Saturday, April 26, 2008

Magician: Apprentice by Ramond E. Feist

Link for synopsis: Magician: Apprentice (Riftwar Saga)

So this book came highly recommended from a brother-in-law, so I decided to pick it up. In many ways it is a predictable fantasy read, complete with castles, princesses, political intrigue, elves, dwarfs, magicians, swordplay and aliens. Aliens? Ok, so it does have a few unique features, in fact the added twist of aliens in this classic fantasy brings the uniqueness that sets this book apart. I also really like the honesty when it comes to the time period. Nothing increases the "cheese factor" in a fantasy more than when it seems like the characters are a bunch of clean, intelligent middle class mid-west Americans who unfortunately are just stuck in this medieval world for the duration of the story. Instead Feist shows the pain of being in the dark ages; the lack of understanding the world around them, the danger involved in traveling, and the realities of starvation and warfare that made that time period so dark. We tend to romanticize what was a painful and ugly time period in a lot of ways. Certainly most books make it sound easier than it was.

So I have to add one criticism, but first I have to once again expose my opinion and therefore my bias. I read for pleasure and enjoyment. Therefore when I finish a book, even if it is part of series, I want to have some sense of closure. I also want the good guy to win. Neither of those things happened here. Yes, there was some closure, but only on one out of three plot lines. The main character doesn't even appear in the last third of the book! I know that there are other books in the series to follow, but that is just unacceptable to me. I have simply ignored the fact that the book is over, and I have the next sitting here next to me, so the story will continue. If I had been reading it back when they were originally publishing these books I would be very unhappy. Months of waiting with everything in limbo. That is no way to treat your readers.

Date Completed: 4/26/2008
Rating (1-5): 3.5