Set in the fictional land of Kyralia, the story takes place hundreds of years before the events of the Magician’s Guild, the first book in the Black Magician’s trilogy. Along with said trilogy, this book is one of my favourite fantasy books. I first read it when I was a teenager and it has remained one of my favourites since then. This book follows Tessia, a young woman living in a remote village, whose life takes an unexpected turn when it is revealed she can access magic. Other key characters include Jayan, a magician’s apprentice like Tessia, and Stara, a mixed race woman living in the Sachakan capital, Arvice.
The Magician’s Apprentice is a fantastic prequel with well written characters and compelling plot. It contains all the things that Canavan is good at – action, magic, romance and some humour. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and found it quite a quick read, despite its size. While the plot is compelling throughout, the pacing is a little uneven at times. I did not really have an issue with this, but it may be something to be aware of as the story does occasionally drag a little. The pacing is generally quite slow throughout. I will also say that the inclusion of Stara’s storyline felt quite detached from the main story arc and I wasn’t as invested in her perspective as the others. It is used as a way to link this book to another of Canavan’s trilogies, the Traitor Spy trilogy, but it just felt a little unnecessary when combined with the main perspective of Tessia and Jayan. Having said that, I did still enjoy the overall story and it was so interesting to see how things in this book affect things in the later books set in the world.
This prequel is quite traditional in terms of the fantasy genre, but it does this very well. The magic system and structure of the story are typical of traditional fantasy books, so if you read a lot of fantasy then you will be able to notice some familiar tropes. While the magic system is not ground-breaking, I think it is one of the main strengths of this book. Canavan has done a fantastic job at developing this system and revealing more about it throughout the 756 pages. In particular, we get to see how magic is used to heal. I have always been interested in healing powers, so I really enjoyed this element of the book. Lastly, I’m going to talk about the characters. While I thought they are generally well written, some lacked depth and development.
Overall this is a fantastic book and one that I have revisited quite a few times. If you are looking for a new fantasy book to read, then I highly recommend checking this one out. However, if you are looking for some new, ground-breaking fantasy books then this isn’t the book for you. It is still well worth a read though. I also think that this book is a great gateway book into the genre, as it has a lot of things that make up a fantasy book without being dense. I highly recommend checking this out. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.