This review was written by Manon for RantingDragon.com
The redundant beginning
Sonea is a dwell that lives in the slums. Everyone in the slums hates the Magicians that live safely, luxuriously and arrogantly up in their Magician’s Guild. Only those of the Houses can become Magicians, and those in the slums are regarded as rats of the city, without any magical potential.
Until Sonea and her gang start throwing rocks to the heads of the Magicians that have gathered for the annual Purge (the Purge being the event where Magicians throw out the poor inhabitants of the slums out of their houses to live on the streets). The stone that Sonea throws at one of the Magicians’ heads, actually breaks through their magical barrier, uncovering Sonea’s magical potential.This will ensue a lot of trouble for Sonea, her friends and family.
Sonea is forced to go into hiding as she does not want to join the Guild. For about 300 pages, nearly 50 percent of the book, we follow her running from the Magicians. Then, finally, after her magical potential becomes so strong and she can no longer control her magic and she nearly destroys the city of Imardin, she is caught and brought to the Guild. She is assigned a benign mentor, Lord Rothen, one of the few Magicians actually interested in helping her instead of working her out of the Guild. According to most Magician’s, Sonea should be kicked out as soon as possible, because slum dwellers do not belong in the Guild.
In her early time in the Guild, Sonea is manipulated, angered, scared, freaked out, confused, lost and sad. She is insanely hard-headed, almost to the point where it’s annoying. Her being so distrustful of the Guild is not helped by the fact that she saw one of the higher-ups of the Guild coming back from a secret assassination, before she was caught by the Guild. Sonea thinks every one of the Magicians are self-centered, manipulative bastards and in fact, most of them are.
What seemed silly was that from both sides, both the developed, educated Magicians and the lowly slum dwellers are full of generalizations. One slum dweller steals? All of them steal. One Magician accidentally kills a boy? They all are senseless murderers. The generalizations became a little too evident and in my opinion, too easy.
There are not a whole lot of positive vibes in these books, whereas it’s mostly about Sonea’s very negative, insecure feelings. That 50 percent of the book is about the hiding from and being chased by the Magician’s Guild to only end up there was really very redundant – I felt fooled when she was caught by the Guild. What is the point of elaborating so much about her running from the Guild, while it could have been done with in only a few chapters?
Why should you read this book
I’m not a person who stops reading a series or Trilogy. When I’ve started a story, I like to finish it. In this case, I’m glad I did continue to read, because the following two books in the Trilogy, “The Novice” and “The High Lord” were both very enjoyable reads. If this were a standalone, I would not have recommended it to anyone, because it was simply a boring story with a lot of redundancy.
If you want to read an enjoyable trilogy with a meager first novel, go read this trilogy. I promise, the second and third books are a lot better than this one!