Michael Y. Patuwo's Reviews > Magician: Master

Magician by Raymond E. Feist
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's review
Jun 06, 12

After "Magician: Apprentice", I was hoping that the second half of the Feist's Magician series would deliver closure to the multitude of plot threads that have been constructed in the first half, but as it turned out, I was disappointed. There are many problems with this book that impede my enjoyment, because every other page of the book seems to make me look up and whisper to myself, "What? Why? How is this reasonable? Why do I have to see this scene? Why is the guy I'm supposed to be rooting for behaving like a spoiled, rotten child?"

I'll break it down. The main character Pug ceased to be an innocent, endearing boy and suddenly turned into a tyrant with an ego worthy of three men. I hated him. So much. He had everything handed to him: his latent powers, the affection of every single 'good' person in the book, the fortuitous termination of his enslavement (if he had slaved at all, because to be honest I didn't see any suffering in his part), the protection of a good master, the respect of the Tsurani mages (why did he deserve that?), among many other things. He found his soulmate without even trying, and she was completely devoted to him right after a single night of passion. There was no special connection between Pug and his wife; not even the tiniest resemblance of romance. When Pug became a master magician, my empathy for him drained away completely. He treated those of his former station the way every other huffing noble treated them, and we were supposed to root for this man? Not a chance. The showcasing of his power during the bloody arena event was so utterly inane and pointless I had to slog through the pages, rolling my eyes as I did so to lessen the boredom. There is no tension whatsoever in the book once Pug was able to do ANYTHING he wants, at no apparent price. Pug is the embodiment of one of the biggest Gary Stu-s in fantasy writing.

Next, Tomas. A complete jerkass, he too had made a complete personality turnabout from the good-natured, energetic lad we've seen back in Apprentice. Like Pug, he had everything handed to him: the adoration of the elves (although he butchered his enemies and radiated an aura of savagery), the unquestioning loyalty of the dwarves (why? He's just a human, young and callow, and just because Dolgan liked him did not mean that the rest of the dwarves should) and the love of a most unlikely character (again, no chemistry. Shallow, shallow, shallow). His sideplot ended with no violence, no consequences, no repercussions. Bam, author intruded, problem solved. Boring.

Arutha. I like him, actually. But I don't see why a third of the book has to be written in his point of view, especially since he was given barely any spotlight in the first book. In fact, Arutha should be main character, not Pug or Tomas. At least he's not an obvious Gary Stu cardboard character, and the lowering of his station as a prince to an adventurer actually won my empathy, and I really enjoyed his growth as a character.

What could have been an epic fantasy in "Magician: Master" turned out hollow, unbelievable, and boring. Even if one were to forgive the problem of Gary-Stu-ness in the book's many characters, its inconsistent pacing, pointless digressions and anticlimactic emotional scenes still stick out like a sore thumb and give rise to the frustration of the readers who actually care about these things (as I read this book, I almost forgot why the Tsurani was the enemy, since there was so very many chapters of pure digression). I say only read this book when you are new to fantasy and do not know what to expect: its easy and cliched plot are useful for the uninitiated reader. Otherwise, stay away.
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