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The Riftwar Saga #1

Magician: Apprentice

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An alternate cover edition of this ISBN can be found here.

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. His courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, but he was ill at ease with normal wizardry. Yet his strange magic may save two worlds from dark beings who opened spacetime to renew the age-old battle between Order and Chaos.

485 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 1, 1982

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About the author

Raymond E. Feist

282 books7,986 followers
Raymond E. Feist was born Raymond E. Gonzales III, but took his adoptive step-father's surname when his mother remarried Felix E. Feist. He graduated with a B.A. in Communication Arts with Honors in 1977 from the University of California at San Diego. During that year Feist had some ideas for a novel about a boy who would be a magician. He wrote the novel two years later, and it was published in 1982 by Doubleday. Feist currently lives in San Diego with his children, where he collects fine wine, DVDs, and books on a variety of topics of personal interest: wine, biographies, history, and, especially, the history of American Professional Football.

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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,815 followers
August 9, 2020

Updating this review in June 2016. I was just discussing this series with a friend I recommended this to and we were both saying how shocked we are how few people have read it because it is so good. It can be hard to find Feist's books in stores or at the library - but it shouldn't be!

I am not saying that everyone will end up liking this, but I think there are a lot of people missing out. To give you a statistical analysis of how many people are missing out - I currently have 627 friends on Goodreads. 135 of them have read A Game of Thrones. Only 8 of them have read the first book in this series.

You might look at my book list and say, "Matthew, you hypocrite! You may be reading this series, but you have yet to read Game of Thrones! How can you compare the two?" This is true. Maybe Game of Thrones is superior. I look forward to reading it eventually and finding out, but my point is that I think Feist's series is great and I want to spread the news (also, it is 30 books long - with two to four book story arcs within it. The first arc is just 4 books. But, the series is complete. No waiting years for the next one!)

So, here is challenge to fantasy fans (friends on here or otherwise). As soon as 30 more people give this series a try because of this review, I will immediately begin reading Game of Thrones. I know that isn't much of an incentive for you, but I hope the joy you find in reading this series is enough. If this review leads you to read this, please let me know in the comments. Or, I will just keep an eye on how many of my friends have rated it and as soon as it gets to 38, Game of Thrones is a go!

(Update: I have now read the first two GoT books and watched the series)

Note: In this series, I am up to book 11 and it is still going great!

Warning to readers! Book 1 and 2 really are "book one" of a trilogy. Frequently they are combined into one volume (Magician) If you only read the first book, this is not a case where you get the complete first part of the story. You really need to read a least the first two before you will be able to tell if this story is for you or not!
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
May 27, 2021
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

3.5/5 stars

Magician: Apprentice is a familiar and enjoyable start to a beloved classic fantasy series.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Riftwar Saga and Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist; it is one of the series that I know has sparked a lot of reader’s passion for reading fantasy. And that’s always a good thing in my book. Honestly speaking, though, I don't have nostalgia goggles for this series, and the main reason why I wanted to read Riftwar Saga was so that I can dive into Riftwar: Empire trilogy without missing any necessary details. The reason for my reluctance in reading Riftwar Saga is that I don’t often gel well with fantasy books written pre 1990. I tend to find either the writing being outdated or the story being too clichéd already by now. Is this applicable to Magician: Apprentice? Yes and no.

“’Tis a wise thing to know what is wanted, and wiser still to know when ‘tis achieved.
‘True. And still wiser to know when it is unachievable, for then striving is folly.’”

Now, I realize that Magician: Apprentice is the first half of a single big book named The Magician. Although it’s true that Magician: Apprentice ended in an awkward scene, I totally understand why Magician was divided into two books. First of all, The Magician as a single book is as big as Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon combined. Second, and most importantly for me, The Magician as a single book felt too long for its own good. This is just my personal feeling, of course. I know that many fans of the series really loved the fact that The Magician is being rereleased as a single book. But having it divided into two parts gave me the right moment to stop and take a break before continuing with the second half of the series: Magician: Master. Magician: Apprentice introduced us to the characters, the world, and the premise of the series. It’s a huge plus to me that none of the characters ever felt infuriating, and the friendship between the two main characters—Pug and Tomas—was definitely my favorite points of the book. In general, I think Feist is good at portraying genuine friendship.

“Some love comes like the wind off the sea, while others grow slowly from the seeds of friendship and kindness."

From stories, tropes, and execution, Magician: Apprentice is without a doubt a classic fantasy. I, as a reader, love classic fantasy TOLD with a modern narrative/voice. The issues I often have with classic fantasy are not the tropes or familiarity, but the way it’s written. That’s what I do appreciate so much about Feist’s writing style. Now, don’t get me wrong, the writing still felt outdated at times, and it’s very clear from the prose that this is written pre the year 1990. For example, the progression of each chapter never felt seamless; chapters felt like a series of connecting short stories combined into a novel. Similar to many fantasy novels in the 80’s or older, I have a lot of issues with the way the action scenes are written; many scenes in the book felt overwritten, and the war scenes actually dragged the pacing of the book for me. However, for a book published 39 years ago, I’m pleasantly surprised by how relatively “modern” the writing felt. There were several moments where the narration shifts to an omnisicient narration, which I didn’t like, but they’re not too noticeable. At the very least, the writing certainly felt more modern than Tolkien’s. Speaking of Tolkien—Elves and Dwarves aside—there was an obvious ode to Moria which I enjoyed reading.

“Father used to say that, among man’s strange undertakings, war stood clearly forth as the strangest.”

As I said, the book did end in a bit of an unsatisfying manner. I mean, the two main characters weren’t even featured in the last few chapters. I will admit that although I enjoyed reading Magician: Apprentice, my motivation to continue with the series isn’t too positive. But I’m hopeful about the second half of Magician. My co-bloggers have insisted that Magician: Master is a much better section compared to the first half. Considering that Magician: Apprentice has served its purpose as a great introduction—despite the issues I had with it—to the series, I am looking forward to finding out what Feist has left in store for me in the second half. Judging from the title of the novels, I expect to see Pug becoming a Master Magician in the second half of Magician. It will also be a plus to learn more about the Asian-inspired culture of Tsurani and Kelewan.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,611 followers
September 24, 2020
Reread because I need to get through all 29/30 books I own as paperback in this series and decide which ones I’m going to love enough to keep or switch to kindle. And why I need to mention all of that is beyond me!

********* Old review 4 stars ************


I really enjoyed this book! I love the main character, Pug. I loved his friendship with his best friend Tomas.

Pug got picked to be the magician Kulgan's apprentice while Tomas was to be trained as a soldier. But they found plenty of time to spend together and get into this, that and the other. One day there was a wrecked ship and it turns out they were people from another time. A rift in the world and Pug and the people called them aliens. I mean they were in a sense, right?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. One day Pug is asked to take the princess, Carline, out for a ride in the forest. With all of the guards you think they would have found someone to take her, but I digress. While they were settling down for a picnic they get attacked by trolls. Pug (whose magic wasn't working at all) worked some special magic and took care of them. Since then he was accepted into the Duke's court. So, now he's not the orphan boy of the place. He's a part of the court and a magician's apprentice. He also has a crush on the princess. A lot of peeps do. Also, Pug's magic just comes on like that, never when he wants, at least not yet! That would suck, in a sense.


he was getting somewhere without even knowing it until the day they all set out to talk to some other princes and dukes etc about these aliens. They also had a visit from the Elf Queen and they all sided together to find out what's going on.

The duke let Tomas come along because of Pug. They were have a fine time of it until they are attacked and people and animals start keeling over left and right.

They end up meeting up with some of the dwarves. OMG, I loved the Chieftan Dolgan. He's a really nice dwarf, but still fierce. Oh, you know what I mean!

Anyway, they have to go through these tunnels underground to get to the other side. <-- I couldn't help it. Anyway, they are attacked by something <-- not saying, and they get separated from Tomas. Dolgan tells everyone to go on when they got out and he would go back in and find him. I know it's weird to say but this was the best part of the book to me because Dolgan finds Tomas with a dragon. And it was really good and I cried! YES, I CRIED! DON'T JUDGE ME. Anyhoo, the dragon gave them some gifts and things happened. Now that part was pretty short but it was just awesome to me.

Tomas ends up having to stay with Dolgan. I'm not sure what will happen or how they are going to get back together with the group. That will be in the other books of course.

There are a lot of other things that happened. More get separated, some attacks happen, but we don't really find out a whole lot. I think the author is setting us up for some pretty cool things. Or not, they could all just die in the next book and we move on.

The book made me think of my childhood. Certain high fantasy books do that and I don't know why. Maybe it's just the older ones. At any rate I enjoyed this one a lot even though I don't know what all is going to happen. I think it was set up nicely for the next book. The only thing is I wish Kulgan used his magic more. I was thinking he was going to be zapping things left and right. He might not be all that great of a wizard in that sense, he seemed like it from time to time, but what do I know.

Oh yeah, I want to know more about the really strong magician. We will be seeing more of him I'm sure and he had a tie to the dragon but I'm not telling you what it was just that it was nice and part of what made me cry.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Ori Fienberg.
166 reviews37 followers
December 22, 2008
Earlier this year I got back into the fantasy genre by reading Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. Since then I've been reading backwards; finding the authors Rothfuss was favorably compared to and reading their books.

I was very taken with the author I read next, George R. R. Martin, and would happily have continued the Song of Fire and Ice series, but apparently the next book in that series has been postponed till 2013. So I chose Raymond Feist who was next on my list.

To a total fantasy virgin it may hold some appeal, but even the books I read at the peak of my dorkiness, at a time when I read almost nothing except books by R.A. Salvatore and others published by Forgotten Realms, are significantly better than this book.

Simply put Magician: Apprentice lacks the subtlety, beauty, and complexity of the other works of fantasy (or even plain old fiction) I've read this year. Overall I'd say it reads like the collected notes of what were probably very engaging D&D styled scenarios and RPG adventures.

The characters are perhaps over-loved by the author. All are sort of generic "nice guys" thrown into tough situations. They lack flaws, they have no weaknesses, and so they don't broaden as characters. They're chivalrous and handsome. When they fail (rarely) it's through no fault of their own. All personal conflicts are resolved with a good cry, some laughter, and then drinks. The most major change in a character is enacted not by learning from experience or harsh reality, or personal introspection, but instead by donning mysterious magical armor. None of the characters face more than brief moral or ethical dilemmas. Because these men are only faced with deus ex machina type problems their growth is never shown, we're merely told it's happened after random narrative leaps. Four months has passed and generic male hero #1 wishes to return home, or 2 years have passed and generic male #2 is now battle hardened. Okay, I guess if you say so. The females are even more one dimensional. All those given more than one line of dialog are beautiful, playful, strong-willed, and eager to find a partner. Even the elven Queen is essentially the same, she just has a title.

Leaving aside for a moment the other worldly opposition, the only villains are mentioned in passing. None are full characters, just useful tools to create minor shifts in the action. The opposition from another world are the most interesting, but unfortunately much of the consideration and description of them is repetitious. They have different notions of honor, they're fearless, they speak a tonal language, they come from a world without metal, and employ a magic beyond the understanding Midkemians. Those basic points are hammered home over and over again.

Over and over again is one of the main problems of this book. So much feels like repetition of the same fight, the same history, and the same description. I read the author's preferred text or edition or some such nonsense. Having not read the original I can't be sure, but I'm sure that with 20-40 pages trimmed while many of my complaints about the characters would be the same, at the very least the plot would move that much faster.

I also read Magician: Master, which I won't bother reviewing, but is a slight improvement: I'd probably give it two stars. The description and consideration of the Kelewan world, its people, and their customs is far more interesting than anything in the first book, but the writing and characters still feel tired and one dimensional.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
September 29, 2018
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the Epic Fantasy aficionados at BB&B!

I can't believe I waited so long to read this series! Unfortunately, I am weird and used to start on a series only when the last book of said series was published. Then I came to the understanding that if I stuck with this trend, there would be way too many good books I might never get to enjoy in my lifetime. Too many authors, for one reason or another, take decades to finish up a story... So, instead of starting the series as I wanted to in the 80's...hm, I am dating myself, I read the first volume in the first week of this new 2017 year.

"...“- Nisi se ružno ponela prema meni, Karlina. Ja sam se ponašao kao tupan.
- Ne, ti si se samo ponašao kao prijatelj Rolande. Rekao si mi istinu, a ne ono što sam želela da čujem.”..."

It is a good thing that I was raised on the Fantasy genre as mother's milk, because there are obvious trends from the time this work was written and were more typical then. The biggest such trend is the mostly linear story line, which seems to have gone by the wayside in the storytelling of today. We have about 4-5 POV's and they are not as jarring as the way the contemporary writers tend to employ them. I call the Feist way, a classic fairy tail for adults:-) And I love it! It feels cozy, comfortable and somehow, despite a certain degree of predictability, feels like an adventure you set on with your best friend and the sky is the limit!

I am not very good at justifying why I feel one way or another about something I read. Different books affect me in different ways, and thank goodness for that abundance of diversity out there! But I am also not blind to some of the weaknesses in the writing. Despite that, I am going to rate this on how it made me feel, and I thoroughly enjoyed and loved it!

"...“Dolgan: ’Tis a wise thing to know what is wanted, and wiser still to know when ‘tis achieved.
Rhuagh: True. And still wiser to know when it is unachievable, for then striving is folly.”..."

The story is mostly about a young orphan boy who becomes an apprentice to an old magician, and the community where he grows up and finds himself having to defend against invading forces from a place far, far away... The world is populated with humans, Elves, Fae folks, Dwarfs, there was a Dragon, and a distant cousin of it, the little Drake, which is no bigger than a dog and loooooves to cuddle:-) Oooo...

"...“Some love comes like the wind off the sea, while others grow slowly from the seeds of friendship and kindness."..."

I would recommend this book and series to everyone who loves the Fantasy genre, those who are interested in getting acquainted with it, and even those who just now start showing interest in reading - a story like this is bound to get anyone addicted to the magic of reading!!! I loved this book and I ma looking forward to going into the next one:) What a wonderful journey it promises to be!!!

Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you find joy in every book you read!!!
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
234 reviews3,009 followers
March 20, 2023
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

Absolutely wonderful - a true "gem" of an 80s fantasy book!

I'm absolutely shocked at how much I absolutely loved this story. I have come to find that I've turned a bit into a snob about newer fantasy books being better than older fantasy books - but this book totally changes my perspective on things. This one has classic old-school vibes but somehow also keeps things just as fresh (if not fresher) than most modern fantasy works.

From start to finish this book is amazing. It does the classic "MC learns he can cast magic and must go on to do great deeds" trope, but in my opinion does it better than all the rest, including Wheel of Time which I absolutely love.

The writing is very well done, yet accessible - the characters are amazingly fleshed out - the story is absolutely marvelous - and the pace is perfection.

I don't want to spoil anything about this book, but I must insist that if you call yourself a fan of fantasy but have written this one off as "too old" then you are doing yourself a MASSIVE disservice.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
724 reviews1,202 followers
August 22, 2013
Via Book Reviews by Niki Hawkes at www.nikihawkes.com

When customers approach me for a fantasy recommend, I always ask: have you read Feist? As the long-time favorite of my family, "Magician: Apprentice" is the book that first inspired my love of the genre. I've gone through hundreds of books since then, and it is still one of the best novels I've ever read. It's got all of the elements I loved about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it is written in a much more vibrant and story-driven manner. I'm a stickler for good characters, and all of the characters in this series are incredibly well-developed and memorable. Elves, dwarves, dragons, and magic are all woven together in an adventure that will leave you eager for the next book.

This is the first book in the Riftwar Saga, and each book in the series is as good as the last. If you would like an introduction to the fantasy genre, this is the novel for you. As for the hardcore fantasy fans, this book should definitely be on your list of "must-reads."

Recommendations: As much as I loved this book, it's hard to believe that I loved a trilogy by Feist and Wurts even more. Read the "Magician: Apprentice" and "Magician: Master" first, then take some time to read the "Daughter of the Empire" trilogy before moving on to the third Riftwar book (Silverthorn).
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
December 27, 2018

I devoured this book and the next four back in the late eighties and SERIOUSLY desired more... and yet, I never did get around to picking up all the subsequent books... until now.

Of course, I needed to re-read an old love and see if it stands up to the test of time, and you know what I found?

Fantastical fantasy goodness! I love it! And you know what's better? The author did a bang-up job of re-editing this "author-preferred" text. An extra 50k words, side plots, characters, and more rounding of the world. The old story was not touched, just enhanced. What can I say?

I like this novel better this time. :)

Great elements remain, and now through my YA-jaded eyes, what could have been a cringe-worthy love triangle was nothing of the sort. Becoming an apprentice, solidifying life-long friendships, going on an adventure full of pathos and seeming tragedy ends with lots of valor, gorgeous descriptions, and a vast, sweeping war.

Alien invaders in the literal sense, if not in an SF sense. Alternate world, rifts, magics, slavery, and SO MUCH VALOR! :)

I'm SO glad I'm revisiting this. I fully plan to read all the way through this next year. :) Yay! What a treat!
Profile Image for Josh.
121 reviews
March 26, 2012
I wanted to like this book. I really did. First, a major caveat: The Magician: Apprentice is only one part of a two-volume novel. The second volume, The Magician: Master, completes the tale. Given this, it isn’t really fair to judge the first volume on many points, so keep in mind that my review applies almost exclusively to this first volume.

The Magician: Apprentice is a story centered on — you guessed it — a magician’s apprentice named Pug who finds himself an unlikely hero when the world of Midkemia is invaded by the Tsurani from another dimension. Unfortunately, the whole thing sounds more exciting than it really is.

First of all, I found myself perpetually annoyed that our hero was named “Pug”. It kept conjuring images of a dog-faced boy with bug-eyes. The name is “cute” in a way that distracted me from believing that he could ever become anything more than a pubescent putz. Furthermore, Pug’s character is thin and cliche. Fiest provides plenty of narration, but Pug performs so few character-defining actions and has so few lines of dialogue that he remains a mystery. Rather than being a participant, I often felt as though the story were happening to him.

Sadly, Kulgan, the magician to whom Pug is apprenticed, is your stereotypical fantasy magician: he is tempermental, wears long robes and a funny hat, sports a long white beard and puffs away on a pipe. That isn’t to say that a fantasy magician shouldn’t appear this way, it’s just that this is all I know of Kulgan. He too is flat and boring.

I really liked the concept of the apprentice magician. It reminds me of Luke Skywalker apprenticing with Obi Wan and Yoda. But we never really see Pug do any apprenticing. He becomes an apprentice, reads a lot, and that’s pretty much it. In fact, we don’t see him doing much other than being conflicted over the Duke’s daughter which, frankly, I thought was lame. I picked up a book called The Magician, not An Average Awkward Fourteen Year Old Boy Discovers Girls.

We also never get to see a scene like the one in which Skywalker observes the master at work: such as Obi Wan’s Jedi mind tricks — “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” — or Yoda lifting the X-Wing from the swamp on Dagobah. We never see Kulgan do anything interesting with magic, so we really don’t have any idea what Pug is shooting for.

There are also problems with the plot itself. First, I have read some of it before in a little tale called The Lord of the Rings. You may have heard of it. Feist’s world is so Tolkienesque that it gives me heartburn. Take, for example, the trek through the mines. You know, the mines dug out by the dwarves who dared to delve deeper than was safe? So deep, in fact, that there are unnamed evils lurking there? No, I’m not talking about the mines of Moria, I’m talking about the mines of Mac Mordian Cadal. Yeah, even the name is somewhat familiar. This is a setting too associated with the The Lord of the Rings to work well anywhere else. Moria is a place that truly scared me, but the mines of Mac Mordian Cadal make me feel like an adult walking through a Disneyland version of Moria. To be fair, the first three quarters of The Magician: Apprentice are almost an unnecessary part of the story. These chapters serve to introduce a variety of characters and place them in position for the inevitable Tsurani invasion. After the invasion, however, the story finally loses its Tolkiensque flavor and begins to take on a life of its own.

Feist fails to consistently pace his story: we jump from “We have been invaded!” to “The war has been going on now for a year and now we’re tired.” You’re telling me that all the excitement surrounding an invasion from another dimension is going to be frittered away like Adam Sandler’s life was fast-forwarded in Click? WTF? I want to be where the fighting is, not in some drawing room talking about strategy a whole year after the war has started.

Feist also has trouble with perspective. At first, we think we’re in third person limited, but Feist frequently hops into third person omniscient. On more than one occasion he switches perspective mid-scene with no line breaks or visual cues. This drives me up the wall. There is nothing more annoying than being in Pug’s head one moment and then hopping over to Kulgan and then back to Pug. It is enough to make a reader go cross-eyed. Furthermore, when we’re supposed to be in Pug’s perspective, Feist insists on telling us things that he can’t possibly know. The narrator’s voice creeps into the story and I find myself wanting to slam the door in his face and tell him to get the hell out.

Overall, I found myself trudging through this book. Although I think the concept of the rift is genius, Feist failed to bring it to fruition. I can’t help but think that Feist’s editor should have rapped him on the knuckles with this manuscript. It never should have left the editor’s desk looking like this. Once I hit a point when I realized that the story had jumped two years ahead in time, I nearly gave up. Massive temporal shifts like that are tough to pull off, but they are made even more difficult when the reader doesn’t give a damn about the characters.

Having started reading the second volume, I can say that much is improved. Feist has finally managed to bring Pug into focus and —- despite its flaws -— I am honestly looking forward to continuing the story.
Profile Image for Holly.
171 reviews601 followers
August 4, 2007
Started out well. I liked the main character, it seemed like it might be interesting. Then they walked into the mines of Moria, visited Galadriel in Lothlorien, (but he renamed them all, cuz he's smart like that) and the main character disappeared halfway through the narrative.

The characters were flat as cardboard, particularly the females, and he spent most of his time telling rather than showing. Eventually the main character shows up, in the second half of this book which was published as Magician:Master. By that time, he's utterly useless except as a plot device, boring, self important, and overall I wished he had stayed kidnapped.

Basically, it was a load of derivative and nigh-unmitigated crap and I can't believe I actually read the sequel to this. What was I thinking?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
June 5, 2013
Magician: Apprentice is an appealing introduction into an epic fantasy series that a newbie can enjoy. It offers a young hero who is just at the beginning of his journey to find his purpose in life. Feist offers a fantasy world on the brink of war from a threat that has the capacity to bring great change to Midkemia as they know it.

While the world has a typical medieval-type feel, the variety of races presented give the world an incredible texture. I loved the descriptions of the elves and their way of life, how they are similar and different from the Dark Brotherhood, Elves who have fallen into a darker way of life. I have to say that the dwarves really caught my attention. Their beliefs, values and their skill at fighting and navigating the mines of the Stone Mountains. Of course, loved the dragon!

I wasn't sure about the Tsurani storyline initially, but it takes this story in a different direction from what I initially expected. It sets up an incredible culture clash that takes this novel to a wider focus as the Midkemians have to work together to stave off the invasion of forces from another world.

Initially, it seems that Pug, our young magician apprentice, is the center of this story. But it becomes clear that various characters gain the focus of Feist. Starting out like a coming of age story, and I suppose it continues to be one in some way, this story becomes one about people dealing with their world being invaded by a formidable group of people whose values are completely alien to their own, and who seem invincible.

One detractor I'd have for this story is that it's not a standalone. The story doesn't end on an obvious cliffhanger, but you definitely have to keep reading to find out what happens to all the pivotal characters. With a massively overflowing to read list, I am not eager for too many series to add, but the strength of the story and the good writing here, guarantees I will be back for more.

Fantasy Beginner Rating (explanation: Scale is based on whether this is a good book for beginner fantasy readers or it is better for one who has read a lot of fantasy. High-Good starter book. Medium-Okay for a beginner. Low-May be confusing for a novice fantasy-reader.):

Profile Image for Chad.
7,682 reviews869 followers
July 10, 2019
One of the first fantasy novels I read as a teenager. Feist remains one of my favorite authors to this day. Pug is a struggling magician's apprentice when a ship from another world washes up to shore. Most of this first book is an entryway to the world of Midkemia, building up the world and relationships between the races. I love Pug's (and Tomas's) journey through the Riftwar Saga.

I would recommend this to anyone who has read other fantasy adventure series like A Song of Ice and Fire , The Kingkiller Chronicle , or The Codex Alera and is looking for another series to burn through. Feist and his world of Midkemia continue on for some 30 odd books and over 30 years of stories, bringing me joy throughout my adulthood. Feist has ended the Riftwar Cycle at this point and moved onto a new series of books.
Profile Image for Mimi.
694 reviews190 followers
January 11, 2023
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 of that.

I guess I'm 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 space-time continuum--RIFTwar, I see, I see--and a hoard of something from an alien world comes through the portal to invade the world of Midkemia (e.g. fantasy 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 had 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.

* * * * *

This edition was not the edition I read...

Apparently this book was divided into two halves when it was first released, Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. It wasn't until relatively recently that the two halves were re-released as one book as Raymond Feist had originally intended.

I read/power-skimmed through the re-released edition, but am too lazy to update this write-up to the proper edition.

* * * * *

Cross-posted at https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,027 followers
October 22, 2014
I first read this book shortly after it came out in the early 80's while in my 20's. It's every bit as enjoyable on the 4th read almost 30 years later. In many ways, it is a very typical fantasy, but the character's pop very well & the world has enough new elements to make it quite intriguing. The quick pace hides a complexity that becomes apparent as the story progresses & we're led deeper into the world.

Since I have a towering TBR pile, I re-read sparingly. I'm so happy I did this again.

On to Magician: Master. In the HB & UK editions, these are published as one volume. I prefer PB's & am glad the two were split. Unlike the Jordan bricks, these PB's have withstood the test of time due to their reasonable size.
Profile Image for Matt.
214 reviews631 followers
November 10, 2021
This is the story of how Raymond Feist had a very good Dungeon Master.

I recently read this book for the first time since sixth grade. I adored it in sixth grade. I find I still have some affection for it now.

Like many young nerds, Raymond loved to play Dungeons & Dragons. His Dungeon Master who ran the game was a fan of the two preeminent world builders of his day: JRR Tolkien who had created a now familiar fantasy world of elves and dwarves that celebrated Western myth called Middle Earth, and a lesser known figure named MAR Barker who created an alien, more science fiction world, with an Oriental flavor called Tekumel. His DM took these two settings, loosely filed off the serial numbers (Middle Earth becomes Midkemia, Tekumel becomes Tsurani), and set an apparently well beloved game on those worlds with the interesting premise - "What if these two worlds came into contact?" Young Mr. Feist, enthused by the mind-blowing concepts that the game introduced to him, and apparently largely unaware that all this is mostly coming to him second hand rather than out of the mind of his formidable Dungeon Master, and having thoroughly enjoyed the story that was collectively produced, decided to novelize the game and its major themes in his first novel: "Magician".

The 1st edition AD&D tropes are rattling behind the scenes of this novel so hard, you can hear the echo and rattle of the dice every time you turn the page. What isn't derivative of Tolkien, or Barker, is derivative of Gygax. Virtually every feature of the story can be found in some page or the other of the D&D rules, so that if you are in the know, then you know the Hit Dice of pretty much everything on the page. Most readers will pick up on the Tolkien quite easily, and indeed much of the first half of the book has repeated echoes of The Fellowship of the Ring. Only the very well read will pick up on the even greater influence of MAR Barker.

So if it's all so derivative, what saves this work from the scorn rightly heaped on works like Terry Brook's 'The Sword of Shannara', especially given the Gifted and Talented High School level prose and character depth that the story is written in. And why don't we remember MAR Barker better, rather than his second hand plagiarist?

Well first, because Feist is a better story teller than MAR Barker, and indeed a better story teller than just about anyone who has ever tried to turn the transcript and ideas of a D&D campaign into a novel - certainly better than anyone who had tried to that point, including the redoubtable Gary Gygax. Just as I can see through the text into the game that was played, I can also see the alchemical transformation Feist has pulled on the characters and story of the game to make it suitable for his Bildungsroman. Feist paints a daub of foreshadowing, and a touch of metaphor on to the canvas of his game, and turns his protagonists into something a little more than playing pieces gaining experience points.

The other important thing is that because we get the source material by a distant hand, having been once revised and transformed by Gygax, and then revised and transformed again by Feist's skilled DM from Gygax, Tolkien and Barker, and then once again revised and transformed by Feist, the ultimate result is something almost wholly new. This isn't the same process of reading The Lord of the Rings, being blown away, and then retelling the same story again with the serial numbers filed off that you see in 'The Sword of Shannara'. By the point we the reader get the story, the settings are plagiarized, but the story is a new thing. I've long thought that creativity is what you do to fill in the spaces when you get something wrong, forget something, or can't see something clearly. What's interesting about the Riftwar Saga is that for all the quality in the source material, all the really good stuff in this story is in those invented spaces.

But for all of that, this story is saved and ennobled by one thing and one thing only - the character of Tomas Ashen-Shugar. Without Tomas, the rest of the story is as deep as a thimble and as forgettable and derivative as any number of Tolkien inspired epics that came out in the decades following the publication of 'The Lord of the Rings'. But the story of Tomas, who is mortal and immortal, who lives simultaneously in two times, and where cause and effect become jangled up so that the future and the past are one and the same, ends up creating one of the coolest and most interesting characters in all of fantasy. In the over used trope of time travel, Tomas's story is by far one of the most effective uses of Time because it never once pretends that it is linear and so never creates the paradoxes involved in escaping from the linear flow of time but acting as if cause and effect can just proceed as normal.

Sadly though, all that redeeming value is mostly in the three following volumes. This first volume ends up mostly being exposition and introduction, is dreadfully slow, and forces the reader to suffice with the wonderful foreshadowing of two boys with fantasies of manhood, where one says, "I will be the greatest warrior that ever lived.", and the other says, "I'll be the greatest magician that ever lived", and then we get the beginnings of the story of how they become just exactly that.
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
845 reviews338 followers
August 10, 2020
4 STARS ★★★★✩
This book is for you if… you ever wondered what the mash up of classic science fiction and high fantasy would birth, being heavy on the HF portion. Welcome to the Riftwar. Pro: extremely engaging, not at all like Cowboys vs. Aliens Con: high death rate.

I got really nostalgic reading this book. I first started the Riftwar Saga almost exactly two years ago, when I was on a research trip in Bolivia. There, on a tiny shelf in a tiny hostel on a beautiful isle called Isla del Sol in the Lake of Titicaca, sat Magician . I picked it up simply because I was relieved of all other sources of entertainment involuntarily and was thus in desperate need to occupy my mind. It was a good thing to take it with me.

An ode to Raymond for he restored my faith in rereads. Remember how I came to doubt the purpose of rereading just a while ago? Not any longer. I found the plot of Magician: Apprentice just as exciting and original as I did two years ago. Although I'm usually bored when I already know what's happening I found myself thinking 'Oh you wait until...' with a joy that only comes from rereading.

If written well, the endless challenges heroes face in classical high fantasy tales are a merry undertaking - for the reader, that is. Of course, we couldn't do without the helpless damsel who throws herself at the hero just so that he can proof his strong character and send her away.

I highly encourage everyone who has a thing for high fantasy to give this fantastic saga a go. Mixing it with elements of science fiction was such an unusual thing to do, I too had concerns we'd end up with a disaster along the lines of Cowboys versus Aliens . Fear not, my friend, for Raymond delivered a masterpiece I can definitely see myself returning to in the future.

Fair warning: The total number of books set in that universe is 32. The saga itself only counts four main volumes, though.

What’s happening.
‘’Tis a wise thing to know what is wanted, and wiser still to know when ‘tis achieved.’
‘True. And still wiser to know when it is unachievable, for then striving is folly.’

And thus arises the question, what is the purpose of war if the enemy is a superior alien race? Pug, an orphan and magician apprentice, is caught in the mids of a war caused by the alien Tsurani invading his home Midkemia.
‘Father used to say that, among man’s strange undertakings, war stood clearly forth as the strangest.’


insane death rate
no Cowboys vs. Aliens
magic cannot be suppressed
the drama

4 STARS. Would stay up beyond my typical hours to finish it. I found some minor details I didn't like, agree with or lacked in some kind but overall, this was enjoyable and extraordinary.
Profile Image for Mario.
Author 1 book190 followers
August 21, 2015
This was a really hard book for me to rate. It went from amazing 5 stars to disappointing 2, so after giving it a thought I decided to go with solid 3 stars.

I’m still not sure how to write this review, because my feelings towards the book are mixed (to say the least), so I’m gonna go with the old way: things I liked and things I didn’t like.

Let’s start off with the things I liked:
-Amazing world Feist created. I think the world building was my favorite part of the book
-Interesting characters, especially Thomas. I wish we heard more from him
-Amazing first half of the book. If only it stayed like that throughout the whole novel

And now the things that I didn’t like that much:
-Lack of action. I really wish that we had more fighting scenes in the book
-Also the lack of magic. I was hoping that this book would at least have one fight scene with magic, but magic was barely used in it. I really wish that we’ll get more of that in next book
-Slow middle. After amazing beginning, we got to not so amazing middle, and it stayed like that ‘til the end. In the end things kind of picked up, but I still enjoyed beginning of the book so much more

Even though this book didn’t completely blow me away, I’m definitely going to continue on with the series (maybe not right away). Hopefully I’ll like the next one much more.
Profile Image for Shobhit Sharad.
103 reviews52 followers
March 7, 2017
This book gave me all that I look for in a good fantasy. People, races, cities, battles, and characters that I can like and appreciate. While lacking a certain level of complexity, it was at all points entertaining, with the story beginning from a point and then branching out to several story-lines, and I can't point out which one I like better than the other. Though Pug's story-line ends in a manner that makes me anxious, I liked best Arutha's development and the going-ons at Crydee. I can't see where is Mr. Feist going with Tomas. I'd like to explore and experience more of the magic of Midkemia, because we see very less of it, and understand lesser, despite the book's title. I'm sure I want to read more of this world.
Profile Image for Jordan Neville.
20 reviews4 followers
March 8, 2019
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. This was the perfect fantasy for me to read as a follow up to Erickson's "Gardens of the Moon". I loved the first Malazan book but it is very dark, chaotic, and harsh. "Magician: Apprentice" is more what I think you could call cozy sweater fantasy. Which I enjoy probably even more than the grimdarkish stuff.
Profile Image for Seth T..
Author 5 books862 followers
February 8, 2008
Raymond Feist is to fantasy literature what Greg Rucka is to crime/espionage literature. He presents stories in a workmanlike fashion, neither embracing literary elegance or dwelling overlong on that which does not forward the story itself, and yet he offers a rollicking good time. His characters are all interesting and his narrative twists retain reader interest. He is not a great author, but he is certainly a good author.

And sometimes, good is just what the doctor ordered.

Both halves of Magician (Apprentice and Master) are incredibly entertaining. The whole story spans about a decade and the changes in character design are sometimes remarkable (certainly this is the case as we see the two principles develop from teenagers into adults who only vaguely resemble their former selves). The book features the typical inhabitants of fantasy kingdoms: elves, dwarves, goblins, kobolds, and dragons all dwell within fighting distance of their more mundane human neighbours. Magic plays a role as well. But things quickly turn to something more than your average sword-and-sorcery epic. Portals to whole other planets are opened and wars begin for military as well as cultural dominance. Apart from the more overt aspects of these clashes, Feist excels at portraying the fascinating internecine struggles that plague the human kingdom above and beyond the obvious conflict delivered to their gates via these strange portals.

If you are looking for a light read that might cater to compulsive reading in either bed or bathroom, Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master may just fit the bill (I figured since I had already opened the floodgates of clichés, a couple more wouldn't kill us anymore than the first had).
Profile Image for Paul.
5 reviews1 follower
September 19, 2010
Sorry, but how is this plainly described, one dimensional book so well rated? I'm 200 pages in and bored rigid and utterly fed up of the random lucky events the characters go thru.

The line that sticks out is: Dragons were the hereditary enemy of dwarves.

Sorry it's just poorly written, based in a second hand middle earth and I've seen better characters in the mr men books.

I paid 95p for it from a a charity shop and I feel robbed.
Profile Image for James Field.
Author 28 books50 followers
April 11, 2022
By chance, a rift across the universe connects two worlds. Humans, elves, dwarfs, trolls, and goblins populate one planet. Fierce warmongers populate the other. Both worlds sport powerful magicians.
Magician Apprentice is a rip-roaring fantasy epic of war and politics that I thoroughly enjoyed. At well over 500 pages, it's a large book, but still only half that of Lord of the Rings.
Since I've mentioned LotR, there's a good chance that if you enjoyed that book, you will also enjoy MA. However, whereas LotR etched itself into my brain, MA will most likely fade from my memory after a few months.
Profile Image for Lashaan Balasingam.
1,360 reviews4,619 followers
February 18, 2018
You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Raymond E. Feist is known for creating the Riftwar Cycle and with Magician: Apprentice, he sets the foundation to one of the most popular universes ever created in fantasy. It is hard to go around today not knowing what he has accomplished by writing up the story of a boy who became a magician. Having finally the opportunity to read this classic, I have to say: I am a fan.

In Magician: Apprentice, the orphan Pug is taken under the wings of the one and only master magician Kulgan during the ceremony of the Choosing. As he learns the ropes to becoming a magician, he soon begins to question his ability to cast spells in the ways he was thought throughout his apprenticeship. However, an incident unlocks his hidden potential and reveals that Pug’s methods are far different than anything Kulgan has ever heard of. With this newfound hope, Pug slowly seeks to understand the mechanics of wizardry. However, his fate coincides with the beginning of the Riftwar when strange portals open up and an age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos commence.

I came into this book with high expectations. I saw it as one of those classics that helped shape the genre and set the example to follow in regards to stories set in the same universe. I will say that upon finishing the first book in The Riftwar Saga, I do not think it is a series that is made for everyone. It is a special gem in fantasy that revels in its simplicity while delivering complexity. Everything it presents is authentic and succeeds in capturing the essence of a perfect fantasy story.

I was personally hooked from the moment I cracked open this book and that’s because of Raymond E. Feist’s writing style. It transported me to my childhood and that’s not even a joke. I felt like a kid being told one of those epic stories with magicians, kings, princesses, elves, dwarfs and dragons. The author marvelously unravels his story with a style that made it all feel like a prophecy, a tale you would tell in all its glory. The narration was so well-done that it had a flow that mesmerized me.

The story is also dialogue-heavy with a lot of back and forth between various characters, but everything was done impeccably. Through these interactions, we do not only get brilliant character development, but also a lot of world development. With Pug sizzling with questions and always in company with characters with knowledge, readers get a vivid, clean and colourful description of the universe that Raymond E. Feist develops. It doesn’t have a flowery prose, and succeeds in telling the story with pure clarity.

The pacing might not suit everyone, but somehow I was incredibly immersed in the narrative that there really never was a moment that pinged me as boring or irrelevant. In all honesty, even the scenes that focus on every day problems simply added more realism to the universe that was being built. It made me connect to Pug with much more ease and it contributed to the whole nostalgic feeling. While reading, I had the whole book play as an animated movie—a very long movie—with each chapter being cleverly constructed.

The action is also limited but spread evenly throughout the story. If you expect to find action scenes with huge explosions and lots of gore, I would look elsewhere. There’s even a brilliantly developed romance in this story and it actually has a purpose to Pug’s development. But the best dynamic in this book is the bromance. As if it wasn’t enough that our protagonist is a teenager, his tight bond with his buddy Tomas is brilliant! Whether its the romance or the bromance, these relationships highlight Pug’s values for friendship, honesty and everything that is virtue in life.

The moment the story presents the new potential threat to Midkemia, I was deeply invested in this series. It added a whole layer of complexity to the universe instead of feeling far-fetched and off the mark.

The writing style, the characters, the world-building and the universe were all compelling. This isn’t the typical fantasy stories you find nowadays. It is however rare and seldom explored by authors. I think it is a challenge to be simple nowadays, but I am glad that there are plenty of stories left within this universe to explore. Magician: Apprentice is simply one story that all fans of fantasy should try out for themselves.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

Yours truly,

Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer
Official blog: https://bookidote.com/
Profile Image for Mikel C..
29 reviews4 followers
June 13, 2008
I must admit, when I was really young, I did not read that much. I was a sports kid, Soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball in spring and summer. Many years straight through, and if I wasn't practicing or playing, I was playing sports with the neighborhood kids.

It was not until I was 10 or so that I started actually reading the books that the teachers told us to, rather than skimming them over or getting the notes from the dilligent kid in the neighborhood to pass a quiz or test.

My first real read was Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three when I was 10. Then, since I liked the movie Halloween so much (yes, at 10 years of age I had watched it about a dozen times), I started reading Stephen King. Lovecraft. And the cheesy 80's Dark Forces series at that time.

But, the fantasy genre appealed to me more. I finished Alexander's series, breezed through Narnia and Watership Down and then engaged Tolkien. Though my family and friends think that the Lord of The Rings is my favorite books of all time, it is not. I stumbeld across Feist's Riftwar Saga later on, and I feel it is the best fantasy series I have ever read.

Magician: Apprentice is one of the cleanest, direct and at the same time emotionally involved books I have ever read. It reads easy, almost as if you are watching the movie on the screen unfold before your eyes. Fesit has the ability, in my opinion, to give you just enough description to set the stage in your mind's eye, defining both the scene and the traits of the characters, to the point where you can map it out perfectly in your vision but at the same time he leaves enough open for you to add your own twists and scenery that existed from your past or childhood.

I fell in love with the characters in an instant and could not stop turning the pages to see what happened next. That was Fesit's best characteristic as a writer: No character was perfect, no character in this work was without fault. All were...human. In a different world, in a different and simpler, but yet more complex world, those that were written about were the most human and the easiest to relate to.

Whether it was the time of my life that the story spoke to so well or just my own mentallity, this book and series is my flagship of favorite works, and I still revert to reading them when I am depressed, happy, sad, joyous, lonely or content.

Profile Image for Silvana.
1,147 reviews1,117 followers
May 18, 2020
Why hello old school fantasy! Long time no see. I see that you still have dwarves of Moria, beautiful elves living in trees, farm boys turns great warriors, plucky princess and overwhelmingly likable characters. Oh and a cute dragon pet.

Not that I mind them much in this book. The writing and the pacing are good (I didn't yawn when reading this book) and the main characters, at least Pug and Tomas, make you want to hug them and muss their hair. Pug reminds me of Fitzchivalry Farseer, albeit with much less suffering.

Centering on a Duchy household, aside from the Duke himself and his sons, has an assorted staff from magician, priest, huntmaster, swordmaster, and so on. With the background of a war, the book actually take pains in describing what X is doing and experiencing in his or her capacity. So, there were politicking with the duke, commanding the army with the prince, organizing defense with the swordmaster, guerilla work with the magician and the huntmaster and so on. Pretty cool. I even forget sometimes they are having a war with aliens from other world coming from a rift. I just enjoy reading about competent people working together towards one goal.

There were lots of subplots, with the ancient, extinct (?) dragon riders (the Valyrians? Kidding.. ), the dark elves (of Mirkwood...argh, can't help it), the upcoming (now-adult) love triangle (le sigh) and the outworlders own strange war/political issues. I guess I'll find out more in the next book.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
June 24, 2010
2.5 stars. It has been a while since I read this but I remember thinking it was decent but not great. Given the number of really positive reviews, I have put this on my list of books to re-read in case I missed something the first time around.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,811 followers
October 6, 2014
Haven't liked every Feist book since...but this one sucked me in and I ran the next two down as soon as I could get my hands on them.

Since I've remembered this one fondly and just recently replaced my long lost (or worn out) copy. I remember thinking what an odd name Pug was to hang on a main character. This story builds the characters, the world and the story so that I was quickly hooked and stayed that way for several volumes. While Mr. Feist can run hot and cold and at times be almost infuriating this is an excellent read.
Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
September 27, 2015
Executive Summary: Traditional fantasy that while enjoyable for me, isn't as good as the fantasy being released today.

Full Review
Last month I was visited Borderlands and wanted to pick up something to read on the flight home. Yes I have a ton of unread ebooks, but I still prefer paper, especially when on a plane. Also, I have a book buying problem.

I've been meaning to check out Raymond Feist for awhile, so this seemed like a good time to finally do so. I read about half of the book during my travels home and I was enjoying it. Despite that, when I got home, I was never very quick to pick it back up, often going several days between reading sessions, when most of the time I read at least an hour each day.

To be fair to the book, I'm in a bit of a reading slump right now (at least in text), but a really good book would have been more likely to break me of that.

The setting and characters all feel pretty standard for older fantasy. The story also has many common trope including the chosen one story of a sort. Or two chosen one stories perhaps. You also have elves and dwarves; warriors and and wizards. The enemy origins and their culture however are a bit different, and the part I'm most interested in.

This book is definitely book 1 in a series. Things don't really wrap up that well so much as stop. I'm definitely interested in continuing on with the series at some point, but with how many other things I have to read, it likely won't be anytime soon.

I enjoyed it overall, but not as much as many other newer fantasy series I've been reading.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
642 reviews78 followers
August 24, 2019
Magician: Apprentice is the first book in the Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist, the first subseries in the very long Riftwar Cycle series. About 20 years ago, when I was a little over 20 years old, this book began my addiction to the fantasy genre. I had of course read some fantasy throughout my childhood, but I wasn’t really conscious of it as a genre, especially not a genre for adult readers, and I had never read anything like this book. I was immediately hooked and devoured the first 16 books or so, which were all that had been published at the time. Then I moved on to other things, including other fantasy works, and never went back to it. Now that another 15 books have been published and it has been proclaimed complete, I’ve decided to re-read the earlier books and continue through to the end, assuming of course that I continue to enjoy it.

I wouldn’t call the title misleading exactly, but it might lead one to expect more magic than there really is. If you expect a magic school story, that is definitely not what this is. There are very few magicians in the Kingdom, and we don’t meet many in this book. Pug is the apprentice referred to by the title. We meet him as a teenager, just before he learns that he has magical potential. We do see some spells, but Pug has trouble learning how to cast them and magic isn’t really at the forefront of the story yet. Even Pug himself becomes less of a focus later in the book when we start following other characters. I enjoyed all the point-of-view characters. The book consists of coming-of-age stories, politics, strategy, and battles. The world is kind of Tolkien-like in that we have elves and dwarves and goblins, but the story did not remind me of Lord of the Rings at all and the world has its own fully-fleshed-out political structure and geography.

Since it has been so long since I’ve read this, I remembered very few details. The main thing I had remembered were some of the characters. I remembered a bit of the main story, and some of the plot details did come back to me as I read, but much of it was as if I were reading it for the first time. I was worried that this wouldn’t hold up to my memories of it now that I have a lot more epic fantasy under my belt, but it was as good as I remembered and I think I probably appreciated it for different reasons this time around also.

I was surprised to realize that this is kind of a feel-good, comfort-read type book. I hadn’t noticed that the first time around, maybe because I’ve read a lot more books with darker tones since then. Pug is an orphan, but he’s not a mistreated or abused orphan as is so common in epic fantasy. He has good friends, the adults in the story are not cruel or oblivious, and he is not abused or ridiculed or ignored. Most of the rulers we meet are good people who rule with wisdom and concern for their people. Everybody mostly gets along, with just a few minor rivalries. This is a book full of people you can respect, and I really enjoyed that. I enjoy the dark books too, where it’s the main character and maybe a couple close friends alone against a cruel, dark world, but this was a nice change of pace.

I’m very happy that I’ve finally started this series again; I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. There were a few places here and there where my interest faded a little, but they didn’t last long. I’m rating it at 4.5 stars and rounding up to 5 on Goodreads.
Profile Image for Emily .
728 reviews74 followers
February 6, 2017
I was going to give this 4 stars until 60-70% through. The last part of the book was pretty boring. The main character exits the book around this point, and then the 2nd main character exits shortly after and then it just feels like filler until the end. I liked many of the characters and wasn't as bothered as some reviewers by the "fantasy cliche" of it all. I am on the fence about this and I guess I need to read the next book to figure out if I want to keep going or not.
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