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This is my first truly fantasy novel. Okay, so I've read HP and listened to His Dark Materials, but this is what I would call my first fantasy read. Undertaken for my RL reading group, I have to admit that I was not looking forward to this. What an error of judgement that has turned out to be. At almost 700 pages this seemed a daunting task, but was in fact pure joy.

 

I think without giving too much away, it can be said that this is a book about two parallel universes and strife. But it is much more. It is also about Pug and Tomas and their growing up in these two universes in different ways. They both mature from teenagers to adults, they both struggle against their inner deamons, the result needs to be read to fully understand. The two worlds struggle also against each other and their own inner strife.

 

Every nuance of the above is written in depth (hence the 700 pages) but necessarily so. The descriptions of the worlds, characters, inner strife and relationships are excellent. The characters lift off the page and live within the readers imagination, not just during the read, but when the book is closed.

 

I have to admit that reading about the five year battle at Crydee did seem overlong at the time and I wondered whether it was absolutely necessary, but once the book was finished I could see how that was in proportion of everything else that is related within this novel.

 

This book is the first in a trilogy of The Riftwar Saga. I aim to read the other two just to see what happens to all those wonderful characters. Whether I will become immersed totally in reading fantasy novels I cannot say, but MOH has a roomful of such books, so I won't have to go far if I do.

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You have started with IMO one of the very best fantasy novels published in my lifetime, it's what I would call "high fantasy", having all the traditional fantasy elements - dwarves, elves, dragons, powerful magicians and so on yet much more as well as it expands to other worlds with different cultures.

 

I first read this over 20 years ago and it remains a firm favourite. The other two books in the series are very good as well.

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Without a shadow of a doubt the best fantasy author around. I fell into fantasy books after reading this and it remains a firm favourite. I have read all Feist's work and find each book gripping and enthralling. I recommend this to anyone who has not read a fantasy book. I guarantee they will be hooked.

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I thought I'd better check out what others have said about my current mammoth read, (I'm only on page 623 of 841pps)  and am glad to see that it's all praise. I have read a modest amount of fantasy, and was a little worried at first that this was too LofR-ish: the dwarves in the underground mines, the elves in the forest trees, the magician, the dragon, castles and ships - but then the Rift appears and everything moves into a different dimension.  The story explodes like the creation of a new universe, and it's impossible not to be in awe of Feist's vision.

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Have just finished "Magician" and am reeling from such an intertwining of worlds within worlds and wars at home and in the Universe. I did get a bit lost from time to time with the internal politicking, but realised that it was vitally important for cause and effect.

 

The way the characters develop - as they all have to do during the timespan of this novel (10 years or so) , is outstanding. What makes their development so special is that some are taking on new persona, and their back stories are unconventionally 'otherworldy'.  The dramas played out in voids and interstellar spaces are marvellously described.

 

Yes, Feist deserves to sit alongsideTolkien.

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Finally finished Magician at the weekend.

 

I have to say that after the fulsome praise here I was a little disappointed. The novel reminded me of all the reasons I have largely stopped reading fantasy. Whilst I find novels set with war as a backdrop can be good reads, novels that delight in (what seem to me, at least) lengthy descriptions of battle and discussions of war tactics I find tedious. Basically, this was too long for me and I was bored in parts.

 

Also, bearing in mind that this was originally published in 1982, a time when the USA was obsessed with the danger to its economy raised by the increasing dominance of Japanese goods in its market, the society of Kelewan (the "bad guys", invaders of the world of Midkemia), seemed a barely disguised bit of stereotyping, with its suicides to preserve honour and the like.

 

Yes, the sci-fi overtones (the idea of the Rift, for example) gave a slight variation to all the cliches of high fantasy, but after reading the likes of Mervyn Peake and Chine Mieville the worlds of the Riftwar just seemed so pedestrian and unimaginative.

 

Of course, to offset that the story of Pug's journey from kitchen boy to alien slave to powerful magician is an affecting one, and other characters, such as Macros the Black and pirate turned Duke's adviser Amos Trask are intriguing and one looks forward to them appearing in the story.

 

I will not be making it a priority to read more about the Riftwar. 

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    • By Qwi101
      Hiya all,
       
      I noticed Magician was on here but no one had even mentioned the crossover so i thought i would stick it up in case somehow people who enjoyed Magician had missed it.
       
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      If your a fan of Magician then i suspect you would enjoy these 3.
       
      Co written by Janny Wurts with Raymond E Feist
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