Friday Favourites – Magical Apprenticeships

Magical Apprenticeships

This edition of Friday Favourites will focus on my favourite fantasy apprenticeships. I find apprenticeships very interesting because they create a very unique relationship dynamic between characters. Add some magic into the mix and I’m hooked!

#1. The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg:

The paper magician

In this trilogy first, Ceony, the main character, starts an apprenticeship to become a paper magician. I love this novel (and this entire trilogy) because of the careful attention the author has given to creating a unique, intriguing and well-constructed system of magic. I loved learning about how folding the paper in a certain manner created magic. When apprenticeships are written well, it makes the reader feel as though they too have undertaken this apprenticeship, and I felt that wholeheartedly, as I devoured The Paper Magician. I actually loved this trilogy so much I read it in two days! 


#2. The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud:

The Amulet of Samarkand

Nathanial is studying to be a magician in this series starter, and what I found interesting about this novel is how much I disliked the main character, while still finding him relatable. Nathanial is highly ambitious, and he is apprenticed to a magician without much skill, drive or passion. So young Nathanial spends much of the novel teaching himself magic – which of course has amusing/ dire consequences. I enjoyed reading about Nathanial’s learning process because, as an autodidact, Nathanial’s learning process is largely circuitous. It was also interesting that Nathanial’s education was not just in magic, but involved study of literature, and mathematics, and art. I loved how the author viewed learning as intersectional and multi-faceted – even when it’s magical learning!


#3. Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder:

Poison study

We meet Yelena, the protagonist, imprisoned in the castle dungeon. The story begins as she is offered a position at the castle in order to secure her release from prison (and avoid execution!) The catch is that the position is as the King’s food taster – so every bite she eats has the potential to be her last. I found it intriguing reading about how the different poisons could be concealed in food, and how Yelena had to first select food to taste from different sections, how she had to hold it in different places in her mouth to detect any different flavours that would reveal poison. The subtleties of poison were used intriguingly in this story, and I also enjoyed the intriguing relationships built between Yelena and some of the other characters! Bonus – I also loved another trilogy by Maria V. Snyder, set in this same world, where the main character is a glass magician! 

Do you have a favourite magical apprenticeship? Let me know in the comments below!

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