‘The Magicians’ Guild’ by Trudi Canavan Book Review

Image from trudicanavan.com
Image from trudicanavan.com

I’m a massive bookworm; I have two double width book shelves in my living room & another in my bedroom. I read about 5-10 books a week, depending on the size of the book. One of my favourite things to do at the weekend is to re-read one of my favourite books and have a cup of tea (or glass of wine).

I read lots of different genres, but fantasy and science fiction are probably my favourites; top of my list of favourite book series is The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan. I first read this series when I was at university, and I re-read it every year.

The official description of the book is below:

“Each year the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city streets of beggars, 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.

As the mob is herded from the city, Sonea, a young street girl, furious at the authorities’ treatment of her family and friends, hurls a stone at the shield, putting all of her rage behind it. To the amazement of all who watch, there is a flash of blue light and the stone passes straight through the barrier and cracks a magican on the temple, rendering him unconscious.

After five hundred years of order, 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 story takes place in Imardin, a beautiful walled city, full of majestic mansions, with a palace at the centre; outside of the city, the lower classes of society have built less impressive homes in the area known as the slums. The people who live in the slums call themselves ‘dwells’. Underneath the city operates a criminal network, ‘The Thieves’; the purge was first introduced to prevent the lower classes from inhabiting unsafe and unhygienic hovels, which were crudely constructed, following a dark period in the city’s history. These hovels were replaced with sturdier buildings, but the purges continued; Imardin’s nobility ‘The Houses’, see the purge as away to rid the city of criminals and miscreants, so it has continued to take place each winter for thirty years. As a way of evicting the dwells with limited violence, the King requires the magicians’ help, to force the dwells from their homes without giving them an opportunity to revolt.

The main protagonist is a 17 year old girl, Sonea, who was brought up in the slums by her aunt and uncle, Sonea’s aunt & uncle have tried to better themselves by getting work as crafters and moving into a better area, away from the slums; when the annual purge takes place they are forced out of these lodgings and back to the slums.

Sonea is making her way to meet them, when she discovers that a trap has been set to capture the gangs of youths who are protesting the purge; some of these dwells were old friends of Sonea’s, and she feels that she must warn them that they are walking into a trap. She manages to speak to her friends Harrin & Cery, as they are throwing stones at the magicians’ barrier; Sonea thinks that this is a pointless show of defiance, as nothing can penetrate the magicians’ magical shield. Whilst talking to her friends, Sonea sees a magician sneering at the dwells; because of the magicians and this archaic tradition, Sonea’s family and friends are losing their homes. Enraged, Sonea throws a stone at the scornful magician and wills it to pass through the barrier; there is a flash of light and the stone breaks through the barrier, hitting the magician on the head.

The magicians don’t expect mere dwells to be able to break through their barrier, and they react instinctively by sending stun strikes towards Sonea. The strikes combine, killing a boy in the crowd. Only one magician saw that it was Sonea who used magic, and realises that she is a natural, an untrained magician whose power is so strong that it has manifested without help; most magicians can only access their powers when they have been unlocked by another magician and they then must learn how to control their powers.

Horrified and shocked by what she has done, and what she perceives to be the magicians’ retaliation, Sonea flees the scene with her friend Cery. Cery’s father used to work for the thieves, through his connections Cery is able to make deal with the thieves; the thieves will hide Sonea from the guild on the condition that Cery will work from them, and that Sonea will work as a rogue magician once she has learned how to use her powers. Cery must decide how far he will go to protect Sonea from the guild.

Lord Rothen, a magician and teacher, identified Sonea as the person who used magic; he wants to find her and teach her how to control her powers. The guild make contact with Sonea via the thieves to assure her that they wish to help her, and mean her no harm; they will teach her how to control her powers and accept her as a novice to the guild.

The Magicians’ Guild hasn’t accepted any novices from the dwells in centuries, only the children from the Houses are tested for magical ability; Sonea doesn’t believe the guild means to help her, and is terrified that when they find her they will kill her. Sonea’s fear of the guild upsets the little control she has of her powers, causing destruction wherever she goes. The guild must find Sonea’s before she loses control completely and is consumed by her own powers.

I love this book; if you like fantasy, science fiction or stories with a supernatural element you will really enjoy it. I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

Links to the book can be found below; this is not a sponsored post, this is where I bought my latest copy(for some reason the U.S. version has a really naff cover):

Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Magicians-Guild-Black-Magician-Trilogy/dp/006057528X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434213989&sr=8-1&keywords=the+magicians+guild

Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Magicians-Guild-Magician-Trilogy/dp/1841499609/ref=reader_auth_dp

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