Publication Date: 2001
What's it all about? In a city of the rich, the merchant class, and the slum dwellers, is the Magician's Guild, where all who have the ability go to learn how to wield it safely. Except, the only people tested for the ability are the rich, and sometimes magic is not a latent ability, awaiting release by a magician.
Sonea was a slum dweller, and through hard work her family earned enough to live inside the city walls and join the tenuous ranks of the merchants. Their crowded lodging was deemed unsanitary, and all occupants were forcibly removed in the annual Purge, sending them back out to the overcrowded, often dangerous, slums. In a moment of fury, Sonea hurls a stone at the nearest magician, knowing it to be futile, as the magicians maintain a protective shield around themselves. So she is completely stunned when it finds its mark, and knocks the magician unconscious.
With a deep distrust for the magicians, Sonea has no wish to join them. The magicians, however, cannot allow a 'rogue' magician, and her abilities could kill her, and others, if she does not learn to control them.
I haven't read anything from this genre in quite a while, as it can get pretty formulaic, and depends entirely on character development and writing skill. While this series generally follows the formula (a nobody is foretold/found/discovered to have amazing ability in some area, and will somehow save the day/world/universe), it is written with wit and humour, and depth of character. I made time to read this series, enjoying the merry dance Sonea leads those magicians on, and I think my family were grateful when I finished it, and rejoined the real world.
Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.