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[Review] The Black Magician Trilogy - Elf M. Sternberg
[Review] The Black Magician Trilogy
It's hard not to like this book. Trudi Canavan admits that after playing with another series for many years she set out to write what I would consider XFP: eXtruded Fantasy Product. And she's done a Damn Fine Job of it too.

The story is strong in its predictable arc: plucky heroine is pulled up into a class and world she knows nothing about, confronts many challenges, learns about a great evil, discovers that it is working on her kingdom's behalf in the face of a greater evil, big confrontation... Nothing new there.

What Canavan brings to her story is a sense of character and humor that's somewhat rare in the fantasy-writing world. Those characters we would identify with most strongly make jokes on one another's behalf that befit them well, and the "make the reader smile" moments are well-paced. I ended up wanting to finish this otherwise predictable series precisely because Canavan's pacing and characterization are so strong and sure that I knew there were gratifying moments futher along in the book. I was never bored while reading The Black Magician Trilogy.

There are moments of clumsiness, though: the heroine's love interest never quite seems believable, but I suppose that can be forgiven. And, as seems popular these days, she has an overly romantic shounen-ai relationship, which makes me wonder why I can't get away with a shoujo-ai one in my own. (It's not that I don't want to write "gay" or "lesbian" there; it's just that there's something genre-specific about the anime versions that Canavan seems to have captured.) I will say this: she foreshadowed that character's self-realization in a very impressive manner, and I enjoyed watching her do so even as I was thinking, "Oh, just come out of that closet already!"

All in all, a solid read, and I have no complaints about the time I spent in Kyralia.

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