Book Review: Magician: Apprentice by Feist

Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Read in February 2011

I am kicking myself for not reading this novel when published, my only excuse being I was a teenager with no funds and no connections (remember the state of the Internet in 1982?). I lived twenty miles away from the nearest library back then. If my mom didn’t own the book, I didn’t get to read it.

This story overflows with likable characters: Pug, Tomas, Carline, Roland, Arutha, Kulgan, Meecham, just to name a few. The pacing skips, trots, canters, gallops, crashes, walks, jumps, and flies. The magic system teases you through Pug’s apprenticeship, yet we glimpse broader examples through Kulgan and the invaders. The classic fantasy races make an appearance via elves (both light and dark or good and bad as you prefer), dwarfs, goblins, trolls and dragons.

The world building interwove seamlessly with the narrative as we followed along with Pug and Tomas as they ventured along with the Duke’s expedition to seek aid to stave off an invasion of aliens from his royal kin over the mountains and east of his far western holding of Crydee. The aliens control rifts between their world, Kellewan, and Midkemia, where the Kingdom reigns through the Duke’s royal relatives. Through these rifts, the aliens establish a bridgehead and proceed to slowly encroach upon Midkemia, first to mine metals in the mountains east of Crydee, and then to expand westward to gain access to the sea.

The book ends abruptly, but understandably so, since the original publication was one large volume, not the two we see today published as Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. I look forward to reading the second half of this opening salvo in the Riftwar Saga next month.


Book Review: Imager’s Intrigue by Modesitt

Imager's Intrigue (Imager Portfolio, #3)Imager’s Intrigue by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Five years have passed since we last saw Rhenn. He’s married and has a daughter now. He’s continued to climb the ladder at Image Isle and now resides with his family and a servant in a house on that island.

We see more of the dark side of covert operations in Solidar and how Rhenn responds when thrust into leading and architecting strategies that lead to long term victories and continued prosperity for Solidar and it’s Imagers.

All the Imager novels to date have been related in the first person from Rhenn’s point of view, which limits my knowledge to what he shares with me. I often feel as if I’m missing much of the story, because what he takes for granted as common knowledge, I do not, and what he focuses on may or may not be relevant to what I desire to know. So, I get frustrated and bored and miss a seemingly unimportant piece that later completes the puzzle.

The ending, or the resolution designed and personally carried out by Rhenn, disturbed me. Perhaps I’m naive and want our world, or any world I immerse myself in, to be more forgiving, more understanding. I firmly believe the only things you can change are yourself; you can’t change others no matter how much you want them to change. Rhenn believed change needed to occur now, and only extreme measures, including the use of deadly force, could meet his needs, which he equated with the continued prosperity of Solidar and by extension, imagers. Again, absolute power tempts to corrupt absolutely, for we learn that Rhenn is now the most powerful Imager alive.

This may be the last novel in the Imager Porfolio devoted solely to Rhenn. I got the feeling at the end that the focus of any future books would steer away from Master Rhennythl.

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