Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Magician Assisstant Review

The Magician’s Apprentice
-       Trudi Canavan
Publisher: UK - Orbit
In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer - much to the frustration of her mother, who would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn. When treating a patient at the residence of the local magician, Lord Dakon, Tessia is forced to fight off the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage - and instinctively uses magic. She now finds herself facing an entirely different future as Lord Dakon's apprentice. But along with the excitement and privilege, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. Events are brewing that will lead nations into war, rival magicians into conflict, and spark an act of sorcery so brutal that its effects will be felt for centuries ...
I read Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy a couple of years ago and found it an enjoyable read so one of my friends lent this to read. (No matter how big my TBR piles, borrowed books always go to the top of the pile – seems only polite!) But this prequel was more miss than hit for me. It’s a big book (approx 700 pages – and I was wishing it was on kindle after the first day reading it on the train!) but rather than being full of events, politics and magic I found it dragged slightly.
Trudi Canavan is writing is good – the worlds flow and the story is easy to slip into. However, considering the plot follows the outbreak of a magical war between two very different culturals there seemed to be too little action. Most of the story is taken up with people debating what to do next and considering the outcomes of all actions. I like my characters to think about their decisions but this seemed to happen all the time. The war was fought via committee rather than magic – and even the battles seemed to have little danger to them.
A lot of time is spent setting up the feudal system and even comparing it to the way the city worked but as soon as the neighbouring country begins to invade, this set up was forgotten as were a few characters including a servant who seemed to have more to offer! My favourite sections of the book dealt not with the invasion but with Stara, daughter of one of the invading magicians and her adjustment to the new society she finds herself in. Her frustration and anger at her father’s treatment of her as well as her friendship with her slave and brother was more intriguing and interesting to me than Tessia and Lord Dakon.
It’s not a bad story but I just felt it could have been told in less pages and have felt more exciting for it. There are some interesting ideas here and I think some will find the book a different look at the fantasy genre, but it’s not for me.
Recommended for fans of Jennifer Fallon and Karen Miller. 6 out of 10.

Part of FTC's Speculative Fiction Challange Book 3/12


  1. It sounds a lot like the Wheel of Time series. I got up to book 7 (I think there are 13 now?) and I loved the story but it was just too waffly and could have been told in a much clearer way.

    And 700 pages is a bit heavy for a commuting book!

  2. Aww... too bad you didn't like it. It looks like it could have rocked. Thanks for the honest review. I might check out that trilogy tho!

  3. Not every book is for everyone - but some people will like it.

    @Sam - I have the first Wheel of time book in my TBR but I just can't seem to pick it up when I know there's a hundred heavy books in the series and it's still not finished!

    @Melissa - do check out The Black Magicians series - I thought that was nice fantasy series.