My main problem though was with the pacing. It drags a lot. I don’t know if the two sequels are any different but ‘Magician’s Guild’ feels less like a first book in a trilogy and more like the first quarter of a single story. Until the very end, nothing really happens. The plot can be summed up with three statements: A girl throws a rock at a magician’s head and thus discovers that she has magic, she hides from the magicians who want to find her, she trains with the magicians once found. It could have been fleshed out so much more, but at the same time it could have been cut down by half.
An example of this is the “Hiding” arc. It feels like this covers half of the book when nothing of note really happens. It could have been fully explored in a chapter or two but was instead drawn out too long.
Another of my problems was with the protagonist, Sonea. I was looking forward to a cool female lead but Sonea fell far from this mark. She is a passive character. At no point does the story progress because of her own willful actions beyond the initial throw of a stone. She is led through the story literally by the hand in most cases and at no point redeems herself. She is a plot device more than an actual character.
Like I said in the introduction, the world of the book feels interesting. The city itself is well developed and the conflict between the rich and the poor is a good foundation for a detailed and believable setting. This book could have been so much more than it was but fell short on every point.
To conclude, it is far from perfect but it is readable. Since it was Trudi Canavan’s debut book I will definitely check out the sequel since most writers improve vastly with practice. I have faith that something great can come from these shaky beginnings.
5/10 points on the ‘Matthew Roys Scale of Awesome’.