The High Lord by Trudi Canavan (The Black Magician Trilogy: Book 3)

Book three of The Black Magician Trilogy: The High Lord, is an excellent read, arguably the best of the trilogy.

This highly rewarding book draws all of the storylines together, smoothly. This is some achievement, considering that there are so many sub-storylines, and that the intensity and lively pace remain.

You are reminded of just how many characters and sub-storylines you have enjoyed throughout the trilogy. The number of characters I have been intrigued with, and liked, in this trilogy has been astonishing, the most of any book or series I have read.

I felt particularly engaged with the first third of the book, which progressed very nicely from book two. Many of the progressions in the storylines were engrossing and unpredictable, creating fantastic tension and much anticipation of what was coming next. It also helped that the setting remained familiar and vividly described.

I engaged less well with the middle section of the book, because the setting was not as vividly described, and as a result lost just a little of the intensity. The last third of the book, however, was gripping and very rewarding.

In the reviews of book one and two I mentioned that the storylines mingle mid-chapter, which initially, I felt may disturb the flow of the stories. Having had time to reflect on this, and been able to read a number of other books by different authors since, I have realised that it captivated me, leaving me intrigued to learn of the next step in each sub-storyline. Sometimes a particular theme may be less engrossing, but your are not lost for long, as you are quickly drawn back, mid-chapter, by the next instalment of another sub-storyline. In other books it is quite feasible to drift away from a chapter that engages you less. In long chapters, this can amount to a substantial period of disengagement. This perhaps, in part, explains the popularity of The Black Magician Trilogy, since the layers of the chapters and storylines can provide something for everyone.

An indication of just how much I enjoyed this trilogy is that I have just ordered all the other books that Trudi Canavan has written. The combination of light reading, intrigue, simple mystery, and vivid descriptions (which create such wonderful familiarity with the characters and settings), are a real draw. Thank you Trudi Canavan.
Mark Perfect, 8.7/10

‘The High Lord’ is the last book in ‘The Black Magician’ trilogy. It is advisable to have read the second novel in the series because otherwise the story could be hard to follow.

This book sees Sonia under the guardianship of the High Lord, Akkarin. There is a great danger to the Magicians Guild that will test them all to their limit. The story has many unexpected twists and turns. Friends become enemies and vice versa. This adds interest for the reader because it is hard to predict what happens next.

There are many magical battles and political manoeuvring in this novel. All of them are beautifully described. It is, however, the characters that the reader cares about that keeps the interest. The magicians have to re-evaluate their code, and how each one does this is fascinating. The main character, Sonea, again is believable and the reader really wants her and her friends to survive the battles. Not all do, so make sure that the hankies are ready, because some of your favourites may suffer greatly.

The fun begins when the normal people start joining in the fight; they have no magical abilities, and just use their brains. This is very similar to the first novel, with the Thieves Guild helping to save the day. Their plans of battle have a sense of the slapstick about them so that they become a light point among the seriousness of the situation.

Throughout all the battles, there is hope. Surprisingly this gives the trilogy an upbeat ending, and the reader has the feeling that everything will be alright for the characters that are left. A satisfying read and a good end to an engaging trilogy.
Angela, 8.4/10

In reading an increasing amount of fantasy books over the past few years, I have found myself continually looking for “that” book that makes me feel something. The first time it happened was with Lord of the Rings, followed a year or so later by Robin Hobb’s trilogy of trilogies. Looking for books in which “that” has happened beyond those two series is a challenge. Not saying it hasn’t happened, but they don’t jump out at me.

We’ll see what time will tell, but I might have just found the next one that is always with me.

Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician Trilogy lived up to all the hype my girlfriend lent it. From the first book I was spellbound, and only for the span of about 20 pages in this last book did I ever find that spell waning. Suffice it to say, Trudi Canavan can write.

In a way that hasn’t really happened since Lord of the Rings, Canavan managed to build for the reader an increasingly potent outcome. Each time you think the climax has arrived, she would hold it off, bringing the book to a new peak and increasing the stakes at the same time. Rarely does an author manage this, and even rare when they manage it effectively.

Throughout the series one status quo is perpetuated, until a third of the way into the third and final book everything is thrown on its head. Maybe it was my own inability to let myself be completely taken along for the ride, but it seemed that Canavan could have spent a little more time on that change, to make it seem a bit more believable. But soon after I was hooked back into the book and rattling along at a great speed, as climax is built upon climax until at last Canavan brings to fruition what her entire series was leading up too.

Throughout the last third of the book Canavan spares no expense, or character, in ensuring that the reader is both spellbound and emotionally entwined in the book. Gut wrenching blow after gut wrenching blow is dealt as the series finds itself concluding cataclysmically for some, and gracefully for others. It is one of the few books of the recent few years that have actually physically affected me, leaving an empty feeling in my mind as I see who has been offered up to the writing gods for the sake of realism in storytelling.

The stories heroine is left bereft and unfinished as the story ends, which made for a wonderful change. It is not a result of poor storytelling, but rather the exact opposite. Canavan has made me care so deeply for Sonea that not seeing her placed back into the perfectly sculpted world that I deem she deserves after all she has gone through.

Without a doubt, Trudi Canavan, with her Black Magician’s Trilogy and its prequel, The Magician’s Apprentice, has managed to craft a book that is both easy to read and magnificently crafted. I would recommend this to anyone who likes reading, of any age.
Joshua S Hill, 8.5/10

9/10 An excellent read, arguably the best of the trilogy.

Reviews by and Joshua S Hill and Angela

4 positive reader review(s) for The High Lord

The High Lord reader reviews

from South Africa

High Lord is an amazing book. It could've ended differently, it kind of ends on a question mark but it's really good.
8/10 ()

from England

Just finished reading everything Robin Hobb had to offer, then George RR Martin. Started the Canavan novels because they were often recommended to readers of the above two authors. Was quite disappointed in "The Magician's Guild". The writing style was very simplistic, almost childish. The story was well.. .a bit boring. Despite this, I managed to finish it and read the second one "The Novice". Again, simplistically written, but less boring. Started on the third one and WOW what a surprise! Canavan did something neither Hobb nor Martin managed and produced characters that get into one's subconscious in quite an erotic manner. This was all done subtly so it never became offputtingly blatant, nor sickly sweet. The nearest comparison I'd make is the romantic interludes in the text based computer role play game, Baldur's Gate "Shadows of Ahm". Like those characters, I was surprised to find those of Canavan have spawned a plethora of fan art. In summary, recommended to women of all ages who like tall dark strangers
9/10 ()

from Davao

The High Lord: A Review The High Lord is truly a stunning conclusion to Trudi Canavan's The Black Magician trilogy. The Ichani, powerful Sachakan magicians, have finally learned the Guild's weakness: they no longer practice “higher magic,” which they call black magic. They unite to exploit such weakness, to conquer Kyralia. Sonea learnes it the hard way, and now realizes that the High Lord Akkarin, the black magician, is Kyralia's only hope. Knowing that it is against the law to practice black magic, but understanding that it is the only way to defeat the Ichani, she begs Akkarin to teach her the forbidden magic... But, will it be enough? The evolution of Akkarin's character is well done. The hints that Canavan provided in the second book are finally made clear in this novel. Akkarin has become one of my favorites because of how complex he's turned out to be. Sonea has never run out of surprises. How she decides what's right or wrong, how she cares for her family and friends, and how she wields her power all make her a quite endearing protagonist. I don't like it when the fantasy series I read transforms from a gripping plot-driven story to a sloppy romance. Thankfully, this series does not suffer from that. Canavan handles the love angle quite well. It is slow and believable, and it does not take up a lot of screen time. It's one of the many surprises I'm happy about. With all the magicians involved, and with how much power they possess and the screen time they take, it looks quite impossible to put in the common folks in the thick of the battle. But Canavan deftly manages to introduce the Thieves and their minions. Though I still find it difficult to believe that certain achievement by a gang of thieves against the invading Ichani. I will not spoil you what that is, but when you read it, just think that the powerful sometimes become carelessly overconfident. I did miss Ceryni in book two, and I am glad he's given enough exposure here, with a complicated love interest. The development of Dannyl and Tayend's relationship at times appears uninteresting. However, I like how Canavan resolves their quandary. Kyralia has been a conservative nation for centuries, and it would look impossible to believe that they would change their view on homosexuality in a blink of an eye. If Dannyl's friends are any indication, at least the Guild are taking small but sure steps towards embracing it... There are deaths here that though may seem necessary, I do not particularly like. Well, it's hard to accept the death of a character you've grown to like, isn't it? The numerous battle scenes are depicted in varying degrees of importance and make me not to put the book down no matter what. I just wish that Canavan has provided more variation in attack and protective spells. The word strike is used somewhat overly. I only get to see the background of the villains through Akkarin's point of view, his memories, which are very limited. The Ichani would have been more interesting had Canavan given us some glimpses on how exactly they live in Sachaka, and how the non-outcast Sachakans, specially the king, think of them. The story flows so well that I did not mind a few grammatical errors. The introduction of new characters, the manner in which the tension is built and sustained, the layers upon layers of mystery, and the excellent development of the old characters make this final book in the series so engrossing and a must-have for all fantasy readers.
9/10 ()

from Sweden

Second time you read the The Black Magician Trilogy you will notice how well all pieces fit together...
10/10 ()

from Scotland

This book is amazing!!!!!!!!!!
10/10 ()

9.1/10 from 6 reviews

All Trudi Canavan Reviews