I’ve been reading a lot of old favourites in the last few weeks; I do tend to read my favourite series at least once a year and this month I’ve been re-visting Trudi Canavan’s fantasy series about magicians.
In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn.
When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.
The hours are long and the work arduous, but soon and exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants – and, to Tessia’s delight – regular trips to the great city of Imardin.
However, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For a storm is approaching that threatens to tear her world apart.
This isn’t the first time I’ve read this book and it won’t be the last. The Magician’s Apprentice is set a few hundred years before The Magician’s Guild, and is both a prequel to The Black Magician trilogy and a set up to the Traitor Spy trilogy.
The Kyralia in this book is a much different place to the country in Sonea’s time: Kyralia and Sachaka have a peaceful, although difficult, relationship. After Kyralia was granted independence from the Sachakan empire, the empire keeps close contact by having ambassadors such as Ashaki Takado ( a land owning magician) visit Kyralian magicians for several weeks.
Takado is staying with a Magician called Lord Dakon in the outskirts of the country, when he attacks the village healers daughter, Tessia, you know for fun. She responds by blasting him with Magic, as she is an undiscovered natural.
In this era natural magicians must be taught and apprenticed to a Magician. There is no Guild at this point, Apprentices are taught in exchange for power, which is passed to the Magician’s through the Higher Magic ceremony.
Takado flees back to Sachaka leaving behind his slave Hanara, whom he almost killed in a fit of rage, and tells Dakon he can keep him or set him free, whatever he wants. In Kyralia slavery is unlawful, so Dakon chooses to give Hanara a job as a servant. Hanara enjoys his life in Kyralia but cannot settle; he knows that his master will come back to claim him and kill anyone who gets in his way.
Dakon already has an Apprentice, a young man called Jayan from a wealthy family in Imardin, but is honour bound to train Tessia. Jayan is not happy about sharing his tutor with a young woman who has no family or societal connections.
Tessia wanted to be a healer, but as a woman is supposed to get married and have children. She would not be accepted as a healer. Tessia’s refusal to conform to societies expectations lead to conflict with her family. The discovery of Tessia magical powers increase her status and opportunities. Tessia wants to use her magic to fulfil her biggest ambition, to be a healer.
There is also a parallel story about a girl called Stara; she was brought up by her mother, a trader in Elyne, but her father is Sachakan. Stara has dreamt about working with her father all her life, and is overjoyed when he finally sends for her, but life in Sachaka is not what she expected…
This is a really interesting story which takes place between the original and sequel trilogies. The reader is introduced to a few interesting new characters, and gets more information on the Sachakan War, but I’m giving this 4/5 stars because at times it is soooooo slow. That being said it’s definitely worth a read of you enjoyed the black magician trilogy.
Let me know if you have read or will be reading this book in the comments below.