Lauren's Reviews > Magician: Apprentice

Magician by Raymond E. Feist
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Jul 15, 14

bookshelves: physically-own, favorite-fantasy
Read in October, 2010

It has been said that 'there are no more original ideas being formulated in the world,' and I feel this in a sense may be true. It is easy to see the unorginality in the film industry with companies continually 'remaking' or 'remastering' old classic movies. BUT, I do not believe this applies to Fiest's books.

David Gemmell, in an author's interview, once stated that he felt his fans deserved something more than the traditional elves and goblins. While I make no attempt to disparage Gemmell's work, occasionally one feels the need for such stories. Indeed, many authors seem to think as Gemmell does, that elves and goblins are the rule and books of the more realistic type are the exception. In trying to prevent a stereotype of fantasy work, these authors have overcompensated, leaving genuine, simple, Tolkeinesque fantasy in a minority. The key to Feist's success is that he manages to create a realistic world in the style of this stereotype. As he says himself in the Foreward to the revised edition, all he set out to do with Magician: Apprentice was to create a 'ripping good yarn,' and this he does.

The story itself is both simple and complex. On one level the town of Crydee, on the edge of the kingdom of isles, is deemed an ideal spot for invasion by aliens who can move from planet to planet by virtue of magical rifts. Because this is a frontier town it is near settlements of elves and dwarves, thus bringing those into the fray. However, this book, as indeed the entire series, seems to pan out like a soap opera, as we become familiar with the lives of a whole range of minor and major characters. Like a good soap opera (if that's not a dichotomy), Feist is not afraid to kill off major characters, no matter how popular. Like The Godfather, the pace of Magician: Apprentice is "legato rather than staccato," and this gives Feist the luxury of demonstrating his characters rather than having to explain them. Indeed, many fantasy novels become so obsessed with a 'higher purpose' that often they lose a sense of the personalities involved, whereas Feist gives views ranging from the lowliest peasant to the king.

In many ways this novel is microcosm of the series that was to follow it. The convuluted plot, the importance attached to characters, even if they are engaged elsewhere away from the main plotline.

But the novel is not perfect. Feist can be heavy handed, making explicit that which should be implicit. For instance, characters frequently call on 'Ruthia,' and on each occasion Feist feels the need to identify her as the goddess of luck, when this is quite clear from thecontext.

Nonetheless, this is without doubt on excellent book, and one which I would highly recommend.
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