Magician by Raymond E. Feist
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 15 January 2013


Author: Raymond E. Feist

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

Magician is an epic fantasy tale beginning with the adolescent boys of Crydee taking up their apprenticeships; notably, Pug, unexpectedly as a magician. Beginning with a basic, formulaic Fantasy introduction, with the boys getting up to no good. Things soon get serious when a mysterious ship is found in the nearby seas. Of unknown origin, it soon becomes apparent that the vessel is not of their world.

A rift to another world has been opened and the Tsurani of Kelewan soon bring their armies through beginning a war of expansion (and precious metal) not found on their world. Needless to say, the young boys will have a great part to play in the outcome of the war as both sides must manage the internal politics of their respective worlds as well as their new found foes.

This book is a fairly unique take on the fantasy genre as it incorporates a science fiction element and also in the Tsurani, Feist has created a race based on Eastern (mainly Japanese) influence which is a relatively fresh element to the genre so often filled with European historical influence. Their is of course the standard races of Men, Elves, Orks and Dwarves who inhabit the Earth-like world of Midkemia.

While reading, I found their were some character story arcs which interested me greatly but others less so and this made for sometimes frustrating reading as chapters and chapters would go by were I was only thinking of what was going to happen to another set of characters. This epic scale is a common device in fantasy however it really only works well when you buy into all the characters. I found that if perhaps Feist had focused purely on Pug and Thomas and their complicated plot lines and development, which is in essence the core of the stories, I may have been more hooked. 

With themes of honour, transition, growth and diversity, Magician is rightly labelled a classic and I'd say it's well worth a read for of it's unique and interesting mix of science fiction and fantasy. However I don't think it's grabbed me enough to read the rest of the Riftwar Saga (three books) or the greater Riftwar Cycle.