Thursday, 6 December 2012

Series Review: The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan

The Magicians' Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy #1)
Released: 2001
The Novice (The Black Magician Trilogy #2)
Released: 2002
The High Lord (The Black Magician Trilogy #3)
Released: 2003
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Borrowed from friend
Reason for reading: Friend recommendation + trying to read more fantasy
Series Rating: 4/5

**As this is a series review, there may be spoilers, though I have tried to avoid them** 

Goodreads Synopsis for The Magicians' Guild:

"We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician."

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders . . . and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians' Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.

My thoughts:

No, I can't believe I didn't read this series before now, either. It was all over the library when I was a pre-teen/teen, but I wasn't into fantasy at that age (aside from CS Lewis/Garth Nix...) so they completely passed me by. But my good friend Laura lent them to me and I've been trying to read more fantasy (I'm finally reading Game of Thrones) so I decided to give them a go.

I'm really glad I did. You know when you go into a book/series with no expectations and it ends up like, completely ruling your life for however long it takes you to read them?  That was the case here. I wasn't a huge fan of The Magician's Guild at first, all the books are split into 2 parts and after the initial event of the first part, I found the rest of it pretty dull. I kept hoping Sonea would get captured so something interesting would happen, and I found myself getting annoyed by her thought processes. As an individual book I only gave TMG 3/5, because of this first part. However, once we got into part 2 things got a lot more interesting. I loved all the detail about how the magician's guild worked, and meeting all the magicians and learning about the history and the magic they do.

The Novice was on the whole a lot more interesting, we moved outside of the magician's guild with Dannyl's ambassadorial duties and whilst I did find it really interesting to read about his research and his journey, I sometimes wished we'd be back in the guild with Sonea. I had definitely warmed to her by this point, she was strong and intelligent and hardworking, but I did sometimes wish she would stick up for herself a little bit more. I also really liked Rothen, her guardian and father figure, but Akkarin was definitely my favourite character. Dark, mysterious, sexy, possibly evil, he's my perfect character. I love how other character's assumptions and speculations about him drive your perceptions of this guy. The end to The Novice was like "gaaahhh!" but if I thought that was bad...

The High Lord. Oh there's so many emotions for The High Lord. The Akkarin situation was fully explained, and was along the lines of what I had guessed from hints in the previous books, though it is always nice to get the full story on something you're dying to know more about. The developments in terms of his character and the characters around him weren't much of a shock either, and I did really like them. I did feel some aspects were a little rushed, but then given the circumstances this can be expected. The rest of the magicians acted like absolute idiots in this book, and if they weren't all being murdered I'd've been screaming "SEE?! SEE YOU RIDICULOUS PEOPLE?!". Their responses and prejudices were SO infuriating but it really helped engage me in the story and really feel for the characters I supported I loved how all the strings of the various storylines throughout the books came together, how all the characters had their parts to play and their moments. The inevitable battle scene was good, though I admit I was a little confused about the power distribution, I felt Sonea should have had enough without yep...that thing that happened. That thing that happened that I knew would happen and dreaded happening for like, most of the book. How do I feel about that? It was brave. Necessary as well, I think. I don't think post-battle life would have worked if it hadn't happened. What I didn't like was the WAY it happened, it was kinda harsh, really. And the actual end of the book felt a little rushed, which I didn't appreciate. 

I am so glad I finally read this trilogy. I experienced so many emotions from it, so many ups and downs, from the little things like the anger felt over Sonea being bullied, the exasperation of her not fighting back, the elation of her final victory over her bullies, to the big things, the shock at the revelations, the fluttery stomach at the romances, the suspicion of like, everyone, the anticipatory dread for the finale and the heart-pounding, stomach-clenching fear at the climax.  

If you haven't read this series yet, I urge you to give it a go. 


  1. Hey Cait, first of all love the look of the blog!! Secondly I'm glad you have reviewed this series because over the last 2 weeks in work I keep pick up book one then putting it down then picking it up again but I think i'll have to but it now!

    1. Buy ittttttt!! It's worth reading/sticking with :)

  2. Yep, I had the exact same feelings about this series. There were slow parts but I enjoyed them, overall. I'm glad you finally got to read them. :)

  3. This series is an old favourite of mine. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Don't think I've heard of this book before but I love fantasy books so I might have to check out this book ;) And yay to trilogy!

    Awesome review, Cait ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

  5. This is legit one of my favorite fantasy series. I read it several years ago and have been wanting to re-read. I really fell for the characters, and for Trudi's story-teling: clear, understandable, relatable. I liked Sonea as a heroine, and I enjoyed a lot of the side characters like Carey (Cary?), as well as the world-building. THE ENDING killed me in a few different ways.

    Did you know there's a sequel trilogy?


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