Lucas Trent 3: Grand Theft Magic
by Richard Blunt
Blunt Publishing

"He was convinced that if he would let that alter ego out of its cage, the result would be very different. And once again this thought made him feel very uncomfortable."

Most people have dreamed at one time or another of being a superhero. Granted, not everyone fantasizes about flying through the air in a cape and tights and battling bad guys, but almost everyone has probably secretly wished at least once to be more powerful, smarter, or someone who others would see as a cut above the rest. The popularity of the Harry Potter series and the Maximum Ride books proves that young people especially can relate to the desire to be endowed with special gifts and abilities. Armed with this premise, author Richard Blunt has created Lucas Trent, a young man who discovers like Rowling's Harry that he has more than just ordinary, mortal abilities.

To his family, teachers, and most of his classmates Lucas is simply a rather nice and brainy sixteen-year-old who is studying IT in Luton, a city about an hour north of London, England. To his close friends, though, he is Guardian, the acknowledged leader of a small circle of teenage magic users who often battle in the shadows against enemies that most of the world never suspects exist. In this third installment in the series, the young heroes face threats that stretch their developing powers to their limits, encounter old foes and friends, and discover hidden properties of a substance that could destroy all life on Earth. Of course, the real world doesn't stop around them while they fight on the mystical front, and so Lucas and his friends also must deal with the challenges of school, their families, and personal relationships. It is this latter aspect of the book that does the most to enrich the story and give it necessary depth.

The relationship between Lucas and Stephanie has long been cordial, but it is painfully obvious to the reader that both participants are approaching it from different angles. While Lucas sees himself mainly as her protector and a big brother figure, it is evident that Stephanie wishes the relationship to be of a more romantic nature and will go to great lengths to move it to where she wishes it to be. Ironically, while Lucas deftly handles the situation in a way true to his character, it also helps bring to a head a crisis of the soul that could completely alter his character. Of course, teenage angst is nothing new to this genre, but Blunt's inclusion of it in his plot is much of what makes the novel worth reading.

Although labeled as a fantasy and an adventure story, neither element makes a strong appearance in the book. There is very little of the hidden world ambiance of Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale trilogy, nor will readers find the level of action here as is present in Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series. Rather, the author downplays both elements and focuses instead on how the characters manage to live their regular lives while dealing with the undercurrents of magic and mystery. The result is a tale that feels a bit more down-to-earth but is still very entertaining.

Grand Theft Magic is not a perfect fantasy-adventure book, but it is a highly engaging read and stars a truly likeable protagonist. Lucas is loyal, hard-working, and, most importantly, extremely honorable. And unlike many of the other super-powered heroes in this genre, he doesn't need magic or a special ability to be a cut above the rest.

Return to USR Home