Book Review: Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan

Priestess of the White is the first book in the Age of the Five fantasy series by Trudi Canavan.

Auraya, a girl from Hania, very quickly rises up the ranks of priestesses.  Within ten years she becomes one of the Gods’ Chosen, that is, one of the Gods chosen representatives, of which there are five, the same number as the Circlian Gods.  The Gods’ Chosen not only serve as religious leaders; they also have a very prominent political role to fulfil.  Now, as Auraya of the White, she lives in the White Tower in Jarime and is granted many gifts and magical powers.

One of her first tasks is that of negotiating an alliance with a distant land, as it has been revealed to the Chosen that the Gods wish for the people of Ithania to unite.  But as Auraya goes about her work, it is clear that she doesn’t see the world and the people in it as the other of the Gods’ Chosen do, or even some of the common folk.  Those who do not follow their path and their ways are often viewed with distrust and suspicion.  That isn’t Auraya’s way.

Not only does Auraya have work to do, but she must also learn how to use some of these newly bestowed gifts.  However, she doesn’t have long to get used to the change she has undergone.  Rumours abound that black-robed sorcerers are terrorising land to the south.  They shouldn’t be a match for the Gods’ Chosen though; their gods are the only real ones in existence after the Circlian deities defeated the others.  However, it’s not as easy and convincing as it should have been.  These black-robed sorcerers are the heralds of revelation: war and a clash of beliefs is on the way.  How will the newest of the Gods’ Chosen cope?

And as these black-robed sorcerers, or Pentadrians as they are called, create more and more unrest, it is up to the Gods’ Chosen to form and forge as many alliances as they possibly can.  But time is running out, and war is coming…

I am a big fan of Trudi Canavan’s work.  I think the worlds she creates are so complex and detailed that is it impossible not to get drawn into the colourful tales of magic and intrigue that she writes.

The vast array of characters, each with their own story and role to fulfil, make this a fascinating book.  The story lines deftly weave in and out of each other, to bring to life an engaging, captivating read.  We hear voices from all sides and perspectives, from different cultures and different people.  The author provides us with detail and in-depth background information about the places and people she has created, and throughout the book these remain consistent.

Priestess of the White is an epic tale of magic, sorcery, religion, faith, love, duty, honour and friendship.

I highly recommend this book to all fans of magic and fantasy fiction.  The Age of the Five series continues with Book 2, Last of the Wilds, which I am looking forward to reading.

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