The Magician’s Apprentice is a book I read a while back, shortly after it was published in February 2009. That’s kind of my way of saying that this might not be my longest or most specific review, since not all the details are as fresh in my mind as when I have written some of my other reviews. Needless to say I will do my best, promised. Getting back to the book however, The Magician’s Apprentice is written by the fantastic Australian author, Trudi Canavan. She’s most known for her Black Magician Trilogy for which Magician's Apprentice is a prequel, a quite distant prequel.
Blurb: 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. Despite knowing that women aren’t accepted in the Guild of Healers, Tessia is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps. 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. Although the long hours of study and self-discipline, Tessia’s new life offers more opportunities than she had ever hoped for, and an exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants and – she is delighted to learn – regular trips to the great city of Imardin. But along with the excitement and the 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…
Trudi Canavan is really a sublime writer. Her style is easy to read and flows flawlessly. She crafts stories that unfold beautifully. It’s interesting that she chose to write a prequel to the trilogy before a sequel series since I'd read her talk about doing the latter almost from almost just after the Black Magician trilogy was published. I suppose its possible Canavan had more to explain about the background of the world, making it richer, before she could build further in the future.
The Magician’s Apprentice goes beyond the encyclopedic role it could have had if it were simply detailing events happening before the main trilogy; it has a definite story of its own, though it does nicely fill in some elements that could be seen as missing in the other books. None of these are exactly essential to the story told (or else they obviously would have originally been included) but they are, like in most prequels, pleasant additions to the mythology. The story in Magician's Apprentice fits perfectly the role of adding this mythology while having an entertaining and well told story of its own.
Part of the expansion of the mythos involves further travels in the world that Canvan has created. One of the main point of view characters has her arc play out almost exclusively not previously visited in depth. Magician's Apprentice, maybe unfortunately, can be seen as sharing some story elements slightly too closely with the Black Magician Trilogy. Our main character is once again a girl from the lower classes of society and she is once more discovered to have incredible magical potential. Its lack of originality is negligible since the story, when considered on its own, is enticing and moving; Do not let this detter you from reading in fear of too much similarity. I simply wanted to touch upon this similarity and how it could maybe, and I stress the maybe, seen as too similar.
It should go without saying that it is not recommended for you to read Magician's Apprentice before the Black Magician Trilogy Even though it doesn’t spoil anything for the trilogy I just find it nice to be able to go back in and say: Ohhh that’s why that happened, but maybe you’re not like me. The idea of inroducing the Black Magician Trilogy to you trotte in my head a while back, and that may still happen. Maybe as a classic fantasy review (yes it's good enough to be calssic in my opinion)? uhmmm… We'll see! The Ambassador’s Mission (to be published in May), is Canavan's next planned novel. It is the first book in her Traitor Spy Trilogy, the sequel to the Black Magician's Trilogy. If you have the time and the interest I also recommend reading her Power of the Five trilogy, which is also, in the true Canavan vein, fabulous.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Reading Age: 14 and up
Violence: Yes some kick-ass magical battles and some generic violence
Sex/Language: Not really any that I can remember, but then again it was a while ago…
Trudi Canavan's website: http://www.trudicanavan.com/
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