Top positive review
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Sack the editor, hail the author.
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.