The Rogue by Trudi Canavan
When an author allows themselves to spend time in a universe across time I’m rather happy. By this I mean when an author publishes books from the same universe, but not necessarily the same time; allowing themselves to tell a larger-form story over a period of decades or centuries.
I’ve found myself lucky in regards to reading Trudi Canavan’s ‘Kyralia series’ because I came across it when I read the prequel, ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ which was actually published after the original ‘Black Magician Trilogy’, which I promptly read afterwards. I’d managed to read chronologically, and this really helped me enjoy the series all the more.
Now I’m reading Canavan’s second trilogy in the Kyralia series, the ‘Traitor Spy trilogy’ which includes ‘The Ambassador’s Mission’ and ‘The Rogue’, which I’ve just finished. (‘The Traitor Queen’ comes out later this year.)
The story takes place some twenty or so years after the original Black Magician trilogy, and many hundreds of years after the prequel, but we’re only now beginning to see any real links formed between prequel main narrative, and it’s enthralling. Seeing a historian make links to a time and place which we already know about is a fantastic storytelling device, and it makes the research-trip portions of The Rogue more interesting than they may have been on their own.
Canavan’s storytelling ability is really the highlight of her writing. The world in which she has placed her characters is wonderfully rich, and allows the characters to flourish where they may not have without the compelling backdrop.
At times, Canavan drops into a lot of telling rather than showing which uproots the reader from losing themselves in the story, and does a disservice to the book as a whole. There is no need for the telling to happen – and it seems a result of laziness or a rush to meet a deadline, because it is periodical rather than consistent throughout the whole book.
The introduction of Dorien is the only other negative I can take from this book. He seems a placeholder; a last minute addition to stretch out another storyline. He arrives and departs and seems to play no part other than to force Sonea to think and step her foot into what appears on the surface to be an utterly un-Sonea-like decision.
Other than those two points, there is little I find distasteful in this book. I really liked the way in which the climax of this book took place a few chapters from the end of the book, which separated the resolution of this books focus away from the cliff-hanger that leads us screaming into the third and final book in the trilogy. And of course, having spent so much time now with the characters in this universe (and the universe itself), I am overjoyed whenever I am provided another chance to re-enter their lives.
The Traitor Spy trilogy is definitely worth a read, especially if you read and enjoyed The Magician’s Apprentice.
Joshua S Hill, 7.7/10
The Rogue is the second installment of the Traitor Spy trilogy, the third trilogy by Trudi Canavan, and it continues the trend of Ambassador’s Mission. Lorkin is now residing amongst the mysterious and elusive Traitors. Convincing them of his good intentions is very hard though, for they are a very distrustful and secretive people, as they have to be to survive. There’s a faction among the Traitors that despise him for a deal his father, Akkarin, did not see through and this results in a stalemate in their decision-making. Meanwhile, Dannyl is continuing his research on the history of magic. Having fallen out of grace he finds it more and more difficult to find people who are willing to co-operate with him and he decides to continue his search amongst the Duna tribes, in the volcanic deserts north of Sachaka. Back in Kyralia there’s still a magician on the loose. Sonya is having a hard time tracking him, because her contact and old friend, Cery, has to spend most of his resources on his own survival. When suddenly they have to hunt for a black magician too, time is becoming increasingly precious.
Either journey requires determination and subtlety, slowly corroding what little trust has been build between the Allied Lands and Sachaka. As political tension rises, new factions come into play and new alliances are forged. Will Lorkin, Dannyl and Sonya find what they are looking for, or will their search consume them?
People who are familiar with Trudi Canavan need not read further, because this novel will bring everything to the table that we know and love. It offers diverse and interesting characters, who you will come to know and love. Her writing style focuses on these select persons, their thoughts and doubts, their relations and expressions. Wasting no time on long descriptions, you’re immediately thrown in the story and world that you’re familiar with. Surely, as events unfold and the tension rises, pages will disappear in record time before your eyes!
Koen Peters, 8.8/10
Andrew from England
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