The Novice by Trudi Canavan
Published in 2004 by Orbit
The second book in the Black Magician trilogy, this book picks off where the first book ended. Sonea is now a novice training to become a magician. Being a girl from the slums Sonea is tormented by her classmates who are from high houses of influence. The second main plot line is Dannyl’s journey as an ambassador and his quest to discover what Ancient magic, the High Lord of the Magician’s Guild, was seeking.
Like the first book, the Novice is full of intrigue and mystery. The narrative is character driven that deals with issues of class and poverty. Sonea’s struggles of a novice not well liked by her fellow novices shows that she is both resilient and strong willed. Moreover, I also learnt more about how magic functions in this world and more in general about the world. The world-building is well done and helps improve immersion. The secret passage ways explored by Sonea in the Magician’s Guild added to the sense of wonder and exploration that was evident throughout this book.
Regin, as a character, worker perfectly as Sonea’s nemesis. The presence of young female novice from the slums really annoys Regin, because he believes that magic is for the rich an powerful only. The rivalry between Sonea and Regin drives the story along as both have to study harder in attempt to outdo one another. Regin comes across as a jerk, but as one who has lived a comfortable life and has not suffered the hardship of poverty. Sonea’s other big fear in this book is the High Lord Akkarin, who has taken an interest in Sonea’s schooling.
The writing is easy to read with good description and interesting dialogue between key characters. The scenes involving the magicians using warrior skills were well written and exciting to read. Moreover, the climax of this book perfectly sets up the final book of this epic trilogy. I would definitely recommend this book to readers of fantasy who want magicians and lots of magic.
My one criticism of this book is that little is told about what Cery is doing. Apart from a cameo appearance at the Novice quarters he barely gets a mention. The first book provided a contrast between the world of the magicians and the world of the thieves and I would have liked to see more of the thieves in this book. However, I understand that as a reader, more information about the Magician’s Guild was required to push the plot forward.
Rating: 4/5 Stars