Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

Hey guys and girls, this week I have a big treat for all the Trudi Canavan fans out there.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of her new book The Magician’s Apprentice and do a review of it.

Now you must understand I am a huge fan of Trudi’s work, have been ever since I read Priestess of the White, in fact, after I read that I went out and bought all her other books.

Those of you who are not so familiar with her stuff, what’s wrong with you?! but seriously, before this she brought out the Age of Five Trilogy and this book is set as a prequel/introduction to the her first Trilogy, The Magician’s Guild.

Now as for this book, my abstract goes something like this:

Kyralia is still a young nation, memories of their enslavement by the Sachakans still fresh in the minds of every citizen. An uncomfortable truce exists between the two nations, one that will be tested as Kyralia is invaded by a group of outcast Sackakans.

In the meantime a young girl with dreams of becoming a healer discovers her own latent magical abilities and must make a decision that will change the rest of here life, possibly leading to a discovery that could change the whole world.

Will the Sachakan invasion finally unite the Magicians of Kyralia or will their narrow minded ways prove the end of their freedom. The war will bring a great price to all involved, loss of loved ones, madness to the kind, and an act of such enormity that its results will be seen for hundreds of years to come. Behind all of this a small group will discover a secret so old its existence had been forgotten.

Ok let’s start with the storyline.

As I’ve said this is a prequel to the Magicians Guild series and is set several hundred years before it. Many things you get to know in the series are better discussed and even discovered in this prequel. It’s always interesting to see where things came form and the roles they play in the world created by the author.

On of the things I loved the most about this book is that it does not have the normal “one hero one story” storyline, instead Trudi creates a world with multiple characters leading a nation into a war that will decide the future for generations to come.

She creates a whole variety of characters to populate the story and help it forward from a young healer/magician apprentice, high magicians, slaves and a woman who must learn her place in Sachakan society and give up her freedom.

The storyline progresses very well through the novel with people, perceptions, tactics, and basically just about everything to do with the story changes just enough to set a steady pace for you to follow. Many discoveries are made along the way, along with decisions that will change Kyralian society forever, leading to the Kyralia we discovered in The Magicians Guild.

Something else Trudi did in this book that I found rather interesting, although I could not figure out the meaning behind this till later on is a secondary storyline that lies in the background of the main story. It has nothing to do with the main storyline of The Magicians Apprentice but it is still very well integrated into the main story. This is the story of Stara, the daughter of an Elynese mother and Sachakan father. She travels back to Sachaka hoping to join her father in the trading business, but instead discovers that Sachakan woman do not have nearly as much freedom as she had experienced in Elyne. Instead she starts a new life, meeting a group of extraordinary women and in the end, making an amazing discovery.

Now then let’s take look at the characters. Trudi creates a whole range of characters as I have said, exposing you to a whole nation, with their leaders and heroes. No single character is singled out as the main character or hero, like Auraya or Sonea form her previous books. Instead you follow the adventure alongside the Kyralia army, the apprentices, Stara, the Sachakan forces and even following Hanara, a Sachakan source slave. Even with such a wide variety of characters Trudi still gives enough attention to each one to allow them to develop fully, from characters discovering secrets about themselves, finding love, and going mad.

This is definitely a must-read for any Trudi Canavan fan and if you are just discovering her novels this will make for a good introduction into the Magicians world. Another reason why fans should read this one? Well lets see, you remember the great wastelands from The Magicians Guild? Well, at the start of this novel its still lush fields and forests, but by the end its turns into the desert Trudi showed us in the trilogy. Also keeping to her own style she has a variety of plants and animals with their own unique names, adding to the sense of a fantastical world created outside our own.

All in all, this was a read I definitely enjoyed. I love Trudi Canavan’s novels and the worlds she creates and this one is another amazing journey to add to her previous books. The story is well written, showing the extents to which a nation will go to in order to safeguard its freedom, and keeping the political matters involved in ruling and overthrowing two cultures realistic, something authors don’t always keep in mind.

And lastly Trudi sets herself up for several possible storylines she could work on, especially the story of Stara and the Traitors, or would you say it’s just a coincidence that she has started on her next book which will follow a few years after the events of The Magicians Guild and aptly calling it The Traitor Spy.

Now there is not much more to say about this book without giving to much away. :-)


To get more info about Trudi and her work, follow this link to her website (she’s also got a blog running there, now); to order the book, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog. :-)

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