Trudi Canavan. Age of the Five. Book review
Priestess of the White – Last of the Wilds – Voice of the Gods. Ithaniais facing new challenges. Almost a hundred years ago the Gods created the White, a group of powerful wizards serving as liaison between mankind and the Gods. Hundred years it took to find the five chosen priests to attain that outstanding status and the last to become a member of that council, the young Auraya, is a great catch as she is very apt at finding allies for Ithania.
Her task is one of the most important to the White as rumours have started to spread, coming from the south, that the Pentadrians count powerful sorcerers among their ranks. They want to destroy the Circlians as the White and their followers are known. Auraya travels to the neighbouring peoples of the Siyee and Elai to win them over to tehir cause as the Pentadrians start brutal attacks on the north.
The fight for the true faith begins as the Pentadrians claim the Gods of the North to be just lies invented by the White to stay in power. The Circlians have to defend themselves and many innocent people come to harm: the Dreamweavers, for example, are very good healers not willing to believe in the Gods of the North and are therefore outlawed.When Auraya starts to fall in love with her former teacher Leiard, a Dreamweaver of importance, they both suffer from being torn between two worlds. Auraya would very much like to have the Dreamweaver share their knowledge and Leiard would like to have the Dreamweavers respected in the North. However, the Gods have their very own ideas and this leads to a sea of troubles when Auraya and Leiard become lovers.
The southern sorcerers move a huge army into the battle. Throughout these conflicts Auraya learns more about the past. When the war of the Gods ended and only five of them survived there were extraordinary individuals, the Wild, who were just as immortal as the Gods themselves and who had unique abilities beside their magical powers. Rumours have it they were all destroyed. But Leiard turns out to be Mirar, the immortal healer and Dreamweaver, who was supposed to have been killed by the most powerful of Circlians. However, he survived and hid his spirit in Leiard to escape the Gods. When he is discovered they start hunting him again and the White are told to take war down south to the Pentadrians. Auraya, Mirar and the other Wild soon discover a horrible truth.
Trudi Canavan is being hailed as fantasy literature’s new hope. Her first trilogy, The Black Magician, was the most successful debut ever in her native country, Australia. Age of the Five does not quite live up to the expectations. Portraying the action from a multi-perspective level and fascinating characters guarantee a good story pace but the result still begs the question whether all three books should have had more than 800 pages. If you like Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien or George R.R. Martin with their elaborate writing style then you should give Canavan a try.
This article was originally published in Nautilus, Germany’s leading genre magazine on fantasy and sci-fi: book, film and series reviews as well as great features and interviews. Homepage available in German only.
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