Author: Trudi Canavan
Synopsis: Living among the Sachakan rebels, Lorkin does his best to learn about their unique magic. But the Traitors are reluctant to trade their secrets for the Healing they so desperately want.
Meanwhile, Sonea searches for the rogue, knowing that Cery cannot avoid assassination for ever- but the rogue’s influence over the city’s underworld is far greater than she feared.
And in the University, two female novices are about to remind the Guild that sometimes their worst enemy is found within…
My Thoughts: Now that events have been established in the first book, it’s here that the trilogy picks up speed, and it certainly gets going quickly. So far, alterations to the existing cast of viewpoint characters have been minor, so it was interesting to see Lilia added to the mix. Here we have a character who has no direct contact with the other viewpoint characters- at least at first- and also poses a possible threat to the Guild. Anyi is given a more prominent role to play here, and her playful banter with her father Cery is fun to read. It’s interesting to see the children of the original characters taking after their parents- or not, as the case may be.
After a slightly shaky start with the first instalment of this trilogy, I think this one is an improvement. In many ways I’m reminded of The Black Magician Trilogy, which precedes this: the first book was okay and I enjoyed it sufficiently to try the next one, which I enjoyed a lot more. The author is really good at jumping between viewpoints and keeping each one interesting, though I found some of Lorkin’s parts a bit slow. She’s also good at the subtle interconnections between characters as friendships waver or deepen. I was pleased to see Tayend return to have more of a role, playing the comic relief and accidental (and sometimes deliberate) gooseberry in the relationship between Dannyl and Ashaki Achati.
Once again, I’m reminded of The Novice when talking about this book. Lilia’s predicament has interesting parallels with the difficulties Sonea had as a young novice, and the age gap between the two is similar to that of Sonea and Rothen. The book also features a character discovering their sexuality, much as Dannyl did before. I was pleased to see homosexuality continue to be represented in this book (it was included in The Ambassador’s Mission but much more briefly- here it is given more attention). In my experience it’s rare to see these characters represented in fantasy, especially in those who have more than a minor role to play in events.
Looking back, it’s surprising to find that I’ve been with these characters for five books already. The next book, The Traitor Queen, is the last in this trilogy and also the last one in the series as of now. I’m sad that the end is so near, but Trudi Canavan has written several more books and is still going strong. If this series is anything to go by, then her other books are absolutely worth investigating. Book six is promising to be good.
In Short: New characters arrive and minor characters return for larger roles as the trilogy gathers speed. An improvement from book one, and there are some interesting parallels and nods to the first trilogy that long-time readers will enjoy. The Novice of the Traitor Spy Trilogy. 9/10