I recently spotted High Lord by Trudi Canavan in the library and it reminded me that I haven’t read The Black Magician Trilogy in years!
So a quick reservation later and all three books were with me!
The Magicians’ Guild
The first book in the trilogy focuses on our heroine, Sonea.
Sonea is young woman living in the city of Imardin in the country Kyralia. This is divided city between the high class ‘Houses’ and the poor or dwells who live in the slums.
The slums lie outside of the city walls and every year there is the Purge. When the poor who live within the city walls are rounded up and expelled into the slums.
Within the city of Imardin is the Magicians’ Guild. A place where magicians from all nearby lands are trained. However, only those of the Kyralia Houses or high born from other countries are allowed to become magicians.
Sonea is leaving the city where she was living with her aunt and uncle during the yearly purge. She runs into some old friends in a gang she used to run with. During a confrontation with the patrolling magicians Sonea wills a stone through their protective barrier. The stone strikes a magician and wounds him. In the choas a boy is killed by the magicians.
Suddenly we’re on a race against time as Sonea hides from the Guild who she thinks want to kill her. The Guild are seeking Sonea as a magician who develops powers naturally without learning control eventually explodes with power.
After a bit of a romp around the city Sonea enters the guild under the protection of an older magician called Lord Rothen. She will learn control and then must decide whether or not to join the Guild, which she has always hated. Throw in a bit of blackmail from the wounded magician who thinks dwells are scum and shouldn’t be magicians (several agree with him).
Eventually everything works out and Sonea decides to join the Guild and become a magician. Lord Rothen takes on guardianship of her. Here the real story starts. Sonea has witnessed the High Lord Akkarin, leader of the magicians, perform black magic. This is forbidden and the Administrator Loren asks her to stay and help him.
I did enjoy this book although it’s not the best in the trilogy. 95% of the book is the search for Sonea/Sonea hiding. Then 5% is the real story and the main element of the next two novels. The chase got a little tedious at times but it did allow the reader to see more about the Guild and the city.
This is definitely an introductory book whose primary purpose is to set the scene. I enjoyed it and it’s worth getting through for the rest of the trilogy.
Sonea is now a novice at the Guild training to be a magician. She is targeted for severe bullying by Regan, another novice and member of one of the Houses. Regan pretty much turns all the other novices against her and they attack her en masse regularly hurting her pretty badly.
A rumour also circulates that her relationship with Lord Rothen is inappropriate. She has to leave his home and live in the dormitories. This makes her a further target to bullying.
Lord Rothen’s friend Lord Dannyl is send to a neighbouring country, Elyne, as ambassador. Administrator Loren asks him to look into ancient magic in an attempt to discover more about Akkarin, who also studied this subject when younger. In Elyne he meets Tayend who is openly gay as it is tolerate in Elyne. Eventually he starts to develop feelings for Tayend as they travel around looking for information on ancient magic.
While all this is going on the High Lord, Akkarin, finds out that Sonea knows he uses black magic. He becomes Sonea’s guardian and she is forced to move into his home. Administrator Loren is made to a wear a ring that allows Akkarin to see and hear everything he does.
There are also a series of strange murders occurring in the poorer areas. The guards suspect a magician may be involved.
Most of the book is taken up with Regan bullying Sonea. Sonea only stands up to him at the end when she challenges him to a dual and wins.
I thought this was a good second novel in the trilogy. My favourite part was Lord Dannyl’s story line and learning more information about the history of magic. Sonea’s story was a little tedious. Again, 95% of the book was her being bullied and then 5% on the High Lord story line.
However, the world Trudi Canavan is interesting and well-built. I really enjoy learning more about the people and lands. A good read.
The High Lord
The final book in our trilogy.
In this book many truths become apparent. The High Lord, Akkarin, entrusts Sonea with information on black magic and why he uses it. Another neighbouring land, Sachaka, has magicians that use black magic. This makes them stronger than the whole guild combined.
We learn about the war with Sachaka. The history of black magic within the Guild and why it was banned.
Sonea works with Akkarin now she realises that he is using his power to keep Kyralia safe. When his use of black magic is discovered Akkarin and Sonea are banished to Sachaka, the near country outside the alliance countries.
Working together they return to Imardin secretly to fight again the Sachakan magicians that have attacked the city.
The Guild is in disarray. The Sachakan magicians reveal themselves and decimate the Guild’s numbers, killing many of them. Together with the Houses they flee the city. Anxious not to provide the enemy with fuel for their black magic.
Sonea and Akkarin enter and protect the dwells in the slums, who were left behind. Working with Sonea’s friend Ceryi in the Thieves, the criminal underworld, they take on the Sachakan magicians.
Ultimately there is a final battle and lives are lost on both sides.
This was the best of the trilogy. The characters were all their best selves. We learn a lot about the history of magic and Kryalia. There is no side story to this. It’s 100% the main storyline. It was a really enjoyable read, a great story and the world building was very interesting.
I would definitely recommend this trilogy. It’s a wonderful world and interesting concepts of magic. One to add to your winter reading list!
Have you read the Black Magician Trilogy? Let me know what you think below!
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