by Tanya Huff
Review by Asta Sinusas
Red Deer Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1895836638
Date: 07 April, 1999 List Price $9.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Having otherwordly powers makes Magdalene, the world's most powerful (and laziest) wizard, face the opportunity to defeat magical challenges. By contrast Terazin, a top-notch thief, faces challenges that involve magic and otherworldly powers, but her main challenge is always her burglaring abilities. Told chrononologically, each progressive story widens each character's universe making their world by turns richer and complex.
Beginning "The Last Lesson" as a young assistant, Magdalene's legend begins, with the story ending with our heroine a full wizard. The next, and most poignant entry, "Be It So Humble" begins with a wandering Magdalene, shunned for her magic, and how she settles near a small village and makes peace with the locals. Life does not end there, with the surprise revelation of a willful son in "Third Time Lucky", and a young apprentice echoes Magdalene’s first story in "And Who Is Joah". Successive tales reveal her bawdy nature and endearingly lazy behavior.
Slightly darker in tone, Terazin has only four stories. "Swan's Braid" recounts her acceptance into the Thieves' Guild, and following entries tell of increasingly daring commissions she embarks on. Her reputation grows, culminating in the final story "Sometimes, Just Because" and its unusual twist. A turning point for the character, it will be intriguing to see where Huff may take Terazin in future stories.
The book's reversible design echoes that of Ace doubles; the decades-old concept of introducing a newer writer by publishing them alongside one more established. In Stealing Magic, it is completely unnecessary, as most readers would be buying the book because of the author. Previously available only in Canada, this collection (with a new story added) is now available in the States, and will certainly be a welcome addition to Tanya Huff fans, new and old, everywhere.