I saw the Magicians Guild in a charity shop for £2 and so I thought, why not? The story is part of a trilogy titled The Black Magician.
In the city of Imardin, located in the Kingdom of Kyralia lies the high-brow Magician’s Guild. The King employs them in an annual “cleansing” of the city called the purge, whereby the poor and downtrodden, perceived as nothing but criminals and thieves, are either killed or driven out of the city.
Among the struggling families is Sonea, a young girl who lives with her uncle and aunt. But just as they scrape themselves out of the slums, Sonea runs into an old gang…a daring gang who plan an attack on the city guard and the magicians. Now of course, they do this every year, and as always the magicians effortlessly create a magical shield to protect themselves from the thrown rocks and rotten vegetables. Among all of this, Sonea is encouraged by her best friend, Cery, to take part. And so, she grabs a rock, and glancing at the magicians she transfers all of her hate into the thing in her hand and throws it…
And it penetrates the shield, knocking one of the magicians unconscious. She runs away, and continues to run for months as the magicians try to track her down. Some don’t like her because she is one of the slum dwellers, others see potential, but all know that if she is not caught and trained then her power will consume her and the city around her…
My first impressions were that it was an “okay” story. After reading books such as the Game of Thrones I am used to the grit of a dark world, and I had the impression that this world would probably be very “tame”. But I was kind of wrong. There are assassins, brothels, professional thieves and dubious royal Houses (although they aren’t spoken about too much detail in this book). Besides that, other Kingdoms besides Kyralia, as well as a history are all mentioned which provides a good level of depth and complexity to this book.
Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised as I carried on reading. The groups of people and their prejudices is very realistic, and that is very important when it comes to the lower classes and their view of the Magician’s Guild as an elitist and merciless society. Or how the Thieves, as a group, fear the Magician’s Guild. But these prejudices are slowly and surely knocked down. It is a genuinely good example of how we can overcome our prejudices. I know it sounds absurd that we take this from a fictional world with fictional people, but the principle of spending time among “the other”, and seeing a human face is very much there.
I am hoping that the powerful Houses and the King of Kyralia are explored more in the following books. However, I tend not to read sequels which is a weakness that I hope to overcome! Don’t get me wrong, the book really does make you want to know what happens next, and if you feel like going into a different world of adventure then read it now. It flowed well, and was easy to read.