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Publisher's Summary

Sonea is caught up in a confrontation between the hated Guild magicians and the angry youth of the slums. To her dismay, she discovers that she possesses the same powers as the reviled magicians. To avoid capture, she must seek protection from the city's feared underworld, The Thieves. In return, she must use her powers for them, but her magic never seems to do quite what she intends it to.
©2004 Trudi Canavan; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    461
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    498
  • 3 Stars
    245
  • 2 Stars
    80
  • 1 Stars
    48

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    397
  • 4 Stars
    326
  • 3 Stars
    144
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    28

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    356
  • 4 Stars
    319
  • 3 Stars
    172
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    36
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  • Story
  • Cassandra
  • HAMILTON, MT, United States
  • 04-08-13

Could have been better...

The ideas behind the story are good, however the writing just fell short. There is essentially very little plot development that happens in the book. I feel like many authors could have fit this entire novel into 4 chapters and then continued onto a more robust story. There is so much, relatively tedious and repetitive dialogue that many things are left out as well. Character descriptions are limited. I found myself unable to picture many important characters clearly by the end of the novel. For how little happened in the plot of the story I would have expected much more fleshed out descriptions. Overall I enjoyed to story but found the pace frustrating. I am a relatively patient reader/listener I often ignore reviews that complain about pace because I don't mind an author taking their time in order to set the stage but I definitely found this book frustrating. I will probably still listen to the other books in the series because I am curious about the characters and hope that the pace might pick up some in the following books. But I wont be going into them expecting anything extraordinary.

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  • Susan
  • Sunland, CA, United States
  • 04-03-13

Enjoyable Story.

I was entertained by the story and did finally get emotionally caught up in Sonea's welfare. But it took a long time before the story really exposed any emotion from Sonea for me to connect with. And many parts of the story seemed to go on forever, instead of moving to the event that the story was leading up to.
The narrator did an excellent job. I could easily differentiate between characters, and enjoyed the smooth, entertaining narration. I probably will eventually invest in the sequel.

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It's like reading anime, characters and all.

It put's me in an anime world. It's very dark. Distinct character groups. Good story line.

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  • Mirna
  • Woodburn, OR, United States
  • 03-22-13

Ok I guess, sorry

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not sure, started a little slow and the only reason that I finish this book is bc of the narrator.

Would you be willing to try another book from Trudi Canavan? Why or why not?

Probably not, maybe is for young people.

Do you think The Magician's Guild needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I guess, for the ppl that like the book. The book have some unfinished business and I believe those need closure.

Any additional comments?

Slow start, there was a few good parts in the middle, but the last 2 1/2 hours were really good. The end was disappointing. What Fergun did was bad, I was expecting a big reaction from the guild. but nothing came out of it???Easy to guess that is on the second book, but it felt unfinished.Sorry, I feel bad to give a not so good review:(

  • Overall
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An enjoyable trilogy. A decent performance.

This is an enjoyable trilogy. I got into it more than I thought I would. The author definitely allows you to build an emotional connection to the characters. It was a decent performance by the narrator. Not the best I've heard, but solid enough to not detract in any way from the story.

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Hadn't realized it was a kid's book

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I had no known the book would be a kids book or young adult, I would not have purchased it if I had known.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's voice did not have much range in the characters of the younger people especially and the accent was a bit grating at times.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The book was a bit disappointing.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too predictable

The story is way too predictable and the characters are mostly stereotypes. There's no depth behind their opinions or actions. Malicious bad guy is malicious because, well, he just is that kind of guy. Good guy is good because, well, I have no idea why.

These straight forward stereotypes make the plot very predictable. Something happens, how would the stereotypical malicious guy react to that? Well, that's exactly what he does and thus moves the plot forward a bit. How would stereotypical good guy react in that situation? Okay, he reacts exactly like that and moves the plot forward. Considering the cover says this is the first book in a trilogy you can easily guess the overall direction and goal. Repeat until you have arrived there.

This book might be okay for younger readers or otherwise inexperienced readers who haven't yet started to expect more from a plot and the characters.

I like the narrator but I think a female narrator would have been better since the main character is female.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Entertaining but lacking a certain whimsy

Is there anything you would change about this book?

At times the english accent was not controlled enough from character to character, and the larger or older men had an almost unbelievable Monty Python-esque gruff and bombast to them.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Magician's Guild?

Its not a memorable story for several reasons, and I'll not buy the next book in the series because I just wasnt made to care enough about the characters. An enjoyable, but not memorable read/listen. Like popcorn- fun munching but its not dinner.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Richard Aspel?

I am not a huge fan, as of yet, but I would give him another chance.

Was The Magician's Guild worth the listening time?

In retrospect I would have bought another title.

Any additional comments?

I think a younger audience would enjoy this book more than an older one.

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Bought all three books

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Bought all three books one at a time. I enjoyed parts of the story. However, I got tired of bumbling supporting characters. The same problem infects the main characters on occasion. For example in the last volume, Sonea, the lead character, is meeting with many people. She wears a mask so the bad guys won't know she is back in town. When she meets her aunt she whips off mask and has a gab fest with her. Not story crushing but tiresome. On the other hand what I call bumbling and tiresome others might call it realistic.

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  • RobMan
  • JEFFERSON, MA, United States
  • 05-05-12

One of the best in it's class.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you like magic and intrigue than this is a great book for you. This is the first review I have ever done and this book has inspired me to start.

What did you like best about this story?

The search for Sonea by the magicians and the protection of the thieves as her magical powers begin to show.

What does Richard Aspel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As with most narrators he provides an emotional connection to the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely! As with any great read it is hard to stop at any point.

Any additional comments?

I think you will find yourself looking forward to book 2 in the series before you finish the first.

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  • Bim
  • 10-17-17

Oh, it's a great shame

This author has a really cracking plot, well thought out story-line and at times inspired framing. The characters are all very likeable, at least those we *should* like.

One wish I often had while reading, was that our heroine wasn't such a wimp. It would have been nice to give her a few more successes before the end of the book. A little hope goes a long, long way.

The book has a brilliant plot though, along with some tricky storyline twists. So, it's very promising but a more mature writing style and more exacting editing would improve it enormously.

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  • IoBB
  • 08-07-17

Spoilt by Narrator.

I loved these books and when I saw there were audible versions I was pleased. But other reviewers are correct; the narrator just isn't suitable. His emphasis is wrong. For example, if a character is surprised in the book the narrator sounds cross or grumpy. The long pauses are very anoying. He sounds like he's reading a book to children who need long pauses. A real shame. Don't be put off by the narrator, the books are excellent.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-11-17

Good Story but Dull Narration

The story follows Sonea a girl from the slums who discovers, during a slum-dwellers versus the guild magicians clash, that she has magic. To her own and her friends apprehension she finds she has to learn control of the magic or there could be major consequences.
The tale follows her though quite a tough journey where she has to learn to trust people in order to survive.
The story in itself is very good but the narration is not brilliant. As the main character is a young girl, I personally feel the narrator should have been female. The strong male voice of the narrator does not convey the story as it should.
This is the first book in the trilogy and the series is well worth listening to if you can manage to ignore or accept the narrator.

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  • Jay
  • 04-22-17

slow but good

first of all everyone said the guy reading was bad. no he is fine I'll sat not the best but he did it well.
the story takes for ages for something to really happen and get going however I'm going to get the next one so all in all i did like it

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  • Fiberfan
  • 04-04-17

Nothing really happening.....

A lot of listening time for quite not much happening. I kept listening and hoped for more but nothing changed.

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  • Abbie
  • 08-02-16

A good story

I've previously tried to read this book - but just couldn't get into it, however, listening to the book was so much better. It's a good story, but a little weak in places - the dialogue is a bit awkward sometimes but the story and character are really likeable and I will be listening to the next books in the series. However, I don't think the narrator was suited to the book - can't exactly put my finger on it but at times it was hard to tell who was talking and his accent distracted occasionally - maybe it will get better in the next books.

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  • suzie
  • 06-18-16

An enjoyable read

The story took a while to get into. Some of it was hard to follow. Some parts of the story seemed to lead to a dead end. Why was he asked to buy jewellery and what was he doing in a brothel.

I'm sorry I did not care for the narrator. He used an odd mix of Australian & cockney. His accent changed often. There were parts where a magician could have used magic to get out of trouble but did not.

I did get into it eventually and wanted to know what would happen next. I would probably recommend it to an older teen or 20 year old.

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  • M. WILLIAMS
  • 05-27-16

More than OK, and a little different

Though the scenario is familiar enough the story runs slightly differently for stories of this sort and I'll probably get the next in the series. I've marked performance down to a one because the narrator uses an inflexion that is a better fit for history or documentary rather than fiction. It just doesn't fit, and takes considerable getting used to.

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  • P. J. Bell
  • 05-13-16

A decent read

I like the idea and the story is fairly good. The idea of how society would be different if magic existed, looking at power structures, class and prejudice is great. Honestly if the story, dialog and characters were just a little stronger it could be great.

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  • Paul
  • 09-29-15

Is this for children?

It doesn't say so but this is possibly a children's book.
The narration even on 3X on my iPhone is slow.
I'm trying to finish it as it's not a bad story but I'm not sure I'll manage as still 3 hours to go at 3X another hour. If you like children's stories or just stories where even the baddies are nice then you might like this but you'll probably need to speed it up a bit.