Monday, 28 December 2009

The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

"Each year the magicians of Imardin gather together to purge the city streets of vagrants, 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. Sonea, angry, frustrated and outraged by the treatment of her family and friends, hurls a stone at the shield, putting all her rage behind it. To the amazement of all who bear witness, the stone passes unhindered through the barrier and renders a magician unconscious. The guild's worst fear has been realised There is an untrained magician loose on the streets. She must be found before her uncontrolled powers unleash forces that will destroy both her, and the city that is her home."

This is the first book in the Black Magicians Trilogy, and I agreed to read it after two of my best friends told me I had to. After all the books I've forced on them in the past year, I figured it was only fair I tried it. I wasn't really sure I'd like it, feeling it would be a little more fantasy than I like, but I was quickly hooked and loved the book. I owe both friends an apology for being hesitant and taking months to pick it up and try it.

Sonea is a dwell, poor and living in the slums surrounding the city where the Magicians and upper class live. Along with her friends they throw rocks at the magicians magical wall of protection on the day of the purge, the day when all the dwells who do have somewhere to live, are kicked out and moved further away from the inner city. They've done this before, but this time is different. When Sonea throws her rock, instead of disintegrating as it hits the shield, it passes through and hits a magician on the head, knocking him unconscious. Terrified of what they'll do to her if they catch her, and knowing that they'll hunt her, she trusts her friends, the other teenage dwells, to keep her safe.

They live on the run, moving almost constantly as the magicians try to drop a net around her. Sonea and those who are trying to protect her, are convinced the magicians will kill her instantly. Hundreds of years and never has a dwell been treated as anything more than a beggar and a thief. Why would they let her in? But the magicians leading the hunt for her, Rothen and Dannyl, simply want to find her before her power destroys her, and train her to control it. But they don't have much time, and catching and convincing Sonea they mean her no harm, when others do, will be easier said than done.

The book is written in third person, but in the 'perspective' of several of the characters, Sonea and Rothen in particular, but several others get decent page time as well. The idea behind the story, a poor young girl with power she had no idea of, isn't something new or mind blowing, but this is still a well written story, with great likable characters (and a very unlikable bad guy) and a well thought out and described world. The plot moves along at a good pace and has some decent twists and turns. I was hooked right to the end and left wanting the next book immediately! Can't wait to get the other two books and see if they live up to the start of this one.

Rating: 9/10

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