Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Magician's Guild

Title: The Magician’s Guild
Author: Trudi Canavan
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2001
Series: The Black Magician Trilogy (Book 1)
Next in Series: The Novice

Sonea lived with her aunt and uncle in the slums for most of her life, and every year the King and his magicians purge the city of the low class. Inadvertently part of a protest, Sonea joined in and threw a rock. But nothing ever gets past the magic barriers, so the magicians were confident as they force the impoverished from the city. Their confidence lasted until Sonea’s rock hit one of them in the head.

With that one, tiny act Sonea changed her life forever. Now she is hunted by the guild, at the mercy of Thieves and cannot return to her family. And the guild is no better off; they fear a rogue magician out for their destruction, or worse, someone who cannot control her power and may destroy the city. But what do they do if they find her? No one from the lower class has ever been allowed to join the guild.

The world of the Magician’s Guild jumps off the page, and is rich in both dialog and description. Sonea is an intensely frightened girl being forced to choose between two options she detests. One can’t help but feel her regret for throwing that stone, and at the same time admire her for doing something no one thought possible. Her friend, Cery, is immediately likeable for his roguish tendencies, sheer determination and unflagging loyalty to Sonea.

But sadly, it isn’t all wonderful. There’s only so much running away and hiding that I really want to read about. The Thieves tunnels were interesting for about fifty pages, and after that I grew bored. It was the same for Sonea losing control of her powers. How many times do you think you need to tell me that things are exploding or catching on fire before I get it? Plus, the villain (who has no redeeming qualities) likes to sneer a great deal. I wonder if there are any other synonyms for “sneer”.

But aside from that, it’s an interesting book. The world is richly created. Nothing, not even mice or dogs, have names we’re used to. While confusing at first, the new names are added a few at a time and are fairly easy to digest, helping to create the illusion that is the world of Kyralia. The slums spin to life, and, given the vivid imagery, it isn’t difficult to smell them. The best part is that there are two more books in which a reader can fully immerse herself into the culture. And there are just enough loose threads hanging at the end of the book that you’ll want to read the next one, but won’t kill yourself for not having bought them at the same time.

The Magician’s guild is told from third person omniscient. Be ready to constantly switch between Sonea’s view point, Cery’s view point, and even a few of the magicians!

My Thoughts:
I hadn’t read this book in a long time, because I remembered it being rather dull in the beginning. And honestly, it was just how I remembered it. I found myself skipping over some of the “and then they ran down this street and hopped through this grate to hide from so-and-so”, and I didn’t really feel like I missed much there. But I really do like Sonea as a heroine. She’s not spunky, she’s not vivacious, but she catches your interest all the same. Perhaps it’s her ability to make tough choices or that she fights back when she thinks something is unfair. Maybe it's just her determination. I’m not entirely certain. Besides, the other books are good enough that this one is worth the read just to get the foundation laid for the others.

And completely random, but it's always bothered me that the covers of the books have nothing to do with what happens in the story. Not once.

Favorite Scene:
I enjoyed the scene where Lord Dannyl is being questioned by Lord Rothen (both magicians) about why he is pretending he still has a limp.

Who this book is best for:
High schoolers or adults who want a nice romp through the dirty parts of the city and then an interesting bit of politics will enjoy this book.

Violence: 1.5 out of 5 for buildings exploding and a few knifings

Stars: 3 of 5

No comments: