The Magician’s Apprentice is the prequel to The Black Magician trilogy by Trudi Canavan.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
A perfect prequel for fans of The Black Magician trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed The Magician’s Apprentice especially learning more about the history of this fantasy world and exploring its geography. The cast of characters is extensive and engaging, and the storyline captivating. Great stuff! 5 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn.
When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.
The hours are long and the work arduous, but soon and exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants – and, to Tessia’s delight – regular trips to the great city of Imardin.
However, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For a storm is approaching that threatens to tear her world apart.
It’s going to come at a cost. It’s going to change the way we see ourselves…If we justify this, then how much easier will it be to justify worse? If Kyralians believe a little wrongdoing is excusable for the right reason, what else will we excuse, or assume others will excuse?
(The Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan, pg 596)
I have enjoyed all the stories I have read in this world – I’m captivated by the people, places, the world-building, but especially the main characters. The Black Magician trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series, and so I was certain I would not only enjoy but love The Magician’s Apprentice.
Not much about the story was predictable – except the romance. The ending certainly came as a surprise, even though hints are given regarding it, (in this book and others set in the same world). My favourite chapters focused on Tessia (who reminded me very much of Sonea from The Black Magician books), Dakon and Jayan. I had more trouble connecting with Stara, but it was interesting to find out how the Traitors began. The only criticism I have is that I would have liked to have read more about the characters after the war; the ending seemed a little abrupt, given how long was spent on other areas. Yet, this hardly seems like any criticism at all, and it did not affect my overall enjoyment of story. I’m probably only complaining because I didn’t want the story to end 😉
There is a lot of story in this one book: war, love, magic, action, adventure, politics, and more. The cast of characters is also extensive to enable the story to cover more than one country and a number of storylines.
It is a big book – around 700 pages long – and the story is told from a number of different perspectives, which I enjoyed immensely. I like knowing what is going on elsewhere, but more than that, when there are people from other lands and other cultures, we get to see what is normal for them, and understand why they react and behave in a certain way. We wouldn’t get this without the bias of perspective if the whole story was told from a single viewpoint.
Whether I would have enjoyed this book as much if I hadn’t already read The Black Magician’s trilogy, I’m not sure. There are a number of events and a lot of information in The Magician’s Apprentice which set the foundations for aspects of the original stories, such as higher magic and the Magicians’ Guild. There are also elements that link in with The Traitor Spy trilogy that comes after The Black Magician books, so there is clearly an aspect of interweaving between the books, which I also enjoy. I would guess that if this is your first foray into Trudi Canavan’s books set in Kyralia, it might be too heavy on detail for it to be an entertaining, engaging read. However, if like me you are familiar with the other stories, you will get a lot out of The Magician’s Apprentice.