War had come to the Kingdom of the Isles, and in the years that followed it would scatter my friends across the world. I longed to train as a warrior and fight alongside our duke like my foster-brother, but when the time came, I was not offered that choice. My fate would be shaped by other forces.
My name is Pug. I was once an orphaned kitchen boy, with no family and no prospects, but I am destined to become a master magician…
Title: Magician (Book 1 of the Riftwar Saga)
Author: Raymond E. Feist
Publisher: Harper Voyager
I started reading Magician whilst on holiday in Tanzania – why? My friend was also reading it and I couldn’t bear to listen to any more ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ of shock and understanding. As soon as I finished my book I started on it, determined to catch up to her as soon as possible…
…OK. As it turns out, said friend also happens to be an extremely quick reader so there was no chance in hell that I could catch up, but she did enjoy my ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when they finally came about.
This wasn’t actually my first Feist book; I’d proofread the eBook of Shards of A Broken Crown for work a while back and have put the rest of Feist’s backlist on my TBR list since. This was a blessing and a curse – I really enjoyed learning about Pug’s beginnings and found it much easier to get to grips with all the characters; but I also met a few characters in Magician that I know will, ultimately, die.
I generally find that, with Fantasy novels, there are always a few clichéd characters and situations e.g. the naïve, and uniquely gifted young person; and the mysterious and powerful teacher; who somehow manage to stumble across each others paths and, together, save the world in some way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this – in fact, most of my favourite books follow this structure; but what I loved about Magician was that, despite the clichés, it was original and gripping. Pug’s ascension into his power takes a completely different form to that of similar heroes throughout the Fantasy genre.
I did have one tiny issue with the novel, however. After reading Shards of a Broken Crown, I was expecting Magician to be pure fantasy with a few battle scenes thrown in. So you can imagine my shock when a whole new world and ‘aliens’ come in to play. I even think I may have exclaimed/shouted something along the lines of ‘You are NOT serious!’ at my Kindle. Admittedly, I got used to the idea of aliens and different worlds, but it did slow down my pace of reading.
Setting my weird issues aside, Magician is an epic, fast-paced fantasy novel. If you love Fantasy and haven’t read this, do it, right now. If you haven’t read any Fantasy before, this would be one of the books I’d recommend you start with (because, obviously, once you start, you’ll love the genre and read them all).