May 7, 2011

The Novice by Trudi Canavan

Title:  The Novice
Author:  Trudi Canavan
Format:  PB
Pages:  460
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, 2004
ISBN-13:  978-0060575298
Series:  Black Magician Trilogy, Book 2

Favorite Quote:  "Because the object of this was not for Sonea to win," Yikmo said quietly.  "But for Regin to lose."

Synopsis (Amazon):  "Even if a magician's powers surface of their own accord, he will soon be dead if he does not gain the knowledge of how to control them."

Alone among all the novices in the Magicians' Guild, only Sonea comes from lowly beginnings. Yet she has won powerful allies—including Lord Dannyl, newly promoted to Guild Ambassador. But Dannyl must now depart for the Elyne court, leaving Sonea at the mercy of the lies and malicious rumors her enemies are busy spreading . . . until the High Lord Akkarin steps in. The price of Akkarin's support is dear, however, because Sonea, in turn, must protect his mysteries—and a secret that could lead a young novice mage deep into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Dannyl's first order to resume High Lord Akkarin's long-abandoned research into ancient magical knowledge is setting him on an extraordinary journey fraught with unanticipated peril—as he moves ever-closer to a future both wondrous . . . and terrible.

Review:  As with the previous novel in this series, I loved this story.  There is action a-plenty and a few close calls for some of the main characters, all told in a believable fashion.  The world of Kyralia is further described, in great and glorious detail.  And, while I'm speaking of that, the three maps at the beginning of these books are amongst some of the clearest, best drawn maps I've seen in novels of this type.

The novice, Sonea, continues to be a entertaining and strong female protagonist.  Most of her contemporaries and teachers look down on her because she comes from a low-class upbringing.  This makes her strength of character all the sweeter.  While she has found a possible love interest in Dorrien, her ex-mentor Rothen's son, it has not addled her mind or made her incapable of taking care of herself.  In my experience, this is unusual in Fantasy fiction and I am so thrilled to find an exception to that rule.    

The High Lord of the Magician's Guild, Akkarin, is revealed as a Black Magician, but I am left wondering if he is evil in truth or if Black Magic is, like many things, only evil if the intentions are.  The true antagonist of this novel is Regin, a novice in Sorea's class.  He is spiteful, cruel and vicious.  I despised him and was cheering to myself when Sorea finally got justice.  

I am left curious and anticipate a grand finale in the next book.

Rating:  8 / 10

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