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The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

01/08/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy The Magician's Apprentice in the USA - or Buy The Magician's Apprentice in the UK

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pub: Orbit. 591 page hardback. Price: 14.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-597-2.

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It's been a while since Trudi Canavan produced the trilogy about 'The Magicians Guild' and for this new novel, 'The Magician's Apprentice', she has gone back a few hundred years to the origin of the Guild itself.

We meet Tessia who desperately wants to be a Healer. As a woman, she is unable to be her Healer father's apprentice, but helps with the terrible injuries inflicted on a slave at the Lord Dakon's house. On being pawed by the slave's master, the magician Takado from the country of Sachaka, she unleashes a storm of magic which results in some necessary redecoration.

The Lord Dakon must therefore take her as his new apprentice and Tessia may have to accept once and for all she cannot be a healer. She will also have to share Dakon with his current apprentice, Dakon, who looks down on her and is really annoying.

There's a war coming and the magician Takado is about to start it. The slave-owning country of Sachaka is eying up Kyralia with envious eyes. Tessia is going to find herself at the heart of it and maybe she will need those healing skills with a little help from her newly-found magic.

Meanwhile, Stara leaves her mother in Elyne and journeys to meet her father in Sachaka hoping to help him in his trade. She is bitterly dismayed to find he just sees her as something to be traded in a marriage.

The war will affect them both in different ways and by the end of the book everything will have changed which leads us into the sequel and another sequel. This is my main bugbear with these books. Sometimes they just go on and on. This one has some clunky dialogue, lazy descriptions and is guilty of using coincidence just like all the others. How many times can someone have a crooked smile? Main characters are brushed away at the end of the book and motivation is imposed from a great height.

Certain plot developments are frankly unbelievable. The book works better when concentrating on Tessia. She at least keeps her main character traits but other characters are pushed around like chess pieces. I finished the book, it's not unreadable but I was disappointed with its final mopping up. It did not excite enough emotion to make me seek out the next instalment.

Sue Davies

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