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.
While reading The Magicians’ Guild I kept comparing it to The Naming, which is basically the same story of a young girl with enormous powers being taken in by an older male wizard who has to fight to have her recognized by the ruling body of wizards. However, The Naming is a much better written book, style-wise, and it feels like a larger story with more consequences and whatnot. It’s expansive. It’s a real epic fantasy, one you can sink into.
The Magicians’ Guild feels smaller (no saving-the-world plotlines), and also less dangerous overall. The conflict comes more from class prejudice than anything else. And since we see both the magicians’ POV and the heroine’s, we know that they don’t mean each other harm (really) and that once they finally get together it’ll work out okay.
And yet! For all that there weren’t world-shattering problems in this book, I still found it compelling. I read it all in one day, and not just because I had nothing better to do. Despite the slow pacing, it was still somehow exciting. I find action on a smaller scale no less fun to read about than “save the world” stories, too, which helped.
I really liked Sonea (the protag) and Rothen (the magician). I wanted them to be friends! And yet I so appreciated that they didn’t just magically like each other when they finally did meet. It’s a light book, but it doesn’t treat its characters and their lives lightly. Yay!
I want to see them continue to work out the problems between the upper and lower classes. I want to see Sonea kick ass at wizard school and move on to effect real change for her friends and family. I ALSO want to see what happens with the mystery of the High Lord wizard, and what happens with Cery and the thieves, and basically I just want to read the rest of the series.
There are little things in The Magicians’ Guild that annoyed me, though. Not enough to stop reading it, and not enough to keep me from reading the rest of the series, but annoying nonetheless. Like gnats buzzing around my head.
For example, a lot of the dialogue is surrounded by the characters making the same few motions, like raising their brows or smiling. In one conversation the protag raised her brows before EVERYTHING she said. Ridiculous!
Also, a good chunk of the book is Sonea on the run from the magicians, which is fine except for that’s ALL she does for, like, three chapters. Descriptions of her moving from hiding place to hiding place. That’s it. Boring!
It very much reads as a first novel, like the author was still figuring out her voice. Which, yeah, this IS Trudi Canavan’s first novel! She can only get better from here on out, really.
Despite its warts, however, I like The Magicians’ Guild. The rest of the series has the potential to be a fun read, especially if the author got her writing power-up like I’m hoping.
Read: September 10, 2014