©2004 Trudi Canavan; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
"The first part of the Black Magician Trilogy, this captivating tale has already been hailed by critics as a 'must for lovers of good fantasy'." (Marie Claire)
I *think* I quite like this book. It's hard to tell, however, because every conversation takes place three times. This might be alright if I were reading it, but, as a listener, I'm trapped. Suddenly nothing happens. These prolonged conversations serve to bring the plot to a standstill.
The first half of the audiobook should, by rights, take half the time. The narration is repetitious, and seems to imply that the reader or, in this case, the listener is dense. This is an editing issue and should have been dealt with before the book was released.
I like the story, I like the characters. I'd like action to occur. The narrator is doing a fine job, for the most part. He's doing quite well on most of the voices. Considering the number of characters, it's nigh onto impossible to get them all distinct. Some of the female voices suffer from the Monty Python-esque falsetto. Like most fantasy novels, female characters make up, perhaps, fifteen per cent of the population, so this isn't much of an issue.
At this point, I sincerely doubt that I'll look into the other books in the series because this feels like it's happening in real time. Each day is filled with needless detail, repetitious dialogue and interior monologues.
Trudi Canavan has a wonderful imagination. This book is a great beginning. Hope to enjoy many more of Ms. Canavan's offerings.
Like the rest of the series this book is entertaining with out being extraordinary. This particular book takes more time setting up the world and the characters as you would expect at the start of any trilogy. If you cant handle that “slowing down” the book then I recommend starting at book 2 of every series from now on. Canavan manages to show the struggle of the lower class with out being too heavy handed (she does make that mistake and preaches later in the series on a different subject but you don't have to worry about that in this book). I really enjoyed how bright and upbeat the dwells were in the face of such horrible conditions. It is not often that an author can convince the reader of how horrible a character's life is and yet not have the character be depressing to read. After reading all three books I grew rather fond of the dwells although most of the other names that Canavan created for this book did not sit so well with me. I enjoy a well built world but if all you change is the name of animal then all it does is confuse us. There are some interesting new words in the books when Canavan takes the time to give them new connotations but there are ten times as many new words that don't and anything to the book at all.
That is not to say it is a bad book just that it has a few rough edges. The characters are like able and overall it is a good page turner. Not every author gets lucky and writes Harry Potter. So, if you are fine with a flaw or two and you don't want to reread the only three books in the world that meet all your standards again until next week, then this is a good book to fill the gap.
I believe this is aimed at a youth market. It doesn't develop a story quickly enough for a reader like me, and I believe that is a handicap for the youth market. Too much of the book is taken up with explaining a world of fantasy, and the main character spends most of the book running and hiding long after the reader wants resolution, even if it means she is caught. The narrator, Richard Aspel, is effective.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
What a story! Yet it becomes as slow as Bram Stoker's Dracula at places. Irrespective of this flaw, Canavan is able to engulf the listener in her fantasy world.
I would suggest the abridged audio book read by Samantha Bond over and against this reading by Richard Aspel. I found his accent at some places difficult, also his pronunciation of the names of the characters sounded improbable. Bond's interpretation gives so much more life to the story.
The story itself is good, although it seems like I've heard it before somewhere. The story could have gone in other directions to make it more exciting. I'm glad that I bought it on a $4.95 special. Maybe when the next special is run, I'll get the next 2 books and finish the series. Listen to it if you can get it on sale.
I am less than 1/2 through this book and am having a very hard time listening to it. The narrator is very hard to listen to. The story I HOPE will get better. I will listen because I paid for it.....but struggling!!
This book was a disappointment especially after reading Jim Butcher's series "The Furies of Calderon." I said it all in the title for a fantasy adventure this had very little adventure. At half the length it still could not compare to Furies - Read Butchers series if you want great fantasy, action and adventure
The story is definitely quite good, especially for this genre - sure, it's a little cliched (poor child from the slums accidentally discovers s/he has huge magical powers; pursuit ensues; epic battle between good and evil changes a society in which magicians can move things with their minds but no one has managed to invent, say, central heating yet) but it's fairly well-written and character development is good.
However, the reader - Richard Aspel - isn't all that great. Some reviewers have criticized his 'raspy' voice and accents, but those aren't the problem. It's that the best readers tend also to be good actors - think Ian Carmichael, Jonathan Cecil, Anton Lesser - and this guy just isn't. When you're reading, it's REALLY important to put the stresses on the right words/syllables (even a sentence like "That's great!" can be read in a whole lot of different ways, all of which change the meaning), and I think part of the problem other people were having with this was that Aspel wasn't putting the right inflection into the words. It doesn't ruin it or anything - it's just that it could be a lot better.
Is this going to be your favourite audiobook ever? Unlikely. But if you like the genre, you could do a lot worse than this one.
"Goog listen, but..."
Great plot lines, and sub-plots, convincing characters too.
Book two: when Sonia decides to join the guild.
Richard Aspel brings this book alive, however, he changes the character's voices throughout the trilogy.
A very exciting listen.
I recomend this book to anyone.
What a sheer delight this book is! First of a trilogy, The Magician's Guild is original and gripping. The author has a flowing and engaging style which is easy to listen to and the characters leap into life from the opening chapter. A real joy for fantasy lovers.
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