by Sarah Prineas
Recommended Ages: 10+
Most confusing of all, Conn's best friend is now the duchess, and she wants Conn to be her ducal magister. But that means forcing him into a position where he's sure he doesn't belong, and taking him away from a home where he fits, with Nevery and his servant Benet. With the magisters suspecting him of anything and everything, Rowan counting on him to help her balance the city's power, palace guards chasing him on the Sunrise side of the river and his cousin Ember keeping tabs on him in the Twilight, Conn feels boxed in right when he needs room to look around, figure out how to calm the magics and solve the mystery of the stolen stones. But despite scoring promising leads by talking with mudlarks and the chimney sweeps, the he doesn't discover true shape of what's going on until it might be too late to save the city.
Conn has been a wonderful hero to follow, and his adventures take place in a delightful, well-drawn fantasy worldscape. From his heartwarming and quirky relationships – including a tiny dragon he calls Pip – to the convincingly odd names of spells in the ancient dragon language, his creator shows tremendous imagination at a fine level of detail as well as world-building on a continental scale. At a range of either one book or a series of four, she also demonstrates the ability to turn a well-shaped story. Heck, she even (finally) persuaded me to learn the magisters' runes so I could decode the secret messages sprinkled throughout this book, a step I'm usually content to forgo. So, although this book brings many plot lines to a critical resolution, the only thing I would regret is not getting another chance to visit Conn's world.
This is the fourth book in the "Magic Thief" quartet, following The Magic Thief, Lost and Found. Sarah Prineas is also the author of several other YA fantasy and sci-fi titles, including Trouble in the Stars, Winterling, The Scroll of the King and more.