Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Magician's Apprentice by Trudy Canavan

This book is apparently a prequel to Canvasbacks successful Black Magician  trilogy. There is a lot to like about the book. War, wizards and magic make a compelling setting. Canavan also writes well and her characterisation is strong. However certain niggles got to me. Given that the while theme of the book is about t a small nation pulling together to fight ought an invasion from a large aggressive neighbor the strategic and tactical ineptitude of all involved is upsetting. Some of this can be attributed to the unpreparedness of the nations involved but I can't shake through the idea that Canavan reality hasn't thought through the idea of warfare.

For example the countries rely for offence and defence entirely on a simall group of wizards. The book does emphasise how powerful wizards are, effectively invulnerable to conventional weapons while capable of wreaking enormous damage. Invulnerable that is until that is until they run it of magic which typically happens a short while after the start of a major battle. A few cavalry men with lances could prove handy at running down these exhausted wizards or even some archers to apply pressure to their magical shields. Yet Canavan chooses to employ her glass cannon magicians without any escort of conventional troops at all. That is ridiculous. These magicians are supposed to be aristocracy. They should at least have personal guards for dealing with non magical threats.

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