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The Magic of Recluce

(The Saga of Recluce #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  21,901 ratings  ·  594 reviews
Alternate Cover for ISBN 0-812-50518-2
Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circumstances means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce, with the aim
Mass Market Paperback, 501 pages
Published May 28th 1992 by Tor Fantasy (first published April 1991)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,901 ratings  ·  594 reviews

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: heroic fantasy readers
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Jim
This was a book where patience proves to be a virtue. It started very slowly, with an almost tedious amount of detail. As I continued to read, it started to make sense.

This is a book about the battle between two opposing forces: chaos and order. The tedious amount of detail really ties into this story, for it defined the foundation of Recluce. Recluce is a city of almost pure order. Everything is so perfect and ordered that it is perceived as being boring to our hero, Lerris. Any persons who co
He posits an interesting world where Order (Black) & Chaos (White) are separate forces that can be manipulated by humans. Those who wield each, don't generally play well with those who use the opposing force. There is a balance, so both forces gain more play in the world as the other side becomes stronger. Some people are focuses of one or the other, too. It leads to interesting situations.

The world is complex with very real politics, economics, & issues. That's what I like b
Ben Babcock
Sometimes I worry I've become too cynical in my old age (says the nineteen-year-old). When I read The Magic of Recluce for the first time, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, and I went on to devour the next several books of the Recluce saga before promptly breaking for lunch.... (Well, OK, the span of several months may have elapsed sometime among all that, but you get the idea.) Now I feel less charitable toward this book. The Magic of Recluce has a couple of problems, none of them insurmoun ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I debated the rating on this and went with 4.

The above was my original review of this book, I'm a little surprised that it got a vote (LOL). I'm also a little surprised at my comment. In retrospect I like the book much better than my initial impression above. Over the years, the book has apparently gotten better LOL. It stayed with me and I own most of the series...I like it and the series a great deal. I read this book a good many years ago and it launched me off into tracking
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brad by: Jon Moss
There are three reasons why I love The Magic of Recluce: 1) it's not like the Star Wars movies in one crucial way; 2) it is built around training rather than adventure; 3) woodworking.

1) Not Star Wars: There is a line in Empire Strikes Back where Yoda says, "A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, NEVER for attack." There is no equivocation in that. It is NEVER for attack. Pretty simple, I would think. Yet the movies are packed with our Jedis on the offensive, including Yoda in the prequels. I w/>1)
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fan-group
An engaging read that starts out as a coming-of-age fantasy and advances into something...else. It reminds me in places of Robert Jordan, Michael Moorcock, and Steven Erikson, yet has its own voice.

Modesitt gets a high score for his world building. The world of Recluce is wonderful and the surface is only scratched at here. I'm intrigued enough by this to read more in the series at some point. Since all but one of the 15 or so other books out there happen before this one, there's ple
Sotiris Karaiskos
Usually in the field of high fantasy I choose recent works, but I like to look for the distant and the near past for corresponding works Phase difference have influenced The current writers. One of these works is this book, which starts a very large set of books that continues even nowadays, so we can say that it is at the same time recent.

In this first book, therefore, we start from a utopian place where order and stability reign, tensions are non-existent and, in general, its inhab
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: SF/Fantasy Book Club November 2010 Selection
Excellent world building and superb magic system with an annoyingly dense but affable young adult protagonist on a quest. Lerris is 'the chosen one' but for all the wrong reasons or completely mysterious hidden reasons until he's painted himself into a corner with his fumbling choices. Lerris isn't burdened with a prophecy, but he resists the status quo of Recluce. Lerris is just your typical young adult with attention deficit disorder (i.e., he's bored and finds everything boring), but Recluce ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This isn't pathbreaking fantasy, and it suffers from issues of pacing, prose and characterisation, but it's an engaging and sometimes moving story for all that.

A coming of age novel set in a fantastic world (aren't they all?), The Magic Of Recluce often seems bogged down in diurnal detail: meals at inns, distances travelled, long hours of discomfort, but I can also see how Modesitt felt the need to include these things as a way to ground his fantasy narrative, give it a lived-in feel. The prose
Nils | nilsreviewsit
I'm sorry to say that this book was a DNF for me! I'm so disappointed that I didn't like this one, I really tried to give it a fair go, and I read about halfway through, but to be honest it was stressing me out and I had to leave it!

It wasn't all negative as I really did enjoy the beginning of the book. The Magic of Recluce is written in first person, and the downfall of this narration can be that it makes a book lack world building. There was none of that here! Modesitt showed himse
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this over 25 years ago & it hooked me on the Recluce series. It's the first published, but 17th in the chronology (C17, P01). It was a real journey of discovery that first time as Modesitt built the complicated world through Lerris' eyes, a young, disaffected man who was ignorant of so much. My one real issue with the book is how much he suddenly understood toward the end. I guess he's a lot smarter than I am.

My favorite parts were the woodworking & the horse (la
I liked this book well enough, but it really didn’t distinguish itself. Young Lerris gets sent off to do what is called dangergeld because he is bored with his perfect, utopian life. As per usual in this kind of story, he discovers that he has talents he never suspected, that his parents aren’t who he thought they were, and that non-utopian life can be rather difficult. You know, the usual in these fantasy epics. (See The Belgariad by David Eddings, The Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist, or Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn ...more
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Read with the #MagicalModesitt group-read organised by Jacob.

"Chaos is concentrated anarchy, if you will. Order is diffused by nature. They have to balance."

Wow. What an interesting magic system. Yin/Yang balance, Order vs Chaos, Black vs White, philosophy of mind, consequences, Newton' 3rd law... and all the gray in between! I like it!

Recluce will now be added to my #FinishTheSeries TBR. When I have time to update it. Lol.

[Pending Review]
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This wasn't bad, but I don't think it was particularly what I was looking for. The writing was good and the story had some neat magical elements to it, but I found it to drag a bit too much and I was not as happy with the coming of age nature of the plot. It could be a case of me just choosing the wrong book so taker this review with a grain of salt. I just found it to be too long and too dry to make up for the moments of sizzle.
Nov 14, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy aficionados
Shelves: fantasy
"The Magic of Recluce" is the first book in L.E. Modesitt's long-running "Recluce" saga. This series has grown to encompass 14 books.

The denizens of Modesitt's world are all human beings. The magic system of this world is based on order and chaos. Chaos wizards enhance the chaos in people and things while order wizards enhance the order in people and things. Chaos is classified as an "evil" magic and order as a "good" magic. It's a pretty cool and logical system, although I was disap
Fun. I'll eventually pick up the rest of the related novels ("series").

The Seasonal Reading Challenge Task 15.4
(This task normally requires two books, but if you can make one book both of the parts, it counts!
Part 1: single author initials (L.E.M.) found in "Acropolis Museum"
Part 2: book title initial letters (TMOR) found in "Metropolitan"
Also, with the MMPB at 501 pp. don't forget that this is a Big Book!
Jul 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012, fantasy
This was an enjoyable read. Nothing spectacular, definitely not five stars for me, but it could have at least been four stars if not for one very annoying component... But more on that later.

The characters - I liked them. Some of the relationships that formed between them seemed a little unbelievable and/or unnatural to me, but it wasn't so bad as to interfere with my enjoyment of the story. The magic system - interesting, I liked the idea of order versus chaos and all of the rules t
Mar 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Bleh. Technically I shouldn't mark this as "read," since I've only made it through about 175 pages or so.

I've seen these books praised by fantasy readers, and am lucky enough to have a set signed by the author. But I can't really see the appeal. This is a book in dire need of a more merciless editor. It's turgid past the point of forgiveness. Everything moves so. Slow. That. I. Find. Myself. Not. Giving. A. Damn.

Modesitt takes great care to describe each room his characte
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Skip by: Tim!
The first in a series about the battle between two opposing forces: chaos and order. Recluce is a city of almost pure order, where people who compromise that order are exiled. The main character, Lerris, is dissatisfied with never getting straight answers and hopelessly bored. I was reminded a bit of Milo from A Phantom Tollbooth. such a person. But, like any good heroic fantasy, this reluctant, unlikely hero does save the day.

The book started very slowly, until Lerris is sent for training, wh
Stefan Bach
“Be on your way, boy. Just remember, you can always come back, once you discover who you are.”

In a time when readers are demanding for fast-paced, action-packed, non-stop entertaining, easy quick reads - this should have been a safe haven; a resting stop. A recluse.

There's nothing worse than unfulfilled potential.
Althea Ann
Another big long book, and the start of one of those giant epic fantasy sagas.
However, again, I'm not going to go get the sequels.
I like fantasy because it has such potential to expand our concepts of what human society can be, in different and unusual, often dramatic situations.
One can tell, reading this book, that the author is conservative, christian, and non-feminist. This only occasionally intrudes jarringly into the story, but there's absolutely nothing in here that would
Greg Strandberg
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This book is so good it's not even funny. I read it in China while teaching at a public school and it was nice to come home in the evenings and have this escape.

I thought it started out slow, at an island academy. Things picked up and I liked the skip in time. You really see some good magic system development here with how things decay with the use of magic. This is juxtaposed against a world where people build crafts.

Our hero is in this world and he does a lot of carpent
Mixed feelings about this one. I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the story, but there were definitely some annoying aspects of the book that kept my rating at three stars. I generally am not a fan of first-person narration, unless it's done really well (Robin Hobb is a master, for example), and Modesitt's writing is passable but nothing special. One of the limitations of first person narratives is, of co ...more
This book is what I would refer to as a traditional, coming of age fantasy story. Misfit teenager destined to become a great hero etc. Personally I don't find anything wrong with this approach when there is sufficient world building and interesting story to back it up.

In this case the author met most of those goals. The world is quite well thought out and the magic system has some interesting ideas that conflict with our preconceived notions of good/evil, black/white, order/chaos. In
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was such a great great book!

I loved the writer style, such an unusual one, with a great deal of attention to the small details, with a conventional evolution of the story, a become of age, but in the same time, an unusual structure to it and not to speak of all the sounds that are described in this book. A delight to read!

And another peculiar thing is the depiction of Good vs Evil not in the usual way, the black is the Order the white is the antagonist way, Diso
Feb 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Hard to rate. Three stars was a gift.

Great created universe, but amateurish storytelling. Liked how he explained the "physics" of chaos and order magic without booing too far into techniques. Too much scene-setting at the beginning. (Modesitt must have told us once a page for the first hundred pages that Lerris was bored. We got it, already.) Much repetition in words and information. His sound effects distracted more than contributed.

Needed a map.

Since Modesit
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Upon first glance, I thought this book was about someone who refused to go outside. I was mistaken. Lerris goes outside. A lot. His journey takes us across a cold, dangerous world. The story moves slowly at times, because it feels like a lot of plodding through awful weather, but waiting out the storm is worth it for the magic of--you guessed it--Recluse. Or rather, Recluse and all the lands that see Recluse as an island full of selfish bigots. Yay.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dropped
Too much shrugging, too many ellipses, and more importantly, the main character is a lowkey misogynist. \_(ツ)_/ ...more
Jan 18, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I wrote a review and then deleted it because I wrote it after a couple drinks. But. I dnf'd this one. Don't like the mc. Don't care to read more.
John Adkins
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed, 2016
This book follows the story of Lerris, a young apprentice woodworker who is bored by basically everything. He lives in the realm of Recluse where order and attention to details are everything. As the novel begins he is being sent away to learn if he really wants to be a part of Recluse society or not. Little of the reason for the obsession with order or for his exile are explained to him which only leads to more and more frustration on his part.

The world of recluse is an intersting one. Based o
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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, del

Other books in the series

The Saga of Recluce (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Towers of the Sunset (The Saga of Recluce, #2)
  • The Magic Engineer (The Saga of Recluce, #3)
  • The Order War (The Saga of Recluce, #4)
  • The Death of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce, #5)
  • Fall of Angels (The Saga of Recluce, #6)
  • The Chaos Balance (The Saga of Recluce, #7)
  • The White Order (The Saga of Recluce, #8)
  • Colors of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce, #9)
  • Magi'i of Cyador (The Saga of Recluce, #10)
  • Scion of Cyador (The Saga of Recluce, #11)
“Up early. Must be important.” Her smile was nice, too.” 0 likes
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