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4.1 out of 5 stars148
4.1 out of 5 stars
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The start of a new series following the author's success with the Black Magician trilogy. This is set in a world ruled by Gods who have five representatives 'The white' - powerful sorcerers who govern on their behalf. These sorcerers are the good guys (and girls!) and they use their powers and influence for the good of the world. The story is about a young girl elected to The White and how she develops her powers against a backdrop of invasion, evil-doing and 'forbidden love'...
It's not bad although similar in many parts to her previous work. It rattles along at a fair old pace until it ends somewhat abruptly. While the story possibly has more appeal to female readers it certainly kept me engaged and I am a middle aged male (but ageing well, honest!!)
This is solid enough stuff and the proof of the pudding is always whether or not you will buy the next in the series. And I will.
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on 14 January 2009
It's always hard writing a review for every book in a trilogy, and normally I'd simply write one for all three books on the final instalment. The Age of the Five however will be an exception in my aim to persuade you to read it. You wont regret it - trust me.

Don't worry though; I won't reveal any spoilers.

In the Priestess of the White, we start in a strange new world both as dissimilar as similar to her "Black Magician" world in many ways. It is all a little overwhelming for the first few chapters and you find yourself wondering where you are as she flits through characters. Later you appreciate her use of this writing tool when she uses it to subtly reveal the intricate details and deviances of her plot throughout all three books. Whilst some characters are used for just one instance, you begin to love those that are used constantly as they're built up gradually throughout their individual journeys, before all merging into one at the end of The Voice Of The Gods.

Trudi Canavan's world contains magic, gods, priests, sorcerers and politicians among others, and they're all intricately woven into a complicatedly wonderful storyline that has just the right amount of mystery. World order is seemingly simple at first, but as we begin to get drawn into the numerous goings on around the main character Auraya, we realise that the world order is not as simple and righteous as it appears. The details of the world, story, characters, history and religions are all gained gradually through the eyes of the characters rather than long winded exposition and descriptive narrative, which adds mystery and the desire to find out more.

As the trilogy progresses, the story lines interweave and become more and more complicated, but what's great is that it never gets tiresome or tedious. There is always something new going on and it always relates to or becomes significant at some point in the future. For this I applaud Trudi Canavan. The light bulb that goes off whenever one puts two and two together when reading a story, or when some seemingly insignificant point becomes significant is always a delight and I haven't seen a series of novels so well planned and consistent since the Harry Potter books.

If you like fantasy you can't go wrong here. If you like something more than a farm boy with hidden powers, you wont be disappointed. If you like a bit of grit and passion in unexpected places with more mature themes, again you can't go wrong and it all makes for a wonderful and entertaining journey that is as colourful and elaborate as it engaging.

Though I did thoroughly enjoy these books, they weren't absolutely perfect. Though their strengths more than make up for these imperfections I feel that I must highlight them for the sake of being fully informative.

First weakness: Auraya is very much like Sonea. This becomes apparent even from the prologue. The only difference is that Auraya is older and in a position of power and acceptance. If Sonea were in the same position, she would be the same as Auraya in my opinion. However I loved Sonea, so I didn't mind. Others might.

Second weakness: Not so much a whiz-bang finale in The Voice of The Gods. All the preparation for the ending was done in the previous chapters and though Canavan tried to give it a bit of tension by flitting to different characters in short bursts, it wasn't quite as exciting as The Black Magician's ending.
The ending was clever and satisfying (as everything fell into place and a certain someone got their comeuppance), but it was subtle. If you want raging battles and thirst for the deaths of half the main characters, you may be left feeling like you missed out.
Do not be deterred by this, there is plenty of tension and excitement throughout the books and the Priestess of the White has a very magical ending.
...Actually, I should correct myself; it IS a satisfying conclusion BEFORE Trudi leaves us with an intriguing epilogue- sequel anyone?

Third Weakness: The editing.
You'd think if you were going to put a book on the shelves, you'd do it properly. For the other two weaknesses, they are more than made up for in other areas, but there is no excuse for bad editing. When Trudi Canavan switched character, in every instance she used a line break before the next paragraph. I was appalled when I found one missing and the characters just switched without warning. If you're going to use a tool, use it right. If missing it out wasn't the author's doing, she should hire better editors/ whoever was responsible. Not only this, but I found accents over letter E's and A's, exclamation points and apostrophes where they shouldn't have been, even words miss spelt or with a letter missing. I ended up correcting things myself and put in the line break with a pencil and ruler.
Sack the editor Trudi.

But I implore you - please don't let this put you off!
It was a joy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself theorising story possibilities out loud, I cheered when I felt happy and cried when something bad happened. This was down to Trudi Canavan's excellent story telling skills and her ability to draw you into the emotive storyline in a world rich in detail, settings, races, religion and politics. It was just... great.
The covers were pretty nice to :)
Please read it, you wont be disappointed.
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on 1 May 2006
Yes this book isn't as good as Trudi's BMT, but its only the first of three.(The Magicians Guild wasn't the best of the three in the Black Magicians Trilogy either). Trudi has undoubtedly grown more confident in her writing, and more adventurous. Although there are similarities to her other work, this book is on a much larger scale. The imaginative race of the Siyee and the story of Tryss is yet another great sub-plot. Aurayas life having changed after becoming a white (and immortal)causes emotional problems of her heart and what is right in the eyes of the Gods. The wonderful sub-plot of Emeryl, which later joins up with the main story is also intruging.It is slow to start but once you get into it, it's really hard to put down, leaving you wanting more once its over. My only reservation is how many characters are introduced in it, could potentially be confusing. However, this book is a great new addition to any fantasy book lovers library.
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on 8 March 2006
This is an interesting novel that tries to tackle the idea of religion but it is too like her previous trilogy. Auraya is too like Sonea from The Black Magician trilogy and Ithania is too like Kyralia due to the old fashioned customs and how magic works. This book is enjoyable but isn't in the same league as The High Lord which is, in my humble opinion, Canavan's best work.
My advice: read The Black Magician trilogy and then read this for your Canavan fix.
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on 21 July 2007
This is the first book in a new trilogy. For some reason I had mistakenly thought that this was a continuation of the "Magician's Guild" series, which I read last year and which I rather liked.
However, in this, the first of the "Age of the Five" series, Trudi Canavan presents a completely new world and new characters. Auraya, the main character feels perhaps a little lightweight compared to other heros and heroines of fantasy, but the book is nicely written and quite enjoyable.
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This is the first book in Canavan's AGE OF THE FIVE series. As any first book should, it sets up the backdrop for the series to develop.

The main story follows Auyraya, a young priestess, who is then chose by the Gods to become one of the White - the people who represent the Gods on earth. Each of the five chosen have special gifts; for example they are able to read people's minds. However, it is not long after Auraya becomes one of the White, that there are rumours of dark sorceror's and beasts advancing over the lands. With little time or experience in her new role, Auraya has to quickly face the prospect of war.

This is a very basic plot. As with many fantasy novels, there are many different 'tribes' or races within the book which results in there being different perspectives. These different people's also provide a way of allowing Canavan to explore conflicting issues - whilst the threat of war increases, Auraya has her own battle to face when she falls in love with a Dreamweaver, someone who is seen as a heathen by the White.

I think it is always quite hard to rate the first in a series. This is usually where characters are introduced and developed, and the backdrop to the larger story is set. As the introduction to this world, PRIESTESS OF THE WHITE is a good book. However, I found that there were times when I wanted to skip pages. Although the book starts very well, for me the pace of the storytelling quickly slipped - and there were a few sections that I didn't think added anything to the main story.

Having said that, what I did like about the book was the exploration of Auraya'a relationship with Leiard the Dreamweaver. His character was one of the ones which I thought was very well written - there is a mysterious quality about him, as he finds himself mentally linking with a Dreamweaver who was killed by one of the White. From the end of this book, it seems that this character will be explored in greater depth in the successor, LAST OF THE WILDS. I am hoping that this installment will live upto my expectations.
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on 15 February 2007
The 'Priestess Of The White' is the first book by Trudi Canavan that I have approached- and I confess myself impressed. The characters are beautifully described and are always developing; and the author describes the lavish settings within her world with realism. The story I read on the book's jacket took a while to actually begin, and I found the battle between the Circlans and Pentadrians slightly undermined after a build-up spanning almost the entire book! The sudden changes in setting are also confusing before you get to know the characters. Despite this, however, merits in this book definitely override faults.

Summarising, this book is well worth a look. A little concentration at the beginning certainly pays off, because what you are left with is a book that is nearly unputdownable. Congratulations, Trudi, and I hope to shortly be reading the sequel.
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on 9 February 2006
I enjoyed the satart of the new trilogy by Trudi Canavan and she created her new world with the thoroughness I would expect from her previous writing. But, a couple of niggles. The love story is pretty much the same one as in the Magicians Guild series - new but very powerful girl from the wrong side of the tracks falls for her teacher/mentor/older man/most inappropriate person she can find. Secondly, alhtough it is a trilogy the book should stand alone as a complete novel - this leaves such a huge cliff hanger that it screams out for Volume 2. Also, I don't find Auraya as appealing as Sonea, maybe a bit too smug? Ultimately, although I enjoyed it, it is nowhere as strong as her earlier novels and had I not read them first, I wouldn't rush to read more. I will stick with them however, and hope that Volume 2 is up to TC's usual standard.
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on 19 April 2006
Not the best book I've ever read but good enough to keep me interested in buying the second installment which should be good...its a slow starter but like most triologies the second book is better.
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on 5 December 2005
Worked in Oz a few years back and read the Black Magician Trilogy there. Out a few months before here as I believe Trudi Canavan is an Ozzy. Went back recently for a holiday and was pleased to see this, her new book out in paper back. Consequently have read it before it comes out here in Feb 2006.
Really enjoyed the book. Centres around a priestess, Auraya, who becomes one of the gods five 'chosen'. Given the gift of immortality and various other magicsl gifts, this first book in the series deals with Auraya's transition into her new role and sets the scene in a land filled with interesting characters and scenes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am really looking forward to the next one in the series. If you enjoyed her first trilogy (read it if you haven't yet!) and like me are a fan of David Eddings (Belgariad & Mallorean, not the weaker Elder Gods stuff) and David Gemmel and other decent fantasy, youll enjoy this I hope.
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