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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,509 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
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 - t ...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published December 12th 2002 by (first published 1990)
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Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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;
†Ðawn†  has reading burn-out.

3.5 stars

I really don't know what to say. I think I liked it.

Didn't love it, didn't hate it. It's a bit better than meh.

Loved the hero (Rap) but found the heroine annoying and TSTL at times.

The writing was way too flowery than necessary.

I just didn't feel it.

I hated that the heroine was fooled by Andor but I guess she couldn't help it. I wish Rap and Inos (what a stupid name) would just fall in love already but sadly it seems this is going to take 3 books to get to it.

I guess overall I liked i
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
3.5 stars, which means I enjoyed reading it. Actually, I read and listened, alternatively. Good narration, but a bit fuzzy, indistinct.

3rd person POV (my favorite for fiction) set in a medieval world called Pandemia, inhabited by about 13 races of humans/ humanoids: men, goblins, dwarves, elves, gnomes, trolls, faeries, pixies, djinn, mermen, imps, etc.

So, Duncan's magical fantasy series begins here, with a stable boy, a princess, magical words, politics, and several mysteries. No sex or sweari
Amanda Kespohl
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sf, nostalgia
“Magic Casement”, Dave Duncan’s 1990 fantasy novel, is a pleasant introduction into his four-part Man of His Word epic fantasy series. It manages to engage the reader in with enjoyable characters (that are just the right side of cliche, but it’s a near thing) and an intriguing magic system, but would be unsatisfactory if treated on its own for its slow burn and the abrupt gear-shifting in the final act.

(This review is part of my “Nostalgia” series, where I infrequently revisit a small collectio
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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,
Marcus Knowles
May 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
The summary of this book promised me that this story may well be the most original fantasy you ever read. ....Eh? I thought it was 'mediocre' at its finest. Quite generic. (Though I suppose the idea if a faun being among goblins is pretty original!)

I did like the story though - had fun reading it.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Alisa Kester
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
After 20 years my memories are rather fuzzy and for the rest of the I might have thrown in some other books. So I expect this re-read to still hold some surprises.

This first installment, as many others have noted, starts off very slow, but ends at quite a pace. I enjoyed it about as much as I remember from the mid-90s. Good, somewhat epic, fantasy. On to the next one!
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 24, 2012 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.
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this, want more of the story, but wished Inos was a better character. I loved her at the beginning - spunky and adventurous, not afraid to get dirty. but the character she became (even when not directly under Andor's influence) was a stereotypical princess - concerned with clothes and balls and comfort. Disappointing.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
What a surprisingly fun read! Got it off a list of underrated books and truly was underrated. blitzed through it in 3 days. Just from the way the world is described I though the author has to be Canadian and familiar with the outdoors... turns out he's a former petrochemical geologist from Calgary! Definitely not your ordinary epic fantasy. Have fun guessing what will happen next!
Sherrill Nilson
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such great writing. He has a way of turning cliches and overworked prose upside down that I wish I could master. Funny and poignant, serious and satirical. I loved it. It's a book I will read over, and maybe over again.
I've almost finished the series and am very sad about that.
Dennis Harper
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a fun read, but failed to really draw me in completely. The use of magic was very unique and kept me surprised, wish there were more of that. I liked it enough to start the second book, maybe it will pickup a bit.
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if I like this book or not. Perhaps I'm just comparing it with the previous book I read (which was amazing), but somehow this seems to be more of a child's story than a serious fantasy book. The two main characters seem to be perhaps 15-16 years old, and their incompetence is too pronounced for my taste. It is written in third person perspective, but as if it told from the one we're following. Not entirely satisfying. I'll try with the second book, but honestly I'm sure if it's wort ...more
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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Other Books in the Series

A Man of His Word (4 books)
  • Faery Lands Forlorn (A Man of His Word, #2)
  • Perilous Seas (A Man of His Word, #3)
  • Emperor and Clown (A Man of His Word, #4)
“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,” 3 likes
“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
More quotes…