Whatever anyone tries to tell you, size does matter. And in the case of The Magician's Apprentice, I was very nearly put off by the bulky size, particularly relative to my ultra-light Kindle. What I failed to remember, though, is that other things matter more than size. If a book absorbs you into its world and has you hooked then you quickly forget how big it is, until you try to put it in a small bag of course!
The Magician's Apprentice is a prequel to Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy, which I read a few years ago and absolutely loved. For some reason I've been putting off reading this prequel for a while. This was a mistake in several ways. The first is practical. As with all prequels, many references are made to concepts that are accepted as norms by the 'later' stories. While I remembered the basics of how the Guild worked, for example, I felt like I was missing out a little by having to work to understand certain ideas.
However, the main reason it was a mistake is that this is a really good book, and really good books should not sit on your shelves for that long waiting to be read. I may have mentioned previously that I get on well with Trudi Canavan's writing style, and that definitely helps when trying to lose yourself in a world.
The setup of the world itself and the characters within it are beautifully described and easy to warm to. So much so that I commented to my husband early on that I didn't want there to be a plot. I have read books before that introduced wonderful characters that were then completely changed by unenjoyable (to me) plotlines that completely ruined things. In this case though, the plots worked. There was a balance that ensured character development and a realistic number of war casualties, without taking away what made you fall in love with the characters in the first place.
And yes, I definitely did fall in love with the characters which, as I have definitely mentioned before, will usually win me over. Wonderful characters, an eventful plot, and lots of good magic thrown in. Who could ask for anything more?