The Black Magician’s Trilogy: The Magician’s Guild
Author: Trudi Canavan
Each year the magician’s of Imardin gather to ‘purge’ the city streets of vagrants, urchin’s and miscreants. Masters of disciplines of magic knows that no one can oppose them. But their protective shield is not as impenetrable as they believe.
For as the mob are herded from the city, a young street girl, furious at the authorities treatment of her family and friends, hurls a stone at a 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 unconciousness.
It is an inconceivable act, and the guild’s worst fear has been realized – an untrained magicians is loose on the streets. She MUST be found, and quickly, before her uncontrolled powers unleashed forces that will destroy both her, and the city that is her home.
REVIEW: (warning: May contain spoilers!!)
If you’ve played FF7, you’ll get the idea of the conflict between the slum residence and the authorities (Shin-ra Co). The poor are discriminated so much that most turn into pickpockets and rascals (particularly the youths). Heads of criminal activities exist among them and they’re called “The Thieves”, but none of the leaders may cooperate with each other. However, they DO have underlings. Common people can ask for their assistance, but it is not wise to mess with them.
There is a huge gap between the poor and the rich. As far as I can recall, only children from the riches, who has magic potential, are allowed to join and study in the Magician’s Guild. I felt like I was fooled by the title, because throughout the story, the protagonist, Sonea, spends less time in the guild grounds. There are more ‘running’ than actually being educated with magic skills.
I like how the story is told in different point of views (although they’re still from third person view). Other than Sonea, scenes switch to a wise middle-aged magician Rothen and his former apprentice, Dannyl. Obviously, the story may lack suspense if told in such way, because (when in Sonea’s) POV you’re able to expect what might happen next. From the so-called villains POV (Rothen and Dannyl), we see their real reasons why they seek the street girl. Oh yeah, each POV is connected to each other.
I have to admit that the story is not THAT exciting. It’s not what I describe “unable to put the book down”, because I know I had a lot of break from reading the book. Like I said earlier, it’s the typical rich versus poor conflict, except that the riches attain the help of the magicians. You can try this book for simple light reading, to fill your time when you’re bored and have nothing to do. Just when I thought the story will have a simple good ending, a ‘twist’ finally emerge in the last few chapters. And this twist sparked my interest to buy the second book.
The author shows that there are both good guys and bad guys in the slum community and the magician’s guild itself. Yet each community thought the other were mere enemies. Particularly the poor, who views the magician’s as “evil” – for they mostly side the riches, follow the King’s orders and ask for a hell lot of money for Healing fee. Most of the magician’s thinks that the rascals of the slums are rebels without a cause, little do they think of what poverty may lead them to.
Geez, how i feel bored writing this. I decide to move on to character analysis now…
Sonea – The female protagonist of the story, an orphan whose mother died when she was young and her father went missing. She used to steal food with her gang, but stopped that habit after she lives with her aunt and uncle. Her magical potential was accidentally reveal during the ‘Purge’ and magician’s have been looking all over for her since then. Sonea doesn’t have much distinctive personality. So far in this book, what’s cool about her is that she crossdresses as a boy to avoid being harrassed by random men. 😄
Harrin – Just when I thought he’d be the hero of the story, but nay. Yet he is indeed the leader of the gang Sonea was involved with. To him Sonea is just somewhat of a good friend, and he is attached to an innkeepers daughter so that he can become an heir to the inn.
Cery – Short for Ceryni (means…a small rodent in the world of Kyralia), he is indeed agile and as slick as a rat. I could say he is Sonea’s ‘hero’ for he’s the one who helped her escape most of the time. Another example of a ‘noble theif’ (just like Zidane from FF9, Locke from FF6, Balthier from FF12… and recently, Abu from KAMI), a person who commits crime but has a strong sense of friendship. He would do ANYTHING for Sonea… so, is there something going on between them?
Rothen – The first person who discovered Sonea’s potential from the accident during the ‘Purge’. This made him automatically deserved to become Sonea’s guardian – if she ever joins the guild. I could say that he is the stereotype wise mentor that almost each stories have. Formerly Dannyl’s guardian, he the only magician who believed in the younger Dannyl despite of the rumours. Cannot say much about him except that he is a very compassionate person…
Dannyl – I have to admit he is the most interesting character in the story. Why? Firstly, when he was young he was accused of being… well… gay. 8D But there wasn’t any proof, he had to suffer as an outcast throughout the years, but was adopted by Rothen as an apprentice anyway. He used to be a lazy student, but Rothen shaped him into a good magician who practices Alchemy. Another interesting bit, he dared himself to lose his honour as a magician by practicing espionage.He’s also an encyclopedia of rumours and his ability to gather information is an advantage for the guild in search of the untrained magician.
Fergun – Charming, but sinister. We all need a bad guy in every story, but I won’t put him in league with infamous villains. Let’s say… he’s the older version of Draco Malfoy, slightly less elegant than Lucius Malfoy. He’s the one who started the rumour of Dannyl’s ‘unusual’ interest, and has been foes with him till now. Even as an adult he lacks maturity, taking things a bit too far when fighting for Sonea’s guardianship.
Akkarin – The High Lord aka the Guild leader. Mysterious. Appears to be younger than Rothen yet seem to have powers not weilded by other magicians. Sixth sense? Mind reading? for he could tell that Sonea isn’t a rogue magician lurking in the slums. He has been friends and rivaled with the Guild administrator, Lorlen since young.
Faren – One of the Theives leader. Cery seeks his help in hiding Sonea’s whereabouts. He isn’t a Kylarian, but a Lonmar. Lonmar is known to have a strict belief, but this one is an exception. Faren is a criminal! And you so have to see his funny tricks against magicians lol!
There are other characters but these are the most apparent ones. I feel like this review isn’t that much exciting, which kind of reflect the book. But I like it anyway. And I do recommend you to read this, because more excitement is stored in the second book, The Novice! =D