Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy

Written by  //  October 20, 2011  //  Books, Entertainment, Reviews  //  2 Comments


The books deal with a teenage girl called Sonea… Sonea is a dwell… From the slum area of a city called Imardin… She lives there with her aunt and uncle, after the death of her mother…
While meeting up with some old friends, Sonea becomes embroiled in The Purge… A practice to remove the city streets of vagrants, urchins and miscreants… During this Purge, Sonea is confronted by the “shielded” magicians to the front of her and the poor people behind her…

She becomes so angry that she throws a stone at the shield, only to find that all that anger causes her magical abilities to push the stone through the shield to hit one of the Magicians…

So begins the story of flight from the Magicians…


I’m not one to pick up a book and read it for the sake of reading, I am one who is hard to please when it comes to time I waste in personal pleasures. Okay, slap me in a room with a bunch a friends and put on a movie I would never watch otherwise, like Twilight (don’t shoot me down just yet Meyer fans), and I will enjoy it for the sheer fact that it was amazing to sit with a bunch of people who did actually see a plausible non-adolescent plot behind it. Who knows, I might enjoy the bad acting at some parts – yes I’m looking at you Mr. Pattinson and no I don’t judge you, I thought your movie Remember Me was fan-freaking-tastic, so lets call it a truce and blame it on bad directing.

But with books it is always different. It’s personal. No one hears the thoughts you hear, or reads that line how you read. And from a writers point of view you have to take into consideration the sheer fact that not everyone sees the line that clearly. So how do you get the point across, how do make the dialogue in the text come out and how do you breathe different styles of life into different personalities?

Character Development

This is what I found amazing in Trudi Canavan’s trilogy. One chapter into the Magician’s Guild and I was hooked by the personalities. Sonea is a young girl with a fortitude of a grown up, one who is one that can clearly define what is right and wrong, yet not having all the facts freely available. The way Canavan brings her perspective so early in the game allows for you to believe some of naivety of the dwells, then as the chapters roll, uncover the reasons behind a system that has been left only half matured.

The character development is sheerly amazing as you see each character build, yet some harden their close-minded views. Trudi has a way of not only bringing across personalities, but also flaws that are so convincing you almost believe the character’s views on it until the character’s reasoning is put into question or mixes with other events. This is one of the beauties of well written stories for me, is that even though you might be drawn to a character early on, they might lose that magic as you read on or become something more, someone you can appreciate for the hardships they have to master or the strength they show by not acting out, even when they have every reasons to and have the physical strength to.

Trudi Canavan captured it all for me.

Writing Style

Canavan did something I appreciated. She wrote different perspectives, she jumped between characters and described their vantage point from a narrated point of view. This point of view can give writers the freedom to correct lines of thought and to add points in a setting, that a character that the current context is fixed on cannot at that time realize. But this freedom can be a curse and Canavan avoided it entirely, and with great attention to detail. Example, there are mysteries in this magical world Canavan created that are seemingly non-related, and the characters seem not too pay too much attention to it at all. It is only as events occur that these mysteries tie themselves to the plot and fully reveal themselves.

Which brings me to the next great part of her writing style. Her ability to create a world. Many fantasy writers put you in a world and name all these fancy places and creatures, hoping to create a world that you’d want to travel. Perhaps they’re too heavily influenced by Tolkien-esk writing, or wish to recreate what the magical masters, like the aforementioned Tolkien, created. Canavan was amazing, she stuck to the “need-to-know” motto and built on the world that the characters were exposed to. This was incredible, because it allowed her not to get too carried away by the histories of a place, but leave a certain mystery about it. A mystery that keeps those pages turning. A mystery that lingers far after completing this trilogy.

Personal Verdict

I would recommend this book to everyone I know that enjoys fantasy, politics, emotional development, and a ever changing plot line that is never clearly visible until the grand finale. Many say the ending was weak, but I beg to differ. I say it allowed you to experience a different emotion you didn’t the entire trilogy altogether. But what that means I’ll let you decide yourself.

About the Author

Shannon Black is just a 21 year old idiot who enjoys making noise that some call music. He enjoys all kinds of music and supports the Open Source Initiative. In his free time, when he's not trying to find new ways to contribute to the OSI, he's either learning something new, jamming on guitar, watching a movie, hanging with friends or all of the above.

View all posts by

2 Comments on "Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy"

  1. Singer Sewing Machine November 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm · Reply

    Great! Thanks for the share!

  2. Connor November 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm · Reply

    Nice review. I don’t usually read books by female authors, they tend to be very similar, poorly written and insipid. However I read the first book on a whim and was hooked and read all three, although I am one that felt that it lost it a little at the end. Still good books and certainly much better than the very similar Brandon Sanderson Mistborn books (also young, skinny tomboy street urchin who discovers magical ability quite by accident and then struggles against adversity in a male dominated world etc Sanderson just doesn’t quite pull it off).

    Another series well worth a look are J V Jones Sword of Shadows books. I read the first one by accident (didn’t realise that JV stood for Julie Victoria otherwise I would have avoided – glad I didn’t) and was again hooked. Some of the best books I’ve read and no skinny tomboy street urchin protagonist at all in the book.

Leave a Comment

− three = 2

comm comm comm