The Magician's Guild, Trudi CanavanJonna had told her that the daughters of rich families were carefully watched until they married the husband their fathers chose for them. Women made no important decisions within the Houses.

In the slums no-one arranged marriages. Though women tried to find a man who could support a family, they usually married for love. While Jonna believed this was better, Sonea was cynical. She had noticed that women often put up with a lot when in love, but, at some stage, love tended to wear off. Better to marry a man you liked and trusted.

Were female magicians cosseted away? Were they encouraged to leave the running of the Guild to the men? It would be frustrating to be magically powerful, but still completely under the control of others…

Sonea is a slum dweller in the city of Imardin, home of the powerful Magician’s Guild. One day, caught up in a protest against the oppression of the “dwells”, she discovers that she has unsuspected magical powers. The guild magicians find out too, and since the law forbids a magician from living outside their control, they must track her down – whether she will come willingly or not. Will she manage to escape the hated Guild? Can she learn to control her powers without their help? And what does the unpleasant Lord Fergun have in store for the slum girl who knocked him out cold?

I was totally into this book, and Sonea is the best kind of heroine – clever, strong, frank, honourable, quick on the uptake and decidedly self-reliant. The writing isn’t brilliant, but then this isn’t meant to be great literature: it’s an adventure story for teenagers. The only real complaint is that the ending is a bit of an anti-climax, leaving you feeling like you’ve read the first book of a trilogy (which, as it happens, you have) rather than a novel in its own right. I guess I’ll just have to go out and get the second book, right?

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