Time for another review and this time we are looking at some adult fiction, Trudi Canavan has sat on my shelves for years; several of her books have any way. However, I finally decided I needed to start them but I had to start at the beginning and her world begins with The Magicians’ Guild, the first in The Black Magician Trilogy. I picked this up as an emergency holiday read and I have no regrets, in fact I have just ordered the next in the series to read when it gets here!
This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.
What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.
This blurb hooked me from the first moment, the class system is evident in the blurb and I love reading about the average joe overcoming the caste system horrors and coming out on top.
Although the blurb was from the magicians’ point of view, majority of the book is from Sonea’s point of view, the girl who realised her magical ability when she knocked one of the magicians out with a rock. Sonea is a complicated character and has to face a lot of trials and tribulations throughout the novel, you see her develop as a person (in fact you see her grow from a child to an adult- but not in a sexual manner) through both her actions but also her reasonings. She develops from a rather selfish perspective that the magicians must be evil to one where she realises the position she is in.
Now Sonea is not the only perspective you get, the majority of other perspectives are Rothen, Cery, and Fergun. Fergun is the magician she knocked out and although you don’t see much of his thoughts, you definitely learn a lot about the Warrior Magician in those short glimpses. Rothen on the other hand becomes much of a father figure to Sonea, leading the hunt for her but more for her own protection than the need to control her. Cery is the only other perspective you see that is not a magician’s point of view, Cery is a thief (if only by nature rather than part of the guild) he spent a long time with Sonea during the years before the novel take place, but after some time apart and reuniting you learn just how much Cery is willing to take to protect Sonea. The Cery-Sonea relationship is a complicated beast, you see it develop and strain, and there is heartbreak and heart palpitations.
If you cant tell, I love these characters, I think that they are wonderfully developed but also lead to further development in the rest of the trilogy.
In terms of plot, the main concern throughout the first novel is the capture of Sonea and getting her into the Magicians’ Guild, for not only her own protection but for the protection of all those around her. There are several sub-plots involved, love, caste, prejudice, and of course the tension caused by bringing a slum dweller into the guild when only high-born members of society were only ever considered before. When summarised, the plot sounds ridiculously simple and that there is no way it could fill an entire novel. But Trudi has wonderful writing and a way of working scenes that this simple plot is perfect for the novel length without feeling either boring or simple while reading.
It was beautifully executed.
Of course there is a magic system, a whole society, and a large amount of back story involved in this world; but you never feel as if the information has just been dumped on the page. No information is given without logically being needed in the scene. Things like the history of the magician’s relationship to the crown and the development of the guild were taught in a manner that didn’t feel like a lesson but rather through snippets and conversations- logical conversations between a mentor and a person being thrust into a new world.
I recommend for those trying to get into high fantasy!
This was nothing short of a five star read for me. The writing was beautiful. The characters well rounded. The action was fitting for the start of not only a trilogy but the rest of the sequel series also.
I cannot wait to return to Imardin and see how Sonea is faring!
Go pick up this book! And the next in the series too!