Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

The Magicians' Guild is set in a place called Imardin, where each year on the orders of the King, the magicians gather to purge the city of undesirables. Many are forced from their homes, and a young slum girl named Sonea, full of rage from the injustice her family and friends receive, decides to fight back. She starts throwing stones at the magicians, the first harmlessly bouncing off the shields that the magicians have erected. The second stone however hits home, going straight through the shield and knocking a magician unconscious. Unsure of how she managed to pierce a magical shield, Sonea flees from the scene, terrified by what just happened and fearful of the magicians reaction.

The Magicians realise immediately that they have an untrained magician on their hands, and left untrained, they could easily loose control and cause mass devastation around them. The Magicians' Guild has never taken in the poor to their guild, but as this knowledge dawns on them, they understand what must be done, and seek out the girl to prevent a possible disaster.

But Sonea, fearful of what the magicians will do to her should they find her flees for her life, convinced the magicians mean her harm and seek revenge for her rebellious actions. With only her friend Cery to turn to, Sonea struggles with her emotions as she realises that the only way to penetrate a magical shield would be if she herself had magic. Between them they seek the aid of the notorious Thieves Guild to keep her safe from the clutches of the Magicians, but as her new found power begins to unravel, the Thieves realise there is only so much that they can do to help...

Trudi Canavan uses new words to describe simple things, which at times can be slightly confusing and unnecessary, but otherwise i found the story to be well written and engaging. The book is told from both Soneas perspective and that of the magicians who seek her, and the world that Canavan portrays from these different viewpoints is harsh in its reality of showing the huge gap in lifestyles of the rich and poor, and the politics and complications that these differences bring.

Canavan reveals only that which is necessary and takes her time to draw out the inevitable conclusion, and to that end I believe the book could have been a little bit shorter. However her characters are well developed and the world of Imardin beautifully drawn and there is more than enough intrigue to make up for the lack of wow moments in the story. There are a lot of similarities to the Harry Potter series but by no means are they the same, and some fantasy readers may also make links with Maria V. Snyders' Study series.

All in all, The Magicians' Guild is a good start to a brilliant trilogy, and if you can tolerate the lack of edge of your seat moments in the first book, you will certainly be rewarded in the next two.