike him enough to want him locked up on principle. The wizards hate Conn’s ideas about magic being alive, and even Neverly isn’t taking Conn’s side when it comes to pyrotechnics. And even in Twilight, the poor side of the city where Conn grew up, there are minions suspicious that Conn has designs on becoming the next Underlord.
I particularly like how the title resounds with multiple implications throughout the book. The first book, The Magic Thief, did this as well—Conn wasn’t just a thief who stole Neverly’s locus stone, he eventually stole the whole city’s magic back from those who would have captured it. In this one, the theme is loss. Conn’s convictions and methods drive him to a place where he loses everything and then some. Yet as heartwrenching as some of the losses are, he continues to find hope.
Overall this series just keeps getting better. I did miss Keeston, whom I thought would have a larger role in things but barely gets mentioned. But then again, Conn has been effectively cut off from every social class, and Keeston isn’t like Rowan who would flout the rules just to talk to him. I’m very much looking forward to more. I rate this book Recommended.