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Trudi Canavan

The Magician’s Guild, Harper Voyager (2001), ISBN: 9780732270957

The Novice, Harper Voyager (2002), ISBN: 9780732272364

The High Lord, Harper Voyager (2003), ISBN: 9780732272302

Reviewed by Kathryn Linge (this review was originally published in 2009)

The Black Magician Trilogy revolves around Sonea, a girl born in the slums of the city of Imardin, who discovers that she has magical abilities normally only found (or at least only looked for) in the upper classes. She discovers them during the annual Purge, when magicians from the Guild gather together to purge the city of the homeless by order of the King of Kyralia. Angry at how her friends and family are being treated, Sonea throws a stone at the magicians’ shield, and is amazed when it passes through the magical barrier and knocks a magician unconscious. The Guild are immediately concerned that such strong ability has developed naturally in a slum dweller, partly because no commoner has been accepted to be a Guild magician in hundreds of years, but also because if Sonea cannot learn to control her power, it will destroy her and possibly a good part of the city as well.

A large part of The Magician’s Guild, book one of the trilogy, follows Sonea’s attempts to hide from the magicians, aided by her friend Cery and the Thieves, who see advantage in having access to a magician not controlled by the Guild. And, to be honest, I found the book fairly predictable and unexciting. The action remains static for much of the novel. After rousing the Guild’s interest, Sonea hides throughout the city. The Guild’s need to find her before she (effectively) explodes with power is not clearly established – there’s no real sense of urgency and so we have a storyline where the magicians nearly find her on a couple of occasions, but she avoids them, finds a new spot to hide, and the cycle continues. By the time, Sonea has been found by the Guild, and the danger of her uncontrolled power is finally explained, I was lost to the rest of the story. Don’t get me wrong, The Magician’s Guild is competently written and the text is far from stodgy. It just wasn’t very engaging. Read the rest of this entry »

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