I think that it only makes sense to do a reaction post on the entire trilogy as a whole, because that way I can talk about all the spoilers I want to without, you know, ruining it for anyone else. That and I’m lazy!
I was sceptical about reading ‘The Black Magician Trilogy’ for several reasons. I mentioned before that I had tried to read it years ago and couldn’t stick it. I also did like the covers and thought that (based on the first one-hundred pages and the synopsis of the first book) that it was way too cliché to be any good. The fact that it is sort-of young adult also didn’t appeal to me. But my brother kept going on about how good it was, and seeing as at the time I was doing the 50 book challenge, I needed the extra books to keep the numbers going.
At first I wasn’t too keen on ‘The Magician’s Guild’ but I did find it easy to read and when I got to the two-hundred page mark it seemed to really begin to pick up in terms of storyline. I loved the chapter where Sonea and Cery snuck into the guild, and thought it was a good way to make the reader go wtf? without giving too much away. I recognised Akkarin immediately and what he was doing didn’t greatly resemble the magic that had been introduced in the book previously. The Fergun plot was pretty so-so for me. I thought it was a bit overblown, but by the end of the book I was sufficiently attached to the main characters to want to continue. That and I loved how Akkarin just walked in and cut the crap when Fergun was lying his way through the hearing:
‘From the accounts given today, we can clearly see that Lord Fergun was the first to recognise Sonea’s abilities’ said Lord Osen ‘Does anybody contest this conclusion?’
It was badass without trying to be badass!
‘The Novice’ was a huge step up from the first book. I loved the series approach to the bullying Sonea undergoes. After each attack scene I emphasised with her. As someone who was bullied in the past I know what it feels like to be so worn out that it is hard to keep going. In the book the attacks by Regin and his friends are very metaphorical for real life bullying, but of course real-life bullying the majority of the time is never that extreme. I thought Akkarin was so evil in this book too. I hated his approach to Sonea and found it very hard to see how this guy was going to be the hero of the novels (my brother had revealed that by this point, plus I’d skimmed the last chapter of ‘The High Lord’ so I knew a couple of things) let alone was actually going to be the man Sonea has a relationship with. He was just cruel. I think at one point it was mentioned that he was watching it happen and my mouth fell open. My favourite scene was when Lorlen confronted him over it, despite being in a hideous situation himself.
I mentioned in my review that I also loved the Dannyl storyline. I haven’t read it in fantasy before (I know there are some well-known books that deal with homosexuality but I haven’t got round to reading them). Dannyl and Tayend had great chemistry and by the end I was just waiting for Dannyl to come out so that they could be together. The travels they go on while retracing Akkarin’s footsteps was intriguing. It made him come across even more evil, because why would he even want to look at that stuff if he was supposed to be good? The last couple of pages were kind of out of no-where, and left me wanting to start the next book immediately.
‘The High Lord’ completely blew my mind. So far, it is my favourite book that I’ve read this year. Akkarin’s back story was completely unexpected to me. I think it is the best twist in the trilogy, because within a chapter he goes from someone who you can’t see as a good person to the hero of the series. It just made sense. During the Hearing that was held to decide what to do with Sonea and Akkarin I could see why the Guild didn’t trust him. The choices the Guild in the present made were founded on hundreds of years of propaganda and ignorance, and I could see that they weren’t going to change easily. Sonea deciding to go to Sachaka with Akkarin was really brave, and I also loved the bravery of the Guild in the face of an enemy who was stronger than them. They thought they were going to fail, and die failing, but they went ahead and defended Imardin despite all that. I was really upset when Lorlen died – it was just awful. Then when Akkarin died (even though I knew it was coming) I couldn’t put the book down, but at the same time it was ending. I finished the book in tears and spent hours online trying to recover without crying anymore tears.
I’m a bit of a sap. I’m going to end this here, because this post is way too long.