The Magic Thief: Home, by Sarah Prineas, was published in 2014 by Henry Holt. It is the sequel to The Magic Thief: Found.
Conn has come a long way since the days when he was a thief and a wizard’s apprentice. He and the dragon Pip have saved the city of Wellmet from doom more than once, and now his best friend, Duchess Rowan, wants to make him the ducal magister, the city’s most important wizard. But the older wizards don’t trust Conn…especially now that their locus magicalicus stones are disappearing! Once a thief, always a thief, they think. To solve the mystery of the disappearing stones, Conn goes back to his beginnings—gutterboy, chimney sweep, mudlark, and, yes, thief. It’s the only way he can clear his name and find the culprit. But turning back is not easy, and old enemies don’t disappear. Can Conn pull himself out of the gutter one more time?
My favorite part of Home didn’t actually take place in the book, but in the little notes at the end. Conn’s treatise on dragons and then his notes to Rowan about the menu had me cracking up. Conn is such a fun protagonist and the notes in the back and the ones scattered throughout the book really do a lot to enhance his personality even more (and those of the characters he interacts with).
I also love Nevery and Conn’s relationship and its development over the four books. By the time you get to this one, Nevery’s “I love you like a son” (not his exact words, but it’s what he meant) moment is so fulfilling and heartwarming, especially after the events in Found. I love moments like that as you might know if you read my review of Jinx, which has a similar trope.
Although I thought the return of one of the first book’s villains was odd and felt a teensy bit recycled, I did enjoy the way it bookended the series and made it come full circle. I especially enjoyed Conn’s development in Home as he discovers his place in society and finds his, well, home.
I still think this series has a few flaws (such as the way the city and the world feel empty except for the named characters, the clumsy names like “Academicos” and “locus magicalicus,” the sudden appearance of Benet/Kerrn and Embre/Rowan, and the flatness of secondary characters like Rowan), but I fully admit that I can’t expect middle grave novels to do what I expect young adult novels to do, so as a middle grade series, The Magic Thief is top-notch.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“You have to be more careful,” she said.
“I am careful.”
She gave me an exasperated look. “Conn, today you tricked your guard and went into the Twilight alone, where you apparently did a magical spell that left you smelling like smoke. You are not careful.” She folded her arms. “You are the ducal magister now. You simply must learn to act like it.”