Published: 7th June 2007
Synopsis: Each year the magicians
of Imardin gather together to purge the city streets of vagrants,
urchins and miscreants. Masters of the disciplines of magic, they know
that no one can oppose them. But their protective shield is not as
impenetrable as they believe.
This book (well, the whole series) ended up on my shelves when my fiance and I moved in together full time and just like most readers, I instantly recognised the name. Trudi Canavan is a staple fantasy author and I was a little embarrassed that I hadn't ever read any of her books. As you can imagine I'm even more embarrassed now that it's been another 3 years on top of that before I finally picked it up. Since I've dated Alex, he's always been given the honour of choosing my first book of the year, and so 2018 was no different; the fact that I finished several graphic novels before I finished this book is irrelevant.
I've struggled for a little while on what to say in this review. Partly because it's been so long since I've actually written anything that wasn't work related but partly because I have such strong, mixed emotions regarding this book in particular. I was excited to start reading it. I didn't have any pre-conceived ideas about it other than Alex loved it (which is a rarity as he generally only relates to male lead characters). I read quite a big chunk in the first sitting, and maybe that was part of the problem? I'm not sure. Basically, it was dull.
The first half of the book was a constant repetition of the same situation. I thought there would be action, adventure, mystery and it was largely a game of hide and seek set in what promised to be an incredible setting. Sonea was a super interesting character and I feel like there's a backstory to her that is just screaming out to be told but it wasn't achieved in the first book; and it's important to remember that this is just the first book in a trilogy. Other than Sonea though, the characters just weren't memorable. I could barely remember who was who and in the end I wrote a little note in my phone for reminders as I kept forgetting everything.
The idea of the 'thieves' was easily more interesting than the magician's themselves or the basic storyline but no real information was given. It was almost as though everyone who wasn't Sonea was brushed over. ***PLOT TWIST*** and this was exactly when all of those issues flew right out of my head and the book REALLY began.
Once the large scale hide and seek game began, the book completely turned into something special. Characters became more defined, emotions became more apparent and the story was the intrigue and suspense i'd been hoping for. I'm still a little disappointed that it took too long to get started but with hindsight, maybe I should have been expecting that from a fantasy novel. I power read the last third of the book one morning before work because I simply couldn't wait another day to find out what on earth was going to happen to both Sonea and other characters in the book. There's a long way to go with this series but i'm hoping it doesn't take me too long to dive back in and pick up where I left on. I see great things for this series after a rocky start and perhaps Trudi Canavan will become more than just an author's name i've heard, and one I can boast about myself.