Review: The Novice by Trudi Caravan

July 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

The NoviceThe Novice by Trudi Caravan
Reviewed by Koh Jian Way (2A2)

In the second book of the Black Magician trilogy, the Magician’s Guild gathers once again to purge the city of undesirables. But a young girl penetrates their shield and secures a place in the Magician’s Guild.

“Even if a magician’s powers surface of their own accord, he will soon be dead if he does not gain the knowledge of how to control them.”

Novices from the Magician’s Guild are expected to come from rich families, but Sonea is the exception, born to the city’s slums. Her lowly origins are a deterrent to friendship, and a source of antagonism from Regin, who sees himself as her rival. The public battle between Sonea and Regin forms a high point in the novel, keeping the reader gripped with anticipation. Yet despite Sonea’s background, she is more powerful than her great ally,  Lord Dannyl, the newly promoted Guild Ambassador.

The Novice shares similarities with the Harry Potter series. Like Sonea, Harry Potter is an orphan who grew up with his non-magic relatives; he also comes from disadvantaged beginnings. Another similarity is the rivalry between Sonea and Regin, which parallels that between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.

I was surprised at the relationship that bloomed between Lord Dorrien and Sonea; the setting is not sufficiently detailed to describe the sudden relationship that developed between them. Some foreshadowing and subtle hints may have more appropriately laid the groundwork for the development of the characters’ feelings for each other, so that the relationship did not feel so sudden.

But all in all, this book is highly enjoyable. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy readers.

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Entry filed under: Fantasy, Reviews.

WBD Panel Discussion Report & Book Recommendations Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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