The magic seems to be decreasing in Wellmet, affecting regular citizens as well as the Magisters. Even the weather seems to be deteriorating. A banished wizard is asked to return in order to investigate the phenomenon. A young pickpocket crosses paths with this wizard and sets off a chain of events that leads to questions of trust and integrity and disagreements about just what magic is in the first place.
This is not another Harry Potter-esque story. Ms. Prineas has developed an entirely different magic culture than that to which many readers are accustomed. Her characters pose questions no one has ever really considered within average fantasy stories, and the result is a very refreshing page turner. The ending is only partially predictable, and I, for one, look forward to the next installment.
Rated: Mild, (for young readers) for one use of mild language.