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The Magicians' Guild

(The Black Magician Trilogy #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  77,002 ratings  ·  2,758 reviews
"We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician."

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enr
Paperback, 467 pages
Published January 31st 2004 by Orbit (first published 2001)
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GTaichou I would say it is, yes. It's a bit of a coming of age story, and definitely has a touch of the common YA plot of "kids having to take care of things b…moreI would say it is, yes. It's a bit of a coming of age story, and definitely has a touch of the common YA plot of "kids having to take care of things behind adults' backs."(less)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  77,002 ratings  ·  2,758 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This is in no way a romance (there is a TINY romance thread). So why am I even mentioning romance?

Well. The mechanics of many romances are to bring two people together and have them misunderstand and mistrust each other despite it being obvious to the reader that they belong together.

The heart of this story centres on our main character, Sonea, a young magically gifted girl from the lower orders, and Rothen, an old magician from the aristocracy. We know from the early pages that Rothen intends o
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
"She was special, but in a way he could not have guessed. She had magic!"

- DNF 67% - I am sorry, but I can't take more of the insipid interactions between these flat and dull characters (also, stupid) who keep running around in this vague and generic world where nuance doesn't exist and where everyone generalize to excess. Don't even get me started about the writing, so bland and repetitive that it would be laughable if it wasn't so terrible. I really don't care if it gets better after. I ca
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Magicians' Guild (Black Magician Trilogy, #1), Trudi Canavan

The Magicians' Guild is the first fantasy novel in The Black Magician series by Trudi Canavan. Published in 2001, it is followed by The Novice (2002) and The High Lord (2003).

The book tells the story of Sonea, a young girl from the slums, as she discovers her magical potential. When she hurls a stone through a magical barrier, accidentally injuring a magician behind it, Sonea finds herself on the run from the powerful Magicians'
Oct 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was going to put this up on my "currently reading" shelf, but it didn't take me long enough to finish it. Or, perhaps, I read more than I check this website.

Either way, this book I just finished half an hour ago is a cute little start to what seems to be a simple and inoffensive fantasy trilogy set in a stock-and-trade fantasy setting with basic characters and a plot you would expect. THAT being said, it was interesting enough to make me go look for the second and third books. Or, rather, I WI
Nov 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
A protagonist that is super special, and a world apparently divided into slums and powerful rich magic people? I like my fantasy in shades of grey, not black and white, and I'm sick of protagonists that are born more special than other people, rather than character development and hard work making them more special, so I guess I should have known this one wouldn't thrill me. But I was looking for a kickass female magician protagonist, and I thought maybe this would give it to me.

Pet Peeve: Canav
Kells Next Read
“If this young woman is a natural, we should expect her to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”

This one started off a bit slow and dragged on a bit but for some strange reason I kept on reading as I felt that it would eventually pay off. The characters were well developed and the world building great. The heroine annoyed the crap out of me at times but I'm glad that I held on.

I really would like to see where this trilogy goes so I eage
Ranting Dragon
Oct 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guests
This review was written by Manon for

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 bei
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable read with an interesting story and some very likeable characters. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about magic and entering other people's minds. Loved the descriptions likening minds to rooms in houses. It was all very interesting and made a change from the usual magic books where everyone is throwing magical stuff around and killing each other. The ending was very obviously the lead up to the next book and I have no problem being led. In fact I am looking forward t ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Telling the story of Sonea a girl trying to live in a world of division where the magicians rule. Not only is she a girl but she is a commoner who could never be part of such a precious world. Well, things change and in an instant Sonea life changes through no fault of her own but all by accident.. The adventure begins when she discovers that she too possess the same precious power, that is ten times the strength of an ordinary magician.. Not only does this shock her but it also shocks the magic ...more
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“It is said, in Imardin, that the wind has a soul, and that it wails through the narrow streets because it is grieved by what it finds there.”

I picked this up with every intention of reading this the same as with every book I pick up. The synopsis piqued my interest and I'm ready to cut my arm for a copy of this. However, when I took a quick look at the review section, I was surprised to see that it has so many bad reviews. Did that deter me from reading this? Absolutely not. I read book
In the first volume of this fantasy trilogy we hear the story of young Sonea from the poor district of the city, who suddenly develops magical powers. However, it is forbidden to work or be able to work magic outside of the Magician Guild, so the city guard and the mages immediately start seaching for Sonea. If you want to know, if they find her and what happens next, you’ll have to read for yourself. 😊

I finished reading the book, but I have to admit that it didn't really grab me. The reason fo
Apr 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Canavan became so popular that she unavoidably made me interested - she is getting lumped together with big names in industry, such as Rowling, Paolini and even Meyer. Out of these only Rowling is worth something, being the one to cause this avalanche. I was really curious whether Canavan was as bad as other fantasy-related authors loved by the public and finally got to read her books, courtesy of a friend.

The Magicians' Guild starts simply enough - lowest caste tangles into skirmishes with the
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I first read this as a teenager and I remembered loving it. Re-reading it now,it's lost a little of its shine.

The book centres around Sonea,a teenager living in the slums who discovers she has magic powers. Magic has traditionally belonged to the upper classes alone, and so Sonea flees the magicians,believing they will attempt to kill her. In reality, they want to bring her in to teach her to control her powers.

The first half of the novel feels like a cat and mouse tale that goes on far too lo
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing

5 Words: Magic, power, misunderstanding, prejudice, secrets.

It is said, in Imardin, that the wind has a soul, and that it wails through the narrow streets because it is grieved by what it finds there.

Buddy read with my bookish bestie Steph.

Yeah, I just love this book.
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 stars. This was *ok*. If the pacing had been better it would have scraped a 4, but I’m not sure that I will continue the series.
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book is a perfect example of the phrase "saying a lot without saying anything"

The first part of this book, over 200 pages, could have been captured in like 50 pages. The second half of the book is better but still dragged on. There is no reason for this to be over 400-pages long

The first half

Girl finds out she has magical powers by attacking a magician. Magicians are surprised because girl is poor and poor people are not meant to have powers. Girl runs away because she thinks magicians
David Sven
Feb 15, 2013 marked it as started-but-didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy
Here's me being ruthless. It's my new year's resolution.

I'm giving this away at 16%. I'm not going to rate it because I haven't given it enough of a chance - but the style of writing reminds me of the first Harry Potter book ie written for young children, but without the same charm. The audio narration by Richard Aspel wasn't terrible, but very average - maybe it was what he had to work with?

Possibly, if I gave this more of a chance, this would grow on me as I like coming of age, process of disc
Kylie Coulter
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love Trudi Canavan's ability to create imagined worlds with strong characters. Sonea is an ordinary slum girl, poor, yet honest. She has questionable ties that she left long ago in order to pursue a life her aunt and uncle would approve of. When the magicians of the guild come to purge the city of slum scum, Sonea finds herself amongst her old friendships. In the spirit of the rebellion from the city folk Sonea throws a stone at a group of magicians who have a magic shield up. Using her anger, ...more
Sep 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
As a first novel it's not bad and, while it's enjoyable enough, that fact shows throughout.

The story lacks any real depth, character development is minimal, the plot is extremely predictable and the dialogue very stilted. I get the impression that Ms. Canavan has done a bit of Dungeons and Dragons playing as it comes close to such an adventure - all surface, single-layer action and no deep storyline. There is a little hint of a darker story in there but we don't get to see much of it here - perh
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was better than I was expecting it to be. I like my fantasy a little darker than the standard and this had some components that fit nicely into that category. A world in which powerful, greedy magicians rule the world and keep society firmly under their thumb. The setting is fairly stock fantasy and the main character's unrelenting stubborness began to really annoy me. Both of these issues kept me from rating it higher than 3 stars but I still liked it enough to read the next book in the se ...more
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, review
This and my other reviews can be found at

In the city of Imardin every year magicians drive the Thieves, beggars and the poor out of the city without any trouble, until one year a young woman called Sonea is able to break through their magical barrier. Now, the hunt is on, as the magicians to find her before she destroys the city and herself. Meanwhile, Sonea is trying to hide from them and the bounty on her head by taking refuge with the Thieves.

The Magici
N Islam
Sep 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5 year olds who've finished reading peter and jane
Reading through this felt like trudging through mud. The writing was horrible, it was so dry and lifeless that I had to push myself really hard to reach even a quarter of the book. The characters are cardboard cutouts, having some traits borrowed from other more successful novels.

And don't get me started on the dialogue. It was nightmarish. The magic in this book has no construct to it, its just random people reading thoughts and throwing balls of fire. No joke.

The protagonist is a scared little
Can't stop to review. Must begin next book immediately:

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Nick Borrelli
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm glad that I didn't purchase the entire series. The Magicians' Guild has all of the elements of an interesting fantasy story, without the story to support it. This took me so long to get through that I found myself skimming quickly just so that I could finish. It's a shame really because the idea was great, but the execution was lacking. ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
It could have been better and shorter.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookcrossing
This book started off on the wrong foot for me, with a contradiction in the first paragraph (is the wind howling because of what it sees or is it silent because of what it sees?). The next few chapters did little to improve my opinion. The characters were stereotyped and the description clumsy. There were info dumps about how the world worked. There were words changed simply to make the world feel different—for example, ale became bol and there were substituted words for tea, coffee and trouble. ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The first half of this book is pretty boring - things picked up in the 2nd half. I'll probably try the second book and see if it gets any better. ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't hate it, but I couldn't finish it. The multiple POVs worked against it, taking away all sense of mystery and suspense. You just sit waiting for the characters to work their misunderstandings out, knowing that eventually they will; it's just a question of how long it'll take. And boy, does it take a long time. Eventually I just decided it wasn't worth the wait.

The characters were all very simple and uninteresting to me. They're good or they're bad, they're male or they're female, but ve
Yzabel Ginsberg
I wasn't too thrilled at the first part, but the second part kind of makes up for it, and it seems like there could be interesting developments in the two other books. ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this so long ago but I still feel all the feels. This might get a re-read.
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Trudi Canavan was born in Kew, Melbourne and grew up in Ferntree Gully, a suburb at the foothills of the Dandenongs.

In 1999 she won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story with “Whispers of the Mist Children”. In the same year she was granted a writers residency at Varuna Writers’ Centre in Katoomba, New South Wales.

In November 2001, The Magicians’ Guild was first published in Australia. T

Other books in the series

The Black Magician Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Novice (Black Magician Trilogy, #2)
  • The High Lord (Black Magician Trilogy, #3)

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