Morning mortals! Today’s book review is brought to you because my husband actually gave me a book recommendation. Given that I’ve told him to read hundreds of books I figured it’s only fair to read something he’s enjoyed in the past. Tom’s been telling me to read the Black Magician trilogy for a while so I thought I would kick it off with book one. It’s always risky reading a book recommended by a loved one, how did this one fare?
“We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”
This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.
What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.
I’ll start this by saying there were a lot of things I liked about this book. I liked a lot of elements of the world, the fact that Canavan had considered a city that didn’t quite fit all members of society within it was interesting. I also liked a lot of the characters, the fact that so many of them fall into a morally grey area is hard to wrap your head around but ultimately very succesful. I liked the fact that up until midway through the book it’s unclear exactly who you should trust.
The overall plotline is also well thought out, I liked the idea of the chase/pursuit going on throughout the labyrinthine city. I’m also always here for young women who have powers they never knew threatening traditional ways of thinking. Call me a cliché, it works for me.
What I couldn’t get on board with, and I think in part this is a matter of personal preference, was the way that Trudy Canavan just expects you to know things. She throws you in at the deep end and you’re meant to pick up what’s happening as you go along. That might work for some people but I prefer some hardcore worldbuilding. The best example I can come up with is the purge, which is when our main character throws a rock at the oncoming magicians. You can basically understand what’s happening and why, but there’s such a rich history behind it that never really gets explained, at least not until later in the books. Again, personal preference, if you love this element of her writing that is wonderful and I am happy for you. I just couldn’t quite immerse myself in this world without having the ‘foundations’ there first.
Tom assures me that the next books in the series improve greatly and I’m sure they do. I will probably look to read them in the future if I can find time, but they won’t be at the top of my TBR.
My rating: 3/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Is this something you have read in the past? Let me know in the comments below!