Review: ‘The High Lord’ by Trudi Canavan

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Sunday, November 14, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Title: The High Lord

Author: Trudi Canavan

Published: Orbit, 2007, pp. 674.  Originally published 2003.

Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: In the city of Imardin, where those who wield magic wield power, a young street-girl, adopted by the Magicians’ Guild, finds herself at the centre of a terrible plot that may destroy the entire world…

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?

When, where and why: I got this book along with the first two from someone on BookMooch.  I made the mistake of loaning them to the Old English Thorn, who devoured them and has been pestering me to give him the third one ever since.  Naturally I couldn’t let him have the book before I had read it, and so I thought I should get round to it sooner rather than later.

What I thought: I thought that The High Lord was a tremendously satisfying end to The Black Magician Trilogy: it ties up all of the loose ends from the previous two books while still leaving room for further development if the author decides to revisit the series.  I know that Trudi Canavan has several other books out related to this world, although I’m not sure how exactly the books tie in with the story of The Black Magician Trilogy, so it may be that she’s already done so.  After the enjoyment I’ve had from this trilogy, I’ll definitely be investigating the others at some point.

What I liked most about this book was that it actually managed to surprise me, unlike its predecessors.  Trudi Canavan’s system of black magic is intriguing and different, not least because of the culture that she has created around it.  I thought that the tension that builds up as Sonea and Akkarin try to counter the Ichani on their own is well sustained, helped by the continued futile or dangerous attempts of others to defeat them.  The plot twists are excellent, making this definitely the best book in the trilogy and a fitting culmination.

My only issue with the book is that Trudi Canavan’s habit of picking up and dropping characters as it suits her rears its ugly head again.  I was pleased to see that Cery makes a return after being mostly (and inexplicably) absent from the middle installment, but other characters suffer the same fate.  The first half of the book is set in the Guild and yet Regin, the focus and driving force behind The Novice, is mentioned once in passing and never appears again.  I can understand him not being physically present, but Sonea doesn’t even think about him, despite the important role he plays in her development.  I like what Canavan did with Regin in the end, but his sudden disappearance prior to that irked me.  The same is true of Dorrien, who was also fairly significant in The Novice but isn’t even thought of until the mid point of the book.  The part he plays in this final book is also unrelated to his importance in the previous book, which seemed a little disjointed to me.  On the whole though, while I would have preferred more consistency, I really liked this trilogy and will definitely be investigating Trudi Canavan’s other books.

Where this book goes: At the moment this book is in the care of the Old English Thorn, but once he has finished reading it, it will be back with its friends on my fantasy shelf.

Tea talk: It’s been cold again recently, so I’ve been drinking Lapsang Souchong.  To me, it tastes like curling up in front of a fire on a miserable day and I’ve been doing a lot o that recently.

Posted in Book Review • Tags: , , , , Top Of Page

Write a comment