Magician (The Riftwar Saga #1) by Raymond E. Feist


Rating: – – – – –
Date read: April 27 to May 3, 2020
Location: in between board meetings and the governor’s daily statewide address

I. . . can’t take the words in this book anymore.

Well, it’s not entirely the book’s fault. Everything makes me want to take a shot of hard liquor at the moment, and this book didn’t do a good job of taking my mind off that.

I guess I’m just not cut out for retro high fantasy. Didn’t grow up reading SFF or playing RPG and didn’t start reading Tolkien until the movies came out. So I have zero memories connected to these genre classics and absolutely no appreciation for chosen farm boys with extravagant destinies to fulfill and/or empires to save.

However, in a way, I did finish this book, by which I mean I skimmed about 80% of it, read the middle until it lost me, and then read the ending to see if I should go onto Part II. I should not as it is clearly not for me.

In all that skimming though, I did come across something interesting around the half-way point. There’s a rift in the time-space continuum–RIFTwar, I see, I see–and a hoard of something from an alien world comes through the portal and invades the world of Midkemia (e.g. Dark Ages Western Europe). This was interesting for about a dozen pages as most wars in secondary worlds are, but I couldn’t get into it because the prose started to drag again. So rather than going back a few chapters to catch what I’d missed leading up to the rift and the war, I skimmed right on to the end.

I think the bones of this story are good and the story itself could have been a lot more interesting if the pacing had been faster and the prose–better? tighter? shaved down to the bare minimum?–had more focus on the scene at hand. I get that you have to show characterization and a character’s inner life, but there are just so many characters to work through, and high fantasy in general has a tradition of dragging these things out, even for minor characters. I’m not sure there is a way around this; I’m just I’m not a fan of explain-y prose styles and uninspired narration.

5 thoughts on “Magician (The Riftwar Saga #1) by Raymond E. Feist

  1. thebookgator May 4, 2020 / 11:40 am

    lol @ “Everything makes me want to take a shot of hard liquor at the moment, and this book didn’t do a good job of taking my mind off that.” That’s the news in a nutshell for me, which is why, reading. Lots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • M. May 4, 2020 / 10:57 pm

      You’re right to stick to popcorn reads–wise choice. 😀 I should do that too, but I can’t seem to settle on anything that isn’t a reread right now. There’s this strange need (maybe not so strange after all) to read stories I already know the ending to.


  2. gehmeyr May 7, 2020 / 12:43 am

    It feels sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread (to cite one other Fantasy classic).
    It is always difficult to review a book which is beloved by so many and tell them that it ain’t so good and dare to not give it five stars but, well, one or two.
    In this case, the book would be a YA and fitting for a beginner in fantasy and literature in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Casual, But Smart October 3, 2020 / 6:27 pm

    Compared to some of the other high fantasy epics, Magician felt way more accessible. If this wasn’t your cup of tea, definitely avoid some of the heavier tomes form The Wheel of Time and The Malazan Empire.


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