A Series of Fortunate Reviews

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15. Book: The Magicians' Guild, Trudi Canavan

Each year the magicians’ of Imardin gather to purge the city streets if vagrants, urchins and miscreants. Masters of the disciplines of magic, they know that no one can oppose them. But their protective shield is not as impenetrable as they believe.

For as the mob are herded from the city, a young street girl, furious at the authorities’ treatment of her family and friends, hurls a stone at the shield, putting all her rage behind it. To the amazement of all who bear witness, the stones passes unhindered through the barrier and renders a magician unconscious.

It is an inconceivable act, and the guild’s worst fear has been realised – an untrained magician is loose on the streets. She must be found, and quickly, before her uncontrolled powers unleash forces that will destroy both her, and the city that is her home.

The Magicians’ Guild is the first volume in a stunning new fantasy trilogy that ripples with magic, action and high adventure.

“It is said, in Imardin, that the wind has a soul, and that it wails through the narrow streets because it is grieved by what it finds there.” 

I must be having a hardcore fantasy week or something. My brother and sister were brought up on these books and as per sibling tradition, their books were left to me as they left for university. The trilogies spines are well cracked and each book has that distinct smell of being old, I mean really old. I’m sure they’re older than me at least.

But back to the book itself. I saw why it was tradition. Trudi Canavan writes with a beatific simplicity that is enjoyable and refreshing. She does not write with the intensity of Sanderson, as I have now figured, but in her own way she is just as captivating and compelling. Although I must say that they both have the same tendency of making up slang words for ordinary objects and other things. That must be a pattern with fantasy world building?

Canavan paints a devastatingly realistic picture of the differences between the rich and the poor. The poorer people are deprived of all but basic allowances, and even those are revoked at points. The bridge between social categories is a seriously enhanced version of our own, with the added bonus of magic amongst it all.

Essentially, The Magicians’ Guild sees its characters through this first part of their lives, the dramatic point of realization that Sonea, the leading role, possesses magic. The story does not rush, and in fact surprises the reader in its length to reach a conclusion all but impossible to avoid thanks to the cover's blurb. Yes Sonea has to go with the hated Guild and learn how to control her magic but it’ll take a lot of persuasion to get her there. She is very stubborn. This is a wonderful aspect, because it doesn’t conform to the reader’s first perceptions yet still stays close to them at the same time. But some people could find it redundant and overwrought.

“The last young lady I met stabbed me. You know I’m cursed when it comes to women.” 

Although, Canavan does have the tendency to flit between storylines mid-chapter. This is different to other authors who split their storylines into different chapters, preferring to flit between them in that precise, and well defined way. Some may consider Canavan’s way to be disrupting to the flow of the plot and harder to follow than the split chapter pattern. I found initially like this but grew to enjoy it, finding that it added to the intensity.

You may also be wondering about how the concept of magic is approached through this novel. The main viewpoint is of Sonea and her friend Cery who practically hate magic because of how it’s affected their family. Therefore, we see it in a rather negative light. However, it’s more explored in the next books.

Due to this near hatred, Sonea can come across as a cold and distant character who plots and plans about her future but does little about them physically. There’s also the clichéd best friend in love with a girl who doesn’t love them back. We have that with Sonea and Cery, which you can feel quite sorry for. I think that some of Sonea’s actions are justified and this hatred is lessened somewhat as the series progresses.

But despite that, I was immensely pleased throughout, with an inability to predict some aspects of what was going to happen next, although the ending outcome was well expected. Canavan doesn’t attempt to hide the story, but simply reveals what is necessary and anything else is left for the reader to deduce for their own benefit. The cliff hanger ending also prompts you read onwards, it may feel like a copout but who doesn’t like a good cliff hanger?

I’ll definitely carry on the tradition and maybe read it again before I do.

“How am I going to make friends with these people if all I can think of is how easy it would be to rob them?” 

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