Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Magician's Guild

by Trudi Canavan


Imardin is a crowded city where the gulf between rich and poor is vast. In the sprawling and filthy slums around the outskirts of the city, Sonea finds herself on the wrong side of that divide. Her aunt and uncle have recently been evicted, and the magicians are converging for an annual Purge in order to clear the streets of slum-dwellers.

Sonea decides to join with a gang of old friends who are demonstrating against the despised and feared magicians. The slum-dwellers throw stones in a futile gesture of frustration and defiance, knowing that they will have no effect, since the magicians are considered invulnerable. But Sonea somehow manages to get a stone past their defences, knocking one unconscious.

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.

Book Details

Year: 2001

Categories: Books

    Female Protagonist  

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Trudi Canavan


desiree     23rd November, 2005 05:59am

spell-binding! better than jk rowling and cs lewis. couldn't escape the story's grip. the trilogy is "unputdownable". i loved it.

Charli     1st February, 2006 18:14pm

Absolutely fantastic! When I finished reading them I was gutted because I just wanted to be able to read them all over again for the first time - they were that good!!! Any harry potter fans will love it!!! And any other people come to think of it!

maggie     10th February, 2006 23:23pm

the magicians guild ups the ante on all previous reads in that league purely and totally addicitive all i can say is "hurry up", trudi we want more mind blowing stuffn

Hazz     24th March, 2006 19:10pm

best ever! absolutely gr8t!! when id finished i jst wanted to read it all over again and again and again and again!!!!!!!!!!

Carole     27th March, 2006 14:34pm

I've never read fantasy before, Harry Potter is not my thing, but the Magician't Guild has got me HOOKED!!!!! MORE please.......

Daniel     27th March, 2006 19:31pm

The majicians Guild is fantasy at its best with some real life quandries thrown in for good measure, to make it seem more real. I can't wait for more of Trudi's work.

Jeannie     20th July, 2006 06:09am

The Magician's Guild is a fantastic creation, even better than Tolkien! Can't wait to read more mind blowing, and actually BELIEVABLE stuff from Trudi.

Jess     25th June, 2007 22:24pm

Brilliant book for all ages. If you love The magician's Guild read: The Assassin's Apprentice (intense), The Dark Is Rising (brilliant), The Spirit Ring (classic), Inkheart (younger read), Sing The Four Quarters (older read), Sabriel (original), Summon The Keeper (older), Wolf Brother, and Stravaganza!!! Happy reading!

Katie     12th July, 2007 10:10am

The Entire Series Is Fantastic!
Its Got Me Hooked And I Cant Stop Dreaming About It All The Time Ive Got Questions Whirling Around My Head And i Cant Put Any Of Them Down!

Ami     4th November, 2007 19:54pm

The trilogy was truly amazing! I loved all the characters as well as the story ('cept Regin grrrrr) but of course it wouldn't have been as good without the evil element! I think i'll reread the lot!! woop!

Nancy     30th October, 2008 19:32pm

this was the WORST book i have ever read honestly it was like killin myself ten times over on halloween i am going to burn it laff and laff and laff