Title: The Magician’s Guild
Author: Trudi Canavan
Edition/Pages: Eos, 2004/370 pages
Short & Sweet Synopsis: Slum dweller Sonea’s life changes forever when she discovers that she has magical powers, and she must reconcile this with her peers’ ideas of the what the Magicians are.
In the first book of The Black Magician Trilogy, we are introduced to Sonea (pronounced Sonya?), a dweller – or dwell – in the slums of Imardin, the capital city of the land of Kyralia. Our story begins in the middle of an annual event known as the Purge, the “cleansing” of the city by magicians of those deemed undesirable, such as vagrants and beggars. Caught up in the action, Sonea flings a stone at the magicians, expecting, as always, that it will bounce right off of their shields. She is in for the surprise of her life when it doesn’t bounce off. In fact, it flies right through, knocking a particularly unpleasant Warrior magician in the temple. And with this, the hunt is on.
Sonea runs, the magicians chase. But, they don’t catch her just yet. They are forced to return to their headquarters, the Magician’s Guild, to regroup. It has been many long years since there has been anyone with the ability to wield magical powers outside of the Guild’s control, and they must come up with a protocol for how to deal with it, along with an organized search effort for this street urchin who has shaken up the whole city with the toss of a stone.
This book is filled with good fantasy, and solid world-building by Canavan, but more than that, there are some good moral questions asked. Sonea knows that with untrained powers, she could be dangerous not only to herself and her loved ones, but also to the entire city. However, she has been raised to hate the Guild, and all they stand for. Should she submit to their training in order to save her friends from her potentially destructive powers? Will the guild (and by association the government) kill her instead of training her? Will the other dwells see her as having betrayed them if she does? And what of good friend Cery? What will happen if she abandons him to the mercy of the Thieves, the professional criminal organization that runs the city’s slums with an iron fist?
This book is excellent. I finished it in a single day. Granted, it was a rare day when I had neither school nor work obligations, but still. It has to be good for me to give up my one free day to read it. Having finished it after the bookshops had closed down for the night, I immediately picked up my Kindle to purchase the second book in the series, entitled The Novice. I plan on starting it any minute now, and will report back as soon as finished!