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The Magicians' Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 27, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A wonderfully and meticulously detailed world, and an edge-of-the-seat plot, this book is a must for all lovers of good fantasy JENNIFER FALLON --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Trudi Canavan is the author of the bestselling Black Magician trilogy—The Magician's Guild, The Novice, and The High Lord—as well as Priestess of the White and Last of the Wilds, Books One and Two of her Age of the Five trilogy. She lives in a little house on a hillside, near a forest, in the Melbourne suburb of Ferntree Gully in Australia. She has been making up stories about things that don't exist for as long as she can remember, and was amazed when her first published story received an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 1999. A freelance illustrator and designer, she also works as the designer and Art Director of Aurealis, a magazine of Australian Fantasy & Science Fiction.

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Product Details

  • Series: Black Magician Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (January 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006057528X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060575281
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 18, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you enjoy cozy mysteries that contain very little violence, sex, profanity, or even blood, you might also enjoy this cozy fantasy. By the end of "The Magicians' Guild," the bad guy is revealed, order is restored to the magical community, and the heroine and her friend from the Thieves' Guild appear to at least have a chance of living happily ever after. There are a few loose ends, but this book is the first of the 'Black Magician' trilogy, so a teaser is to be expected.

If this is your first fantasy, "The Magician's Guild" is a fairly decent read. If it's your hundredth, then you'll recognize the plot, background, and characters: poor, but courageous heroine is cursed with a magical talent that is getting stronger by the day, and is not under her control. The only people who can save her belong to the hated Magician's Guild and she would rather die than deal with those meatballs. Her friends in the Thieves' Guild hide her as long as they can, but eventually her uncontrollable magic is exploding walls and setting whole blocks of slum on fire. The heroine finally gets with the program in the Magicians' Guild, and much to her surprise discovers that some of the practitioners are actually pretty decent folks.

Most of the story is taken up by the heroine's struggle to keep hating the magicians, in spite of the fact that the reader can spot from a million miles off that she's going to become one of them.

Cozies tend not to have much in the way of suspense, complex characters, or imaginative settings, but if they are your cup of tea, then "The Magicians' Guild" is recommended reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't actually find anything positive to say about this book. I know it's a debut novel, but ... but the setting is very thin, the characters are ill-defined and unengaging, and there's a lot that doesn't make sense. The dragging plot is clumsy to the point that it relies on the characters being stupid.

What I most disliked, unfortunately, was Sonea herself. Canavan's efforts to portray her as a street-smart urchin with a hatred for the authorities and a past in a gang fall flat. Until the day the book begins we never see any sign that she's suffered from the authorities' attention or gone hungry, and then we learn that while in this "gang" she - er, played pranks. Others stole, but not her. She nobly proclaims that if she got a windfall of money she'd feed the hungry and keep none of it for herself. Her reaction to the wizards and life in the Guild is amused superiority, of all things. Her internal dialogue uses the same large vocabulary and elevated concepts as that of the wizards', despite her lack of education, and her speech is always smooth and polished. In other words, the character isn't written as and doesn't feel like a natural outgrowth of her supposed circumstances. We're told she's intelligent, but her actions and attempts to plot show she's not particularly bright, she has no imagination when it comes to her changed circumstances, and her decisions about who to trust seem quite random.

So for me, Sonea wasn't a credible character and she wasn't particularly likeable, either. She expressed little concern over the risks others were taking for her or the damage her unrestrained magic was doing, and her treatment of Cery was poor. Her realisation that the world is more complex than she wanted to believe is slow and grudging.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I feel almost guilty for enjoying this book. Its obvious fluff. There was no suspense. The characters had the depth of a puddle. The chase went on for far longer than it needed to. Yet, despite these problems and more, I enjoyed reading this book. It was charming in its concern that people be judged as individuals, in its almost complete lack of violence despite the rough world that it portrays, and in the way that even the villain of the story shows compassion by healing the hostage he's taken. The city was well-developed in its class system, with a history behind it and a world outside its walls, all of which influence the events that unfold inside. The instigating event itself - Sonea's manifestation of magic - hooked me securely enough to get through some of the slow sections that followed.

There were a few serious problems that need to be addressed, even though it is a fluff book. The chase for Sonea goes on for nearly half the book, which is far too long. After the characters and their relationships were established but before Sonea starts to lose control over her powers is a lot of stuff that doesn't need to be there and I nearly dropped the book at that point. I knew the magicians were mainly good and just wanted to help, and watching them come close to finding her only for her to escape again and again became frustrating. Later, when Sonea does start loosing control we don't actually see it, we are told of it happening 'off-stage,' which is also frustrating because it would have livened up the story a bit at a point when it was dragging heavily.

Another important problem concerns a scene that should have packed a huge punch emotionally, but instead fell flat.
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