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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: The Magicians' Guild

Author: Trudi Canavan

Release date: Paperback Feb 2004
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841493138

Review:

The Magicians’ Guild is a high fantasy novel with an endearing cast of characters.

Sonea is a girl from the slums which encircle the outer wall of the city. Uneducated and impoverished, Sonea despises the magicians who do nothing to help the poor and enable the soldiers to abuse them. Once every year the magicians purge the streets of the underclass and the children of the slums rebel by throwing stones at their powerful shield. This year the purge is different from any other. Sonea stands with her friends and readies herself to throw a stone at the shield. She wills it to pass through the shield and with a great flash of light, it does just that. No one is more surprised than Sonea that she has magic. It was believed by all, including the magicians, that only those born into the Great Houses had the gift.

The attention of the Guild turns towards Sonea. With the help of her friends, she goes into hiding to escape the magicians. But they are searching for her and it is a race against time. Sonea’s powers are growing and soon she will lose all control and endanger the lives of everyone around her.

The first half of this book was incredibly frustrating to read. Sonea is in a very passive position once she goes into hiding. She does little more than test her magic in a locked room. The wait for the Guild to locate her became more and more irritating as I felt the outcome was inevitable. It was difficult to see if the obstacles she had to overcome were actually needed for her character development or the plot. Sometimes it seemed the author was stalling for no obvious reason. Having said that once the Guild had finally located Sonea I couldn’t put the book down. I was enthralled and really enjoyed her emotional journey. In the second half of the book the plot events had real meaning to her development. I was actually so addicted by the end of the story that I had to pick up the second book straightaway. It is such a luxury these days to read a series back to back.

One of the more unusual things about this YA series is that the author follows multiple viewpoint characters in the third person. Sonea is certainly the main character. But we also follow Rothen. He is a Guild magician, an older man, a teacher at the University and a character with a great sense of responsibility. Then there is Dannyl, he was once Rothen’s novice. Dannyl has a terrible problem with curiosity. It leads him into all kinds of interesting and highly dangerous situations. Then we also follow Cery. He is Sonea’s best friend and will do anything to protect her. All the viewpoint characters have an individual charm. I really warmed to Canavan’s characterisation.

Regardless of the slow and winding first half, I really did enjoy this book. It was full of dark and mysterious figures, twists and a compelling fantasy world. I definitely want to read more by Trudi Canavan once I’ve finished The Black Magician Series.

Recommended for fans of:

Source: Borrowed from my sister.

1 comment:

Vivienne said...

I have had this book on my shelves for ages. I really must read it. I was thinking only this morning I hadn't seen you blogging a lot lately and then you pop up in my Google Reader.