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April 18, 2016 / ljbradburn-Smith

The High Lord

high lord

Finishing the last novel in the Black Magician Trilogy not only means that I know how Sonea’s story ends but also that I can now safely return three of my long-suffering book-friend, Mary’s, books. I think it must have been well over 4 years since these books saw their home-bookcase.

The High Lord follows on from the second book, The Novice, in which we saw Sonea fight and conquer the bully Reign and, as a result of the High Lord, Akkarin, finding out that she knew his secret, being forced to become his ‘favourite’. At the end of The Novice we left Sonea in the clutches of Akkarin with seemingly no way to escape without endangering those closest to her. In this third and final installment we start to learn in more depth about the character of the High Lord, as well as the history of the Magician’s Guild, as both a building and a historical society, and in particular the place that black magic has within its walls.

Canavan’s protagonist, Sonea, appears somewhat pacified in this novel compared to the first. This is, however, much like the character we saw develop in the second novel where, despite her eventual victory, she seemed, for the most part, to accept being the underdog without a fight. This was such a contrast to the angry and unpredictable character we saw in the first novel, who oozed excitement and unharnessed power, that I found Canavan’s development of Sonea’s character into a meek doormat quite unconvincing.

Although Sonea’s rebellion in fact takes on another, much darker form in The High Lord, as a character I found her to be less headstrong than it was promised she would be at the beginning of the trilogy, which I found a little disappointing.

However, What I did find interesting about this novel, in terms of character development, was getting to know the character of Akkarin and finally understanding his motivation for learning magic banned by the Magician’s Guild. Akkarin goes from a mysterious, threatening character to a misunderstood vigilante, willing to put his life on the line to protect his fellow magicians. As Akkarin starts to win Sonea around so he appears more human to the reader.

All in all I really enjoyed this trilogy and felt like the author was successful in creating intrigue and suspense in her novels. My enjoyment of the story was only slightly hampered by my annoyance at the protagonist and the magical world, complete with a rich history, that Canavan created, more than made up for it.

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  1. calmgrove / Jan 11 2017 12:36 pm

    I enjoyed this last in the trilogy as much as the others (and also the prequel) though that’s not saying much. The worldbuilding and the basic scenario was good, and also the action when it occurred, but I felt really frustrated — as you seem to have been too — by Sonea’s inability to not only cope with but to respond positively to all the bullying she was subjected to. How can someone have so much innate magical power and yet not also be able to grow in character?

    There were some good resolutions — a just balancing of actions and consequences — by the end, but it wasn’t enough for me to make this one of my favourite fantasy sequences. My frustrations are best summed up by the fact that I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to write a review of The High Lord, even though I’d done one for every other volume (https://calmgrove.wordpress.com/category/fantasy/kyralia/).

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