Science fiction and fantasy
The Magician's Guild
by Trudi Canavan
Immediately the magicians realise that there is an untrained magician loose in the city, and everything changes for Sonea. They fear her power and launch a search to bring her in. Sonea believes she has every reason to fear for her life, and goes into hiding.
Much of the book concerns Sonea's attempts to evade capture. She comes into contact with the Thieves, a mob-like guild who run the crime in Imardin. They have a reputation for punishing betrayal with death. Sonea has the help of Hardin and Ceryni, friends from her youth, and as the noose tightens around her she gets to know who she can trust.
In the Black Magician trilogy magic comes at a price, and at first Sonea would rather be powerless and poor than become what she despises.
We get to see things from the point of view of some of the magicians, such as Dannyl and Rothen. The magicians are divided over what to do about this underfed and hostile slum-girl. Dannyl is bothered by the spiteful nature of Fergun, the magician Sonea struck with a stone. Fergun has a claim on her guardianship, as does Rothen, and there's a power struggle at the guild over who should have this position. Regardless of their reputation there are magicians with a heart, and Rothen seems to be one of these.
The Magician's Guild takes time to get where it's going, clearly building up to epic length rather than being one intense situation after another. This book lays the foundations of a love story and a coming-of-age, as well as some mystery and political intrigues that look certain to come to a head in later books. The Magician's Guild isn't yet as dark as it has the potential to become, but it's full of the tension of a conflict about to erupt. The characters are unique and often surprising, so whilst the setting isn't very unusual they elevate this book above most stock fantasy fare.
Trudi Canavan takes themes of loyalty and class and weaves them into an intriguing story where it's the people who matter, more than any magical pyrotechnics. If The Magician's Guild is a good guide of what's to come then the Black Magician trilogy will certainly be enthralling.
If you like this, try:Debris by Jo Anderton
When a fall destroys her latest grand project, magical architect Tanyana feels like she has lost everything.
City of Dreams and Nightmare by Ian Whates
A young man goes on the run in an unusual city in this fantasy adventure.
Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop
The third episode of the Black Jewels trilogy.
Review © Ros Jackson
More about Trudi Canavan