In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.
But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall?
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When I was small, my mother taught me about the magickless—evil men who hunted our kind to destroy us. They came from across the water to steal the lands of our ancestors. Pretending to want peace, they enslaved us and sought to extinguish what they couldn’t possess, the one thing their harsh laws could never control. Our ancient powers. One day, my mother warned me, violence would shatter the safety of our home, and when that day came, we must fight. And we must win.
I’ll be honest. I picked this one up because it was free and the cover was cool. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. It had an interesting premise. Magical girl who knows she’s special but doesn’t exactly know how finds herself alone in the world and is forced to take refuge with a band of thieves (hence the title). The idea of magic-folk being hunted down was kind of a cool idea too – a little something different instead of magic-folk being revered in a lot of fantasy stories. So the whole thing started pretty strong.
However, as the story progressed and young Ilan matured, she really turned into quite the spoiled bitch. Greenwood is trying to make Ilan into an anti-hero, but that only works when there’s at least a few redeeming qualities about the character (humor, loyalty, quest for justice…something?). Wolverine is one of my favorite anti-heroes. He talks a lot about how much he doesn’t care, but all his actions speak otherwise. In Magic of Thieves, Ilan talks about how much she doesn’t care and her actions follow through with those words. She really doesn’t care. For the few people that are nice to her, she’s a complete bitch back to them, cursing them out, hitting them, ignoring them, and just generally being a cruel person. I was hoping that she would mature as the story progressed and maybe take responsibility for her actions, but she never did…instead she chose to cry and whine and bitch to everyone.
Other than that, there was really very little “magic” in the book except for two quick scenes. At the end, Ilan finds a magical bow (as seen on the cover art) at the end of the very last chapter, and doesn’t use it once in the book to do anything. Blah.