Friday, 18 March 2011

Book Review: The Black Magician Triology By Trudi Canavan

Spoiler Warning: Don’t read this if you intend to read Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy any time soon.

I have finished reading The High Lord by Trudi Canavan and therefore the entire trilogy. 

The books are set in the city of Imardin in a country with a King as head of state who is served by a mageocracy.

The plot of the first book is based on a slum dweller joining the magicians as a novice. The second is her trails in the guild with other novices and teachers, the final one is when she is expelled for learning black magic with the High Lord (who is expelled too) only for the two of them to return and then save the day. 

The story line is well laced from the beginning. The way that the murders occur early on (late first book early second book) and Sonea (the main character) spots the High Lord practicing black magic. The only problem with the story line is that none of the characters realise the High Lord might not be the black magician committing the murders and there might be an imposter in the city. The final realisation appears to be a bit late for such articulate characters. I am aware they are under the impression that there are no non-guild magicians, however Lord Rothen is an intelligent individual he should have seen it earlier.

I am always struck by the way that the author kills off both the High Lord Akkarin and Administrator Lorlen as well as Sonea’s warrior skills teacher Lord Yikmo. The relationship that Sonea builds with the Administrator, the High Lord and her old tutor Lord Rothen as well as his son Dorrien are genuine relationships of depths, you can imagine how she treats each one differently in the books. 

The reader feels genuinely sorry when Lorlen dies, hope and excitement are mixed with disbelief when Lorlen makes an appearance after his death but it just turns out to be an illusion created by the High Lord in battle.

This book is also one of my favourites as the main character is a woman, something which doesn’t happen often with fantasy. Some might argue that Eddings’ Polgara the sorceress is another but she will always live in the shadow of Belgarath the sorcerer as far as I am concerned.   

All in all a great read and one of my favourite books.

The end of books are all the same you feel happy that you have finished the book and have the conclusion. But on the other hand the characters are removed from you.

The trilogy is finished and I probably won’t be reading fantasy for a while. Exams finish early June so then something else will be picked up. Until then I have light reading from easy books. The Travels of Marco Polo will be read as will The Travels of Ibn Battuta.


  1. I thought It was a superb trilogy. Shame her priestess trilogy wasn't as good. Good luck with your own writing. Is that where your heart lies? Most of us are just old grognards reliving our youth with the game we loved/loved. Though I still work on my fantasy novel 20 years on. I'm tempted to put some of it on my blog. The best bit about blogging is not the followers but the comments. It can keep you motivated which helps with any writing project.

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks. Writing is where the passion is. Work and study pull me away from writing but sometimes give me great ideas.
    I haven't read the priestess trilogy yet.