This semester, I am taking a course all about science fiction and fantasy novels. This is not a genre I normally indulge in, but this class has made me re-evaluate one of my favorite books as a fantasy novel. One of my earliest forays into the fantasy genre was back in middle school with “The Magician’s Guild” by Trudi Canavan, and I still re-read it today. It is the first book in Canavan’s “Black Magician Trilogy.”
Sonea is a teenaged girl living in the slums outside the city walls of Imardin on the day of The Purge, an annual event that has the local magicians using magic to banish the city’s lower-class. Needless to say, there is some animosity between the high class magicians and these “dwells” that ends up being the catalyst to the biggest shock of young Sonea’s life.
While throwing rocks in protest at the magician’s shields, Sonea’s rock manages to actually strike a magician, which means not only did she attack a magician, but Sonea also possesses unheard of magical capability. Sonea runs, fearing the reaction of the magicians, while the magicians are concerned about an uncontrolled magician. This puts the plot into action with an elaborate game of hide-and-seek. Sonea seeks help from the most dangerous people in the slums in order to shield her from the prying magicians. But what will happen if they find her?
I like a lot of things about this book, but my favorite aspect is probably the character of Sonea. She is tough and thoughtful and just genuinely likeable. Not your typical fantasy hero by any means (mostly because she is female, but I digress). The world that Canavan has created is intriguing as well.
We first see Sonea’s inner city life, but the point of view switches to a few different magicians, so we are given an inside look to their community, too. The guild has magicians choose a focus after graduation, so in a way they are sorted like the houses in Harry Potter and magic is always exciting in novels. Canavan’s character development is wonderful and you grow to care about so many people in the novel, and throughout the series. She has created a colorful bunch of characters that you love to learn more about. Even though I described it as a game of hide-and-seek, the plot is quick with many turns to keep your interest.
At 365 pages, I would definitely recommend saving this read for after finals week. Luckily, winter break is just around the corner and that is a perfect time for reading. Just grab a blanket and curl up with “The Magician’s Guild.” Plus, there are two more books that follow it just in case you get bored without all the schoolwork to keep you busy. So, pick up this novel and discover all the secrets and magic that “The Magician’s Guild” has to offer.