Author: Trudi Canavan
Release date: This paperback edition 2005
Genre: High Fantasy
Target audience: Adult
UK Publisher: Orbit
Priestess of the White is the first novel in Trudi Canavan’s Age of Five series.
Set in a fantastical world where Gods have chosen representatives to do their bidding in the world, this novel mixes magic and religion. The leaders of Hania are the White – five powerful sorcerers who are guided by their Gods. Auraya is the youngest of the White and the novel begins with her joining the Priesthood and her commitment to devote her life to the will of the Gods.
It is the Gods’ will that all of Northern Ithania be united and at peace. Auraya is a problem solver by nature, she is patient and caring. She had a childhood friendship from a Dreamweaver and this makes her more open-minded and accepting of their choices. It is this unique vision that makes Auraya a great peace-maker and her role as a servant of the Gods sees her travel to form alliances with other races in Northern Ithania.
This is an epic book and I feel the challenge of summarising the complicated history of the Gods’ past is beyond me. Those who do not follow the Gods they are known as Dreamweavers – the White view them as heathens. The leader of the White killed the leader of the Dreamweavers and there is a deep rooted hatred between these peoples. Dreamweavers are healers and pacifists. They were persecuted by followers of the White and were massacred in the past. Auraya hopes to change the dynamic between the White and the Dreamweavers.
While the nations of Northern Ithania are debating alliances with the White, in the South the heathen cult known as the Pentadrians (who follow fake Gods) are readying themselves for war.
Trudi Canavan’s storytelling leaves me awestruck. There are so many different plots and subplots running through this novel and they all link together in a coherent mesmerising way. The story is told in Canavan’s usual style – a third person roving viewpoint. We still the events of the story from so many different characters and it could be completely overwhelming but Canavan’s writing is so incredibly clear that it isn’t.
The themes in this novel are war and loyalty, the idea of devotion and free will, power and sacrifice, strength and weakness. It was fascinating to read about characters who range from fervent in their belief in their Gods to absolute hatred towards the Gods. It made me feel impartial to all the different social groups. If there was a character that stole my heart it was Mischief – Auraya’s pet veez – he added a much needed humour in the darkest times.
I can’t wait to see where this story goes next. The thing I love most about Trudi Canavan is her novels never disappoint. Great epic fantasy at its best.
Recommended for fans of:
- The Black Magician series by Trudi Canavan
- The Traitor Spy series by Trudi Canavan
- The Opal Cowan series by Maria V. Snyder
Source: Bought from Waterstones in Oxford