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Australian Spec-Fic Authors Challenge – December Round-Up

mag guildFor December I wrapped up the year long challenge with Trudi Canavan’s The Magicians’ Guild, book one in The Black Magician trilogy.

The story primarily follows Sonea, a girl who lives in the slum in a city where the only people with magic powers are the wealthy and once year the wealthy kick out the homeless and destitute in an event they call ‘the purge’. During the purge, Sonea is so mad at the magicians assisting with the purge that she – like many other people around her – throws a rock at them. Unlike everyone elses rocks, which bounce of the magical barrier around them, hers goes through and knocks one out, showing her as magically gifted.

Now begins a chase through the slums as Sonea tries to keep away from the magicians (who she is convinced intend to kill her if not hurt her terribly), while the magicians rush to try and reach her with the intent of trying to catch her before her wild magic rages out of control killing not just her, but also untold hundreds of people around her.

I really liked the characters of Sonea and Cery and the awkward little blossoming romance there and the depth of world building is hinted at with a few almost throw away lines but for me the book didn’t have a lot of velocity. I’m sorry, I know I’m always harping on about velocity in stories, but it’s something that matters to me.

I think the velocity was missing for me because the stakes didn’t seem right. If at the start we had have been left not knowing the magicians (mostly) had good intentions toward Sonea, I think the start would have been much more thrilling. I understand that Canavan needed to lay down the moves of the antagonist early so he didn’t just pop out of nowhere, but the nice magicians were in there too and it just lessened the intensity for me.

Now don’t think the book is a write-off at all! The ending was great and also paved the path for some massive stakes for the next book and I am very interested to continue on with the trilogy (I’m lining them up for next year but I’ve been dying to catch up on the Dexter books this year and plan to fit at least one in before 2014).

Ahh, I can breath a sigh of relief, I was able to complete my own challenge. How did you guys go? Owned it, just scraped home, miles off, didn’t even try? Soon I’ll do a wrap up post and level the challenge at you all again for next year.

Have a great Christmas all (and for those who don’t celebrate, a great holiday)

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