Author: Trudi Canavan
Synopsis: Sonea has learned much at the Magicians’ Guild and the other novices now treat her with a grudging respect. But she cannot forget what she witnessed in the high lord’s underground room- or his warning that the realm’s ancient enemy is growing in power once more. As Sonea learns more, she begins to doubt her guildmaster’s word. Could the truth really be as terrifying as Akkarin claims, or is he trying to trick her into assisting in some unspeakably dark scheme?
My Thoughts: Normally I try to wait a little while between reading books in a series so that I can savour them a little, but after finishing The Novice I just couldn’t bear to wait before reading the finale to this awesome trilogy! Little has changed since the conclusion of book two, except that concern is growing over the mysterious murders that are occurring in the city which may involve black magic. The same characters are present, with the addition of Sonea’s old friend Cery who was largely absent from book two. Their various subplots subtly intertwine, and all are wondering about High Lord Akkarin’s motives.
In a genre where the antagonist is so often painted as the morally unambiguous “lord of all evil”, it’s refreshing to see Akkarin presented as someone who might not be without redeeming features. Trudi Canavan is really good at the slow progression of character relationships, and I was reminded of book one as Sonea once again questions beliefs she thought were set in stone. I was a little sad to see Rothen become more of a side character as he is forbidden to communicate Sonea, and Dannyl and Tayend’s story is also sidelined but the focus is once again on the story’s main protagonist, which is fitting for the trilogy’s conclusion. All characters- plus a few others- have a part to play, and with so many viewpoints to move between the story can feel a little crowded at times but it was interesting to see their subplots slowly coming together.
So much progression occurs in this book that by the end I was amazed by how far the characters had come. Any safeness that was present in The Novice is now gone; no character is safe from the Sachakan threat as an invasion becomes a grim certainty and the Guild is forced to question everything it once stood for. The last third of the book in particular had me completely hooked and I was desperate to learn the fate of the characters that I have grown to love over the course of this trilogy. There are certainly some interesting character developments, and just about everyone who has played a role in the past is brought into the events as the situation grows more desperate.
There’s so much I can’t say about this book for fear of spoiling it, but I can say that I couldn’t have wished for a better conclusion to the trilogy. Trudi Canavan has created such a rich and complex world that I could happily have spent many more books worth of time in the world she has created. Everything that has happened in the trilogy is brought together for a gripping, adventure-filled and completely satisfying conclusion.
There is a second trilogy set after this one, the Traitor Spy Trilogy. Although I was content with the ending I read, I’m certainly interested to see where the series will lead after this. After buying this trilogy on a whim I can safely say it has been some of the best high fantasy I have ever read, especially books two and three. For anyone who is a fan of this genre, read The Black Magician Trilogy: a series with detailed world-building, intricately interwoven plotlines, and characters that you’ll be willing to go to hell and back with. I loved every moment I spent reading.
In Short: The epic finale to this amazing trilogy. The world of Kyralia we have grown to love is threatened to end forever and characters are forced to consider what truly matters. It stayed with me long after I finished the book and convinced me utterly that Trudi Canavan is one of the best high fantasy authors out there. 10/10