The Magician's Apprentice | Thoughts
I hovered near three for this prequel, but settled heavily on two stars for many reasons.
Did I like the characters? Yes, I did quite like them. The writing? Indeed. The plot? Well enough.
But so much of this story is filled with pointless clutter that by part four what had started out as simply speed reading some paragraphs turned into full page skimming (for shame!). The conversations were so drawn out I felt like I could highlight the sections where Canavan had lost her creativity and simply filled in boring blabber until the more interesting points came up again. Having read The Black Magician Trilogy years ago and five-star loved it, I am curious if the same long stretches of "auto-fill" conversations are present in those as well and I simply enjoyed the story enough to not take notice.
While I enjoyed this telling of how the world I loved in The Black Magician Trilogy came to be, much of the middle parts of the trek across country tracking the invaders could have been trimmed out. I don't feel it aided the story past the first hundred pages of the characters doing so, and probably contributed to my eventual page-skimming.
I was also slightly annoyed at how much Canavan spells out even the most minuscule and obvious facts - there's a group of four men speaking and the fourth chimes in for the first time; do we really need an em-dash note of another character telling himself it's the first time his fellow is speaking? Give the reader some credit. This aspect of the writing felt very handhold-ish, and along with extra insights to characters' most mundane thoughts made up much of the unnecessary "filler" words that could have been trimmed out for a tighter story.
I did enjoy the journey Tessia takes to discovering the ability of healing magic, and the intricate workings and descriptions of her use of the power. The characters were well-developed, and the relationships both sweet and believable. Love an affection grow from comradeship and devotion, rather than instant desire.
All in all, the aspects I liked in The Magician's Apprentice continue to war with how I feel that much of the content could have been trimmed, and thus results in my indecision between a two and three star rating. Perhaps a 2.5?
Still would recommend to fans of Trudi Canavan's world of magicians!