Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Imager (Imager Portfolio, #1)” as Want to Read:
Imager (Imager Portfolio, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Imager (Imager Portfolio #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,174 Ratings  ·  327 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Imager, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Anisha Bashir I personally thought the first 3 in this series were a bit dull. The concept was VERY interesting but I found myself getting bored. However, I loved…moreI personally thought the first 3 in this series were a bit dull. The concept was VERY interesting but I found myself getting bored. However, I loved the rest of the series (they are kind of like a prequel to the first 3) as they take place a long time before the first 3 books and I found myself much more engaged. The characters also had much more "character". I have only read up to Anitagon Fire, but I thought Scholar-Antiagon fire were great.

p.s. I don't think the first 3 are necessary to understand scholar and after but you can always give it a try at a library or something before you actually buy one. (less)
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 — 113 voters
Mistborn by Brandon SandersonThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Most Interesting Magic System
248th out of 1,673 books — 6,237 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 01, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it did not like it
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
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
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)
Sep 13, 2011 Mike (the Paladin) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Oct 08, 2009 Jon rated it liked it
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
Sep 11, 2009 Stefan rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, library-loan
"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
Jul 14, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jeffrey Jelmeland
Jun 03, 2009 Jeffrey Jelmeland rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, library-copy
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
Apr 01, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
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)
Dec 24, 2014 Leo (Rahien Sorei) rated it really liked it
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 liked it
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
Feb 06, 2016 Emilie rated it did not like it
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
William Bentrim
Feb 16, 2012 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 17, 2011 Ainslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 04, 2010 Nathan Lowell rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 03, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev
4 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

The son of a wealthy factor, Rhennthyl resists going into the family business, and instead finds an apprenticeship with a portrait artists. A terrible accident ruins his hopes of life as an artist, and he must decide what to do with limited prospects, and two talents - art, and magic.

I've found L. E. Modesitt to be inconsistent between series, and relentlessly consistent within series. Said, another way, I like some of his series (Recluce) all the way, and don't car
Dec 27, 2015 Evelina rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first time I have ever read a book written by this writer and after having seen the cover and read a bit into it, I thought the idea on which this piece of literary work is based was extraordinary. Who exactly is an Imager? It is a person who has the power to transform his mental energy into matter; what he envisions before his eyes, becomes real. (for that, he needs to have his eyesight, as we later find out; if a person is blind, he or she can no longer be an Imager) Other interest ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned, 2016
I couldn't get into this book. I read a few chapters and....meh. Don't care. While each book has its own style that can sometimes take a bit getting used to, this style had me rereading paragraphs because everything was explained in such a way as to get as many words out of each thought as possible. AKA, it was wordy.
Like: There was a portrait being painted. The kid made the person look better than he was in real life. Then he was lectured about making the eyes look too realistic and argued tha
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
Dec 02, 2014 Carrie Mansfield rated it liked it
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
Jun 13, 2011 Phearsa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jul 26, 2011 Jimm Wetherbee rated it really liked it
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
Aug 14, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 08, 2014 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(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
Apr 28, 2013 Pat rated it really liked it
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
May 30, 2009 Andrew rated it liked it
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 Mhairi
Jul 09, 2015 Alya Al Mhairi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Conversion 1 3 Aug 20, 2015 09:00PM  
Series Readers An...: Imager Portfolio series by L.E. Modesitt Jr. (December 2014 Staff Pick) 4 12 Dec 01, 2014 05:01PM  
  • The Spirit Lens (Collegia Magica, #1)
  • City of Night (The House War, #2)
  • Spirit's End (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #5)
  • The Whitefire Crossing (Shattered Sigil, #1)
  • The Serpent and the Rose (War of the Rose, #1)
  • Flesh and Fire (Vineart War #1)
  • Covenants (Borderlands, #1)
  • Lamentation (Psalms of Isaak, #1)
  • The Last Stormlord (Watergivers, #1)
  • Blood of Ambrose (Morlock Ambrosius, #1)
  • A Magic of Twilight (The Nessantico Cycle, #1)
  • A Darkness Forged in Fire (Iron Elves, #1)
  • The Outstretched Shadow (Obsidian Mountain, #1)
  • The Sword-Edged Blonde (Eddie LaCrosse, #1)
  • Zero Sum (Zero Sight, #2)
  • Child of the Sword (The Gods Within, #1)
  • The Immortal Prince (Tide Lords, #1)
  • Talion: Revenant
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 (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • Treachery's Tools (Imager Portfolio, #10)
  • Assassin’s Price (Imager Portfolio, #11)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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
More quotes…