After reading this trilogy myself and enjoying it recently bought the first book as a birthday present for my young niece. Like everyone else her age (and a lot of adults too) she is a big fan of the Harry Potter series and has read all of the books. Harry Potter has been great for encouraging children to read, and more importantly to enjoy reading, and now that the last book has been published I think it is important to keep nurturing that level of interest.
I knew that the Black Magician Trilogy, with the familiar structure of a child going to magic school and becoming the hero of many adventures would appeal to my fans of Harry Potter, so I bought my niece a copy of the first book, and she has thoroughly enjoyed it. And I must admit that there was another reason I though my niece would enjoy it. I remember a year or two ago at Christmas she got a ‘Safari Fashion’ doll as a present. In its Khaki clothes, with binoculars as an accessory, it looked a little bit like a female desert rat action figure.
When she came over to me to show me the doll she said that it was an army doll and seemed to be at pains to explain to me that it was a real army person and not just made up to look like one; this seemed important to her. She was only about 7 at the time but I suppose she was already noticing and getting annoyed at he fact that all the heroes in her favorite action story’s like Harry Potter or Doctor Who (a popular British TV series) were always boys.
I thought she would like it that in the Trudi Canavan stories it is a girl that gets to go to magic school and be at the center of all the adventures saving the day. I think she did appreciate this from the expression on her face when told her that it was like Harry Potter but about a girl (the second part got the greater reaction).
As to the story it is more of a fantasy novel setting than Harry Potter, with a fictional city state bordered by other, more or less friendly, cities with different cultures. It is about a girl from a poor background who displays a natural magical talent an becomes the first child from ‘the slums’ to gain access to the aristocratic institution of the magic school.
During the story as well as the ever present danger of the black magician there is also conflict between the girls connections to her poor friends and relatives and the necessities of her new school. There are also some fantasy story favorites like the guild of thieves who feature in the story. I felt that this trilogy has a stronger sense of a moral message than Harry Potter. The kind of language used is very similar to Harry Potter, although perhaps the story itself makes it a bit more challenging for young readers. All three books are already available in bookstores.
I thoroughly recommend this series for everyone, children’s and adults alike, but especially for young female fans of Harry Potter.