Book Review – The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan

Synopsis: Each year the magicians of Imardin gather 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.  

As the mob is herded from the city, a young street girl, furious at the authorities’ 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. 

It is an inconceivable act, and the guild’s worst fear has been realised – an untrained magician is loose on the streets.  She must be found, and quickly, before her uncontrolled powers unleash forces that will destroy both her, and the city that is her home. 


Have you ever picked up a book and decided to judge it, not on its actual merits, but on your ideas of a genre you know nothing about?  I have, with this very book.  I regretted it big time, when a few years later my brother read it and said I should give it a try, and I ended up loving it.  I pretty much kicked myself over it, until I reasoned that I hadn’t really explored the fantasy genre the first time, whereas when I read ‘The Magicians’ Guild’ earlier this year I had developed a love for fantasy.

I wasn’t necessarily wrong the first time though.  Close-minded but not wrong.  ‘The Magicians’ Guild’ is a good book.  I really liked it, and I loved the Black Magician Trilogy overall, but… it is not a great advertisement for the rest of the series.  It has a lot of flaws.  It drags a lot at the beginning.  The book itself works more as a set up to the rest of the trilogy, then as part of the overall story.

It is a nice read.  Easy to get into and, once the first part is over you really start to fall in love with the characters.  I was going through a major reading slump (over a years worth of slumpiness) when I decided to give this book a try, and it got me out of it.  I found myself suddenly reading a hundred pages in a sitting! Once Sonea is captured by the guild, and Rothen and Dannyl try to get her to trust them it really picks up.  As a reader, it  became clear these characters were becoming a family.  That pays off in the later books.

I liked that the book dealt with larger themes, such as class and poverty.  It was interesting, because unlike many books that I have read, Sonea never gives up on her ideas on those two subjects.  Where she comes from is a part of her, and just because she is living a new, richer life doesn’t mean that the slums don’t exist anymore.  Magic is not a heal-all here, and I admire that.

‘The Magicians’ Guild’ is one of those books that hints at the great things that are to come, but shows very little of them.  I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get into a new fantasy trilogy.  Emphasis on the trilogy part there.  I think as a standalone this novel is okay, but if you see it as the opener, and then continue to ‘The Novice’ then you will probably enjoy it more.

Overall, I gave it four stars on Goodreads, because it was a throughly enjoyable read, that I compared to eating chocolate because once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down.  Just writing this review has me wanting to go re-read the series again, and I’m not a big re-reader!


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