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Magic Casement (A Man of His Word, #1)
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Magic Casement (A Man of His Word #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,173 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Princess Inos lived an idyllic life in her fathers' sleepy, backwater kingdom, and she was best friends with her childhood companion, the stableboy, Rap. But when a prophecy seemed to say Inos should be married, she was exiled to the Impire to learn to be a lady. She was far away when Rap's magical talents began to emerge, and it was he who told her of the fate awaiting th ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages
Published November 13th 1990 by Random House Inc (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Algernon
Jan 20, 2015 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015

He had traveled the far south and seen devastation wrought by dragons. For so young a man, he had visited an incredible list of places. He had been to Faerie itself, bathing on its golden beaches, paying a silver penny for a ride on a hippogryff. He had met gnomes and dwarves and elves. He had haggled for tapestries in crowded bazaars and edged along walls in sinister alleyways; he had watched beautiful slave girls dance before their masters in opulent courts. He had sailed the Summer Sea in ba
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay I know a lot of people are looking at that rating and asking themselves..."what's wrong with that guy?"

Sorry. There were times I was sure I was going to get into this book and really like it. The first half of this is so slow and annoying as to drive me (and I assume some others) up the nearest wall. While the sections on Rap drew my attention, the story told from Inosolan's point of view are slow, dull, irritating, aggravating and even...vexatious (vexatious: causing vexation; troublesome;
...more
Manda
Nov 06, 2007 Manda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is the first in a series of four (all on this shelf) that are simply the best fantasy/alternate reality/what have you books I have ever read. I read each one as they came out and could not wait till the next one. It has everything: good, clear, witty writing; beautiful imagery; a strong, non-stereotypical female protagonist (and a strong male protagonist as well); a fully conceived, internally consistent universe; and a heck of a gripping plot. Don't be scared off by the cheesy sci fi cover ...more
Sbuchler
Jun 30, 2008 Sbuchler rated it really liked it
Genre: High Fantasy

I found this book slower/harder to get into then the other Dave Duncan series I've read... which isn't to say it's not a fun read, it is. It's just slow to ramp up.

The story involves the different races on Pandemia - goblins, fawns, elves, imps, jotan (and probably more). At this point I'm unclear if Duncan intended these groups to truly be different species or if they're simply fantastical names for different human racial groups. Multiple of the principal actors in the novel
...more
Amanda Kespohl
Jun 19, 2013 Amanda Kespohl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This series and the sequel series are some of my all-time favorite books that I've ever read. The characters are endearing and relatable, the world is richly imagined and unique, and the magical system is ingenious. I used to reread this series at least once a year, and it honestly served as a heavy influence on how I write my own stories.

This first series, beginning with The Magic Casement, is a fresh, sweeping tale of romance and adventure as Rap the stable boy loyally seeks to serve Princess
...more
David
Nov 04, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very competently written story, with a good magic system, well described setting on both world scale and in localities. Characters are easy to empathize with. The only think lacking are those quintessentially poignant moments that develop naturally from the story, which make for a true five-star book. Tearjerking is good, if it is done well, but in this book it wasn't done. Likewise for the comedy. There are evocative ups and downs, but their amplitude on the star-scale is four, not five. An e ...more
Lorena
Apr 13, 2012 Lorena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Dave Duncan always exceeds expectations, and this book is no exception. The writing and characters are, as always, superb. Having reached the end of the first installment, I don't at all know where the series is headed from here, in the best possible way.
Leon Aldrich
Book #1 of A Man of His Word

Book Description:

MAN OF HIS WORD A princess and a stableboy? It sounds like the worst sort of hackneyed formula romance. Think again, for "A Man of His Word" may well be the most original fantasy you ever read. The magic is unique and applied in unexpected ways, some of which the late Lester del Rey admitted he had not met in fifty years as writer and editor. The world itself is unique - there are no humans in Pandemia, only imps, elves, gnomes, jotnar, and many more,
...more
Laura
Nov 23, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eric
This was one of my favorite fantasy series in years. One of the fun parts about reading the books was how he tied the title of the chapter in with the quote at the end. It's never clear why the title has its name until the end, and then it is a fun trick to see the quote at the end and find the chapter title in it. The books themselves are a good example, as they all draw their titles from the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by Keats.

The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by
...more
Marcus Knowles
I read all the books in this series and wasn't impressed. The one thing most reviews say is that the magic system is very clever, and it is. But the problem lies more in that it's about the only thing that is clever.

The story itself is a straightforward adventure romp who gain magic power and end up together. The world described never struck me as interesting either. Every standard fantasy sentient appears (faeries, imps, goblins, fauns) with the only twist that these are all human, just with so
...more
Flint
Mar 03, 2010 Flint rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
If you're planning on reading this book then be very prepared to be bored for at least half of it before the plot actually begins to progress and unfold. Virtually nothing of consequence happens in the first half of the book. The two main characters, Rap and Princess Inos are basically doing everyday mundane things that does very little to impact their character development. The first half of the book is actually more about the princess settling into her boring life of dances and embroidery at a ...more
Shelli
Mar 23, 2010 Shelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes epic fantasies
Recommended to Shelli by: Alicia
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2010
This book was a little bit slow in the beginning, but it picked up in pace as the severity of the issues grew. I imagine a lot of fantasy books are slow at first because they have to describe the world in which the story is set. This story follows a coming-of-age princess who has been told to find a husband to marry for love, not just because the marriage will benefit his or her family in a certain way. The magic and powers in this world are interesting (I don't want to give anything away!) and ...more
David
Sep 07, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the last Dave Duncan series that I read, and this was a good start to another series. In a world of imps, jotunn, fauns, faeries, pixies, gnomes, elves, and dwarves -- all of them recognizably human -- the stableboy Rap and the princess Inos live on a small island. Adventures ensue, often revolving around a novel system of magic based on magic words. One word makes a genius, able to do one or two things very well; two words makes an adept, a genius in any skill he practices; three words ...more
Michelle
Jul 21, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Goblins, princesses, magic...this book has everything, and the power of words is the ultimate. Rap is just a stable boy, but he is probably the most honorable stable-boy you will ever meet. His love and commitment to Princess Inosolan is something rarely seen now-adays. He befriends a goblin during his journey to protect the princess from an evil plot. Meanwhile, the Princess is off to the center of aristocracy to (hopefully) find a suitor. This book beautifully illustrates the lifestyles of the ...more
Alisa Kester
Oct 08, 2009 Alisa Kester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've never been disappointed by a Dave Duncan book. They have strong intriguing characters, interesting settings, and are just so much fun. These are not books you read to because Oprah told you to or because they won some award; these are the books you read when you just want to curl up and be entertained. Even the Dave Duncan books you've never read are instant old friends the moment you pick them up. (Ignore the covers - they look like the worst sort of fantasy trash and are deeply unfair to ...more
Adi Greif
This series was well-written, had a nice magic system, and a nice if sometimes slow plot. I would rate it four or five stars, except that it (like many fantasy series) has an Orientalist interlude with a Middle Eastern type setting where men are handsome, brutal, and have harems of women. Although explicitly stating that there are good and bad people everywhere and that there are some benefits to the harem system, the general perspective of the characters was that those 'type' of people (djinns) ...more
Anon
May 31, 2014 Anon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series was well-written, had a nice magic system, and a nice if sometimes slow plot. I would rate it four or five stars, except that it (like many fantasy series) has an Orientalist interlude with a Middle Eastern type setting where men are handsome, brutal, and have harems of women. Although explicitly stating that there are good and bad people everywhere and that there are some benefits to the harem system, the general perspective of the characters was that those 'type' of people (djinns) ...more
Susu
Apr 21, 2014 Susu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Perhaps it is unfair to rate this book 2 stars, but having recently read Robin Hobb's Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, the character and plot development in Magic Casement falls extremely short.
Travis
Aug 24, 2012 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, the most amazing Fantasy series I've ever read. It's just pure unadulterated fun and surprises you at every turn. Dave Duncan's best ever series.
Kerry
Aug 16, 2014 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A satisfying book from start to finish in a classic fantasy style. It's always refreshing to read a fantasy writer who doesn't have to rely on gore or sex to create a good story--or to distract from the flaws of a bad one. But this book isn't solely about story. The writing is interesting, with a good use of appropriate vocabulary and descriptions that don't use cliche as a crutch. Sure, some of elements are hyperbolized (such as the impatient, headstrong princess) but that is part of its charm. ...more
Heather
Jul 29, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An original fantasy story with an interesting plot twist. So now I have to find the next one as it has a cliff-hanger ending.
Cal
Feb 05, 2016 Cal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An author who can write "A mixture of fury and stubbornness came over his face, wrinkling his wide nose until she half expected the freckles to start popping off like brown snowflakes.", deserves to be read. The homage to Keats is well done. Many of the characters are well defined: Rap, Little Chicken, Ekka, Inos, Unonini, Aunt Kade. And, of course, there is the odd assemblage of Sagorn, Darad, Thinal, Andor, and Jalon! Duncan's writing style is very pleasant and descriptive. Solid story. The mi ...more
Mjhancock
Dec 22, 2015 Mjhancock rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Princess Inos is reluctantly growing up and sent by her father to search for a spouse while he secretly deals with his illness and his grip on his kingdom becomes more precarious; her childhood friend Rap is slowly learning that he is more than just as hostler as he develops powers of farsight from a gift his departed mother gave him. But even working together, they may not be enough to save the kingdom from the encroaching forces that wish to take it over and steal their words of power.

This was
...more
AtlantaTwin
Jan 08, 2010 AtlantaTwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up b/c a blog recommended "If you like Robin Hobb, you'll love Dave Duncan." The imagery is amazing in this book. Since the character's names are so different from today's names, I had a hard time remembering some of the minor characters and thier roles (Duke of this, Thane of that, etc), but that's what makes it enchanting, don't you think? I was especially intrigued by the short poetry at the end of each chapter and discovering how classic poetry can be intwined with a fantas ...more
Stephanie
Dec 01, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, magic
I liked this one a lot. We will see how I feel after a few days when the "high" has worn off. I thought the characters were great; many of them had unexpected depth. Believable world-building. Reasonable conflicts. (Sometimes when I read books I'm like...why are they so worried about this? Or...isn't a solution obvious? Not so here.)
I think the best part of this was (view spoiler)
...more
Stephanie
Format: Audio from Audible
Narrated By: Mil Nicholson
Original Publication Year: 1990
Genre(s): Fantasy
Series: A Man of His Word #1
Awards: NA

I know people get tired of the same old archetypes trotted out in book after book but I have a confession; I kind of love archetypal stories. As long as it is done well - the details of the book unique and characters with depth and complexity - there is really nothing I prefer cozying up with. They are comforting and inspiring and there is, after all, a reason
...more
Joshua Adeyemi
Dec 01, 2013 Joshua Adeyemi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty good book. It was a pretty engaging read. As this was the first book in the series, it was a bit slow, but picked up the pace towards the end of the book. Rap was a pretty stereotypical fantasy young male protagonist, he really has no shades of grey and is 100% good! he is determined, kind, very humble, etc etc, but still a pretty likeable character.
One of my favorite characters in this book is actually the sequential set of doctor Sagorn, Thinal, Andor, Jalon and Darad. Their
...more
N Printzcess
Feb 05, 2016 N Printzcess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am going to write this as a review for the entire Man of His Word series. I am not a huge fantasy fan, but really did enjoy this series. Elements reminded me of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the Hobbit. Dave Duncan's descriptions are excellent and although the books follow an expected path, there are unexpected surprises along the way. These books were excellent winter entertainment, just different enough to be new but also seemed familiar.
David
Duncan takes traditional archetypes and tweaks them just enough to turn the page faster and faster. With other authors where I know immediately where they are going I tend to get bored easily, not so with Duncan. In Magic Casement you've got to pay attention to the brush strokes as the fantasy elements are like lines from a Dylan Moran monologue. Bonus are the nuggets of wisdom shared with Rap and the intriguing magic system.
Sammy
Sep 10, 2015 Sammy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads, 2015, fantasy
I just finished this book again. Last time I read it was about 15 years ago, so I have to admit I worried a little whether I'd still like it or not. I needn't have.

This is pure escapist fantasy at its best. It is fun and light-hearted, and the perfect antidote to some of the heavy, dreary books I have recently put myself through. Also, Duncan excels at devising unique and well thought out forms of magic, and this is no exception.

Starting on book two right away!
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“Youth departs: There are gains for all our losses, There are balms for all our pain, But when youth, the dream, departs, It takes something from our hearts, And it never comes again.   Stoddart, And It Never Comes Again” 1 likes
“Being a man is not a matter of whether hair grows on your chin, lad. It's inside your head. Some males never make it at all. Being a man is rolling up your sleeves and telling the world 'Now I'll play by the real rules—no more wooden swords. If I succeed, then the credit belongs to me, not my parents or teachers or employers, and I shall savor the prizes without guilt, knowing I earned them. And if I fail, then I'll pay the penalties without whimpering or blaming anyone else.' That's what manhood is,” 1 likes
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