Sunday, 30 August 2009

Book review - The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

For five hundred years, the Magicians’ Guild has been the most powerful group of people, loyal enforcers for the King. Only people whose potential for magic has been ‘unlocked’ can manage the practise, and only people from the most powerful families are accepted into the guild. Thus it is incredibly elite – and incredibly hated by the poor, not least because the magicians enforce even the King’s more extreme orders. All this changes when one day the magicians are driving the poor out of the city, and a girl fights back. Sonea is furious with the magicians and the King, everyone who is forcing her out of the life she has worked so hard to build. But when she manages to knock out a magician right through the magical barrier protecting them, she is forced into hiding. The Guild are amazed to learn of this untrained magician and are determined to find her.

I bought this book because I read the first chapter or so online, and it absolutely hooked me. That chapter was the best part of The Magicians’ Guild. It’s not that the rest was bad, it was just long. 463 pages and the story could have fit into 250. By three-quarters of the way through, I was beginning to not really care what happened as long as something did. There’s also a hint of the inevitable about this book, and if I know what’s going to happen then I don’t want to spend 250 pages getting there unless those 250 pages have been very well written. The concept is brilliant, I just wish there had been more to it. Nevertheless, The Magicians’ Guild was an entertaining read.

Sonea is an engaging heroine, though not particularly unique. I enjoyed the contrast between the rich and the poor. Of course, the reader automatically supports the poor over their oppressors, especially since the poor live in the ‘slums,’ where there are gangs and ‘The Thieves,’ who have secret passages everywhere, almost every building it seems. A small part of me really enjoys the streetwise, savvy-ness of such a setting. The magicians themselves had interesting dynamics going on – not all are old and fusty-dusty as you might expect from such a guild.

I did enjoy The Magicians’ Guild, I don’t want to come across as overly negative. But then, I don’t want to be overly positive either. It was fun, held my attention despite the long-windedness of it, and I liked it. But it didn’t sparkle, it didn’t amaze me. Read it for fun, I’d even recommend it, but for me it was missing the final star that would make this book great.


  1. It sounds interesting, just a little cliched.

  2. It's a shame you didn't like this book a great deal. I have it sitting on my bookcase to be read. Maybe I won't rush to pick it up.

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  3. I did enjoy it, it was just that I knew what was going to happen and had to happen yet it took most of the book TO happen. There wasn't enough plot to sustain it until that point. If that makes sense.