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Imager (Imager Portfolio #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  5,561 ratings  ·  312 reviews
Imager is the beginning of a whole new fantasy in a whole new magical world from the bestselling creator of Recluce. Although Rhennthyl is the son of a leading wool merchant in L’Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, the most powerful nation on Terahnar, he has spent years becoming a journeyman artist and is skilled and diligent enough to be considered for the status of master ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Tor Books
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Furies of Calderon by Jim ButcherFirst Lord's Fury by Jim ButcherCaptain's Fury by Jim ButcherImager by L.E. Modesitt Jr.Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher
books with almighty heroes
4th out of 114 books — 29 voters
The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussWarbreaker by Brandon SandersonFire by Kristin CashoreThe Gathering Storm by Robert JordanBest Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
2009 DGLA Fantasy Book Nominees
7th out of 64 books — 110 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Modesitt's writing is like clockwork: predictable, dependable, unexciting. He creates boring, detailed fantasy worlds and peoples them with walking shadows. The “characters” aren’t even caricatures—that would require Modesitt to give them some sort of personality. The main character, Rhen, exists in this book only to lecture and be lectured about government, and to eat very detailed meals. I do not need to know what fictional wine each and every character has each and every meal, and yet Modesit ...more
June 2014: I really liked this again, although I'd forgotten many of the details in the past 5 years. Modesitt continually engages me with his minimalist approach & attention to the details in his magic systems. Great world, too.

Each chapter starts with a fairly profound statement, something that sets the tone for the chapter. About 3/4 of the way through, "Professional interrogators should study mothers." The unexpected humor really pops.

I'm going to start the second book immediately.

--- D
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay, I've proved before I don't mind swimming upstream. I see a lot of 3 and and even 2 star ratings here among the 4s and a few 5s.

This is not the kind of book I would say I usually like...relatively slow to take off, heavy on character with a plot that sneaks into the book gradually.

But for some reason I loved this book. I went so far as to sign up for today so I wouldn't have to wait for an order to come in or the library book to come to me before I could get book 2.

This book in
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of Recluce a little more, this was a very good book.

Mr. Modesitt's style is fairly distinctive. He writes what I would call 'grounded fantasy'. He is detail-oriented, and spends a lot of time building his world and setting the scenes. He is clearly a 'foodie', because he describes food in great detail, and it sounds very scrumptious to me. I obtained a
3.5 stars

I enjoyed the evolution of Modesitt's writing style in this new series. Yes, the story is quite similar to what he used in the past with the Recluce saga. The lack of onomatopoeia helped limit disruptions to the narrative.

The imaging magic system failed to impress me and seemed more a psi power like telekinesis. The government institutions, religions and philosophies debated and discussed both in a teacher-student setting or as the protagonist's internal dialogue provoked thought and p
"Imager" is the first book in a new fantasy series by the insanely prolific L. E. Modesitt Jr., whose works I usually enjoy very much --- and this one was no exception, despite the fact that it's so recognizably his work that it verges on the predictable. Actually, I'm sure that some Modesitt fans could have predicted the early part of this novel's plot just by looking at the map: hmmm... looks like a city with a bunch of artist studio's, and in the center there's something called "Imager's Isle ...more
This was my first Modesitt novel and I found it absolutely awesome. A great, fun read in a truly unique fantasy setting. I found Modesitt's writing style to be very fluid and his descriptive phrases at once thorough and precise. The world is built beautifully with lots of attention to detail. There's even a map of the city included with the book, although I don't believe I ever had to reference it.
Leon Aldrich
I am a long time fan of Modesitt. So it is difficult to put up less than five stars. But after diving into book two and comparing these two against other novelist(s), the story quality just isn't there to make this a stand out novel. It pains me to say that.

Part of that may stem from the first person perspective. We never get to see what makes the antagonist tick. We get to meet the villain in the final chapter as our hero defeats him in fairly quick order. Until then, we get hints of shadowy su
As others have noted, this book followed a relatively predictable pattern. To be perfectly honest, for the first third of the book I felt like I was reading one of the early Recluce books. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially as this is a pattern and formula that has worked so well for Modesitt for so long.

I am not one who likes spoilers in reviews, so I prefer to leave them out of my own reviews. That said, this time around we find ourselves with a new hero, and while the story follo
This book subtly gripped me from the beginning. It wasn't a boat ride and it wasn't a lightning bolt; I simply was continually pleased to continue reading and continue reading, until the hook was set.

The setting of the story has some technology--steam engines, pistols--but it doesn't feel that way. That is, it still feels more like a fantasy story, despite the era being somewhere between Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Some heroes in fiction get the orphan-to-demigod treatment of "He can do THAT??
Leo (Rahien Sorei)
L.E. Modesitt Jr's books are not for the casual reader of fantasy. It took a loft of effort to not say "the faint of heart" (but did I just say it anyway? Who knows). However, the first statement is far truer because these books are deceptively hard to put down once you acclimate to Modesitt's style. This, like many other household names in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, takes some getting used to, but it is also what defines Modesitt's plethora of books as "good reads." His style requires thoughtfulness and a ...more
Sep 27, 2014 Kathryn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathryn by: Hilary
I think this might be a book you have to read at the right time. Here's why. Plot-wise it was slow. So slow, that you could almost miss that it was there at all. In some ways, it felt like the book was setting up for the main plot, to follow in the rest of the series (?). So, if you need a heavily plot-driven book, that can make reading it difficult. However, don't take that to mean the writing was weak, because it wasn't.

This book was almost more a discussion of different points of ethics, thi
William Bentrim
Imager by L.E. Modesitt, jr

This is the first book in the Imager series. In the spirit of the terrific Recluse series, the Imager series debuts a new world of similar interest. Imagers, much like mages in the Recluse series seem both powerful and powerless. This book deals with a budding artist journeyman who tragically discovers he is an Imager. His discovery leads to a career change, romance, intrigue and danger.

Medesitt’s protagonists have a modest, self depreciating nature. They are seldom t
An interesting and very different magic system forms the basis for the world and the plot in this novel--the first in the Imager series.

Modesitt's usual trademarks are all present and accounted for--strong women, understated hero, grey areas of moral and ethical (and in this case, civic) questions, and detailed world-building complete with a fully realised political system, and more.

If you're looking for non-stop action, with a chest-thumping hero, this isn't the book for you. There is certainly
Nathan Lowell
Modesitt is one of the authors I read. Always. He's one of the people whose work I admire to the point that I'll read *anything* he puts out.

Imager starts a new saga every bit as interesting and intriguing as his Spellsong or Recluse universes and creates a new magic system balancing art and politics on the tip of a knife. If you're familiar with Recluse, then you'll see shades of this earlier work in Imager. If you liked that universe as much as I did, you'll enjoy this new work.

My only compla
Still in the mood for secondary world fantasy I tried a bunch of books and this series attracted my attention; I absolutely loved both books published so far with Rhenn a great character and the novel a true immersive experience
Carrie Mansfield
2.5 stars

Review available on my blog:

Modesitt is an author who has been publishing longer than I have been alive, and yet I somehow never got around to, even though I knew I probably should. So when this showed up on sale, I decided to take the plunge. And, ultimately, I'm left frustrated.

On the one hand, I did enjoy this book. On the other hand, I felt like it could have been more.

This book is a slow burn. A very slow burn. The first 20% deals with Rhynn's life a
Dec 10, 2014 Emilie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fan2
Well, it wasn't *really* bad, but it wasn't good either.

The pros: the good prose, the impeccable attention to detail, and the fact that it was decent enough for me to finish all 432 pages. That's pretty much it, actually.

The cons:
-There was virtually no plot to speak of. At first I was interested in the main intrigue of the story and wanted to know how it would all come together in the end, but the plot developed so unnecessarily slowly that I became disinterested as it went along. We don't need
It's more of a 3.5 however..
What made this otherwise intriguing and thought provoking novel lackluster would be perhaps the excessive detailing of mundane day-to-day life of an imager. Some details were really unnecessary, such as what they had for lunch, what the protagonist noticed etc, because those doesn't contribute to the plot at all. The story line was less than exciting I would say, and so slow progressing I lost interest at points in time.

But I also understand that being the first book
Jimm Wetherbee
I will be the first to admit that I do not much care for the fantasy genre (The Lord of the Rings and the Thomas Covenant series don't count, being more of a reimagining of myth). There are some writers, however, that are so able elevate a story from the contrived to a compelling alternative reality. Modesitt is in such company.
Imager covers the early career of one Rhennthyl, the son of prosperous wool manufacturer from the city of L'Excelsis in the country of Solidar. Modesitt very quickly esta
Imager is the first book in the Imager Portfolio series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. I have never read Mr. Modesitt’s work before and only read this one because of the positive reviews on Goodreads and at my public library. I borrowed the book in audio format from my library with no hard expectations.

Right from the start, three things concerned me – the narrator voice was too flat, there is not so much as an ounce of humor, and the story was told from first person perspective. All of these elements pla
Daniel Shellenbarger
I picked up this book (and the first of L.E. Modesitt's Recluce books) on a whim last week. Although I was dubious about whether I would enjoy Modesitt, I have to say that both books impressed me, particularly Imager. In Imager, Modesitt describes a country much like 19th century France (if you don't have a background in French, Modesitt uses French words for the days of the week, so it may do to peruse those before starting just to avoid confusion), ruled by a mixture of mercantile concerns (in ...more
I've really enjoyed L.E. Modesitt Jr's books and Imager starts a series which falls into a familiar pattern to some of his other works (The Corean Chronicles quickly comes to mind.) The main protagonist is gifted with abilities, quickly finds mentors who guide him, and starts rising in rank as action increases.

While the plot itself is one that seems to follows previous books, the main conflict is still engrossing as the mystery deepens throughout the novel. A good "who-done-it" storyline, mixed
(Originally reviewed on Otherwhere Gazette)

How neat would it be if all you had to do was concentrate and you could make objects? Not temporary objects or illusions, but real physical things, even gold coins or other precious metals?

That’s pretty much the entire system of magic in L. E. Modesitt Jr.’s Imager. Imagers are people with the ability to create whatever they can mentally visualize. Obviously, there are a number of possibilities that come out of that ability. For example, imagers can kil
For years some very intelligent readers have been trying to get me to read some Modesitt, and in a way he's been sort of like Charles DeLint to me-- that author that I should like but just can't really get into. I tried to start the enormous Recluse series several times, and put the first volume down several times, finding something in it somehow off-putting, as if my reader's antennae were not quite tuned in to that frequency. Not bad, just... didn't click with me. The Imager series was quite t ...more
I am not one to give an epic fantasy two lonley stars, but alass I must,

The plot relvoves around Rhenn, a gifted jorneyman artist who dreams of one day becoming a Master. But alass destiny calls, when he slowly discovers he an Imager, one who can create stuff by visualizing it in his mind. When a fire burns down his master's studeo he is forced to join the sect of fellow Imagers and rises through the ranks only to discover that someone wants him dead....

Positive aspects: The develoment of Rhenn
Alya Al Ayel
I needed this book!

In my opinion this is a great start for a series. I got to know and love the characters, fun, interesting things happened in each chapter which made me unable to put the book down, and the build-up for the next books was intense and mysterious.
It was not perfect: a bit predictable as many people have mentioned, and sometimes i felt like the author is trying to prove his own points of view on some subjects like religion and governance systems. I did not mind any of that. A go
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Another great book by L.E Modesitt Jr. I have all of the Recluse series and haven't wanted to try any other series or author. Yes, there are many of the same elements in the Imager Portfolio as in the Saga of Recluse, but it doesn't distract from the story like I thought it would. L.E Modesitt Jr has a gift of creating whole worlds with government, social customs, cultures and history.

Rhenn learns he has special abilities "imaging" or making things appear while working as an apprentice portraitu
I must note, that my preferences tend to lean towards female authors. This is most often because how they typically express the worldview of their characters and attitudes seems to be easier for me to connect with than most male authors. This is not an absolute, but is generally the norm, so it isn’t often that I find a male author that I enjoy. That made this a bit of a surprise for me as I did enjoy this book.

I really wasn’t sure that was going to be the case because there were pieces early on
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Conversion 1 2 Aug 20, 2015 09:00PM  
Series Readers An...: Imager Portfolio series by L.E. Modesitt Jr. (December 2014 Staff Pick) 4 11 Dec 01, 2014 05:01PM  
  • The Spirit Lens (Collegia Magica, #1)
  • The Whitefire Crossing (Shattered Sigil, #1)
  • The Serpent and the Rose (War of the Rose, #1)
  • The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #4)
  • House Name (The House War, #3)
  • The Sword-Edged Blonde (Eddie LaCrosse, #1)
  • A Magic of Twilight (The Nessantico Cycle, #1)
  • A Darkness Forged in Fire (Iron Elves, #1)
  • Covenants (Borderlands, #1)
  • Blood of Ambrose (Morlock Ambrosius, #1)
  • Oath of Fealty (Paladin's Legacy, #1)
  • The Wizard Lord (Annals of the Chosen, #1)
  • Oath of Swords (War God, #1)
  • Crossed Blades (Fallen Blade, #3)
  • The Last Stormlord (Watergivers, #1)
  • Zero Sight (Zero Sight, #1)
  • The Sorcerer's Ascension (The Sorcerer's Path, #1)
  • The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light & Shadow, #1)
L. E. (Leland Exton) Modesitt, Jr. is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels. He is best known for the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, lived in Washington, D.C. for 20 years, then moved to New Hampshire in 1989 where he met his wife. They relocated to Cedar City, Utah in 1993.

He has worked as a Navy pilot, lifeguard, delivery boy, u
More about L.E. Modesitt Jr....

Other Books in the Series

Imager Portfolio (9 books)
  • Imager's Challenge (Imager Portfolio, #2)
  • Imager's Intrigue (Imager Portfolio, #3)
  • Scholar (Imager Portfolio, #4)
  • Princeps (Imager Portfolio, #5)
  • Imager's Battalion (Imager Portfolio, #6)
  • Antiagon Fire (Imager Portfolio, #7)
  • Rex Regis (Imager Portfolio, #8)
  • Madness in Solidar (Imager Portfolio, #9)
The Magic of Recluce (The Saga of Recluce #1) The Magic Engineer (The Saga of Recluce #3) The Towers of the Sunset (The Saga of Recluce #2) The Death of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce #5) The Order War (The Saga of Recluce #4)

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“The difference between an explanation and an excuse lies with the one receiving it.” 2 likes
“Behind your reaction is a feeling that whatever is 'true' must be able to be expressed logically. Men, in particular, have a tendency to confuse correct logic with an accurate assessment of a situation. Be careful of any situation that you have to reason through logically, because if you have to work to reason it out, you're probably missing something.” 2 likes
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