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Whatever the critical blurbs say, Feist is no Tolkein. The story he has created here is very straightforward: the protagonists discover that humanoids from another plane are preparing to invade their own, spread the word, rally the troops, and participate in a few battles themselves. There's really little more to it than that; certainly no big twists or surprises. Nonetheless, it makes for fairly enjoyable reading, at least toward the beginning and the end. The middle half of the book, however, consists mainly of the protagonists traveling from city to city in order to convince various nobles that there's war on the horizon, and for that section, the story drags out and gets bogged down in politics.
Pug, Feist's titular protagonist, isn't a particularly memorable character. Apart from having an unfortunate name, he's practically an existentialist anti-hero, and as such, doesn't get much opportunity to show any personality. A few of the other characters are more well-developed, but still not quite memorable. At the other extreme is the Princess Carline, whose wildly inconsistent personality makes her love interest with Pug feel rather awkward.
Magician: Apprentice does have its moments, but overall, it's not terribly good.
Jul 29, 2008
Good Start To A Great Series
If you like fantasy books, then you will like "Magician: Apprentice", the opening volume to the Riftwar series by Raymond E. Feist.
Focusing on the somewhat oddly named "Pug", the first volume in the Riftwar saga tells the tale of Pug's rise from orphan and lowly kitchen hand to magician's apprentice and somewhat reluctant object of a princesses affection until his world gets turned even more upside down by the opening of a magical rift between two worlds and the call to war against the invading armies which come through it.
This book is an enjoyable read and the first in a series of four which make up the Riftwar saga. It touches all the usual bases in the now tried and tested fantasy genre (good vs. evil, low-born child makes good etc.) but does so with an endearing style and has a great storyline which will definitely keep you turning the pages and looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Do note this can probably not be read as a standalone novel as it was originally written as one book and later split into two "Magician: Apprentice" and "Magician: Master" by the author who I believe also added more to the story to expand upon the original work.
Well worth reading in my opinion if you have like books like The Lord Of The Rings and others in the fantasy genre.
Apr 4, 2007
As young Pug struggles as an apprentice magician to perform even the most basic spell, becomes acquainted with life at court, and deals with rivalry over the heart of a princess, his life at Crydee is unexpectedly interrupted. Strange warriors are beginning to appear seemingly out of nowhere, disrupting humans, dwarves, and elves alike. Pug follows Kulgan, his master, and Duke Borric of Crydee as they search for answers and possibly prepare for war. For the most part, I enjoyed this first book in the Riftwar series. The author is not so much focused on Pug's learning of magic as he is with the forming of his character and with the greater events that are overcoming the realm. Point of view switches back and forth between characters yet seems to flow together well. True, there were times when I thought the dialogue was a bit stilted and it took me awhile to get used to the title character's name, but overall it is an enjoyable novel.
Mar 27, 2007
Awesome first book in the epic Riftwar Saga
Magician: Apprentice is the exiting first book in the epic Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist. I have recently culled books from my bookshelf. The only tomes remaining we ones with high re-readability value. All of the Riftwar Saga books remain on my shelf. Magician: Apprentice tells the story of an orphan named Pug. A kitchen boy serving in the castle at Crydee.
Pug soon shows talent with magic and is taken under the wing of Kulgan, one of the Dukes advisors. Pug uses his magic for the first time defending the Princess Carline from two trolls. Soon the Riftwar begins by an unknown ship washing up on the beach. Pug and Tomas, brother in spirit to Pug, find the ship and explore it before the tide drags it back out to sea. Pug senses something in the captains cabin and finds a scroll he cannot decipher.
The book progresses through the openings of the war to Tomas being gifted with an ancient set of armour and sword, this will have great implications in further books of the series. The book culminates with Pugs capture and travel to the invaders home world.
You can't just read this book. If you pick up this book you will want to read the following books in the series. This book for me has all the ingredients of good fantasy. Many don't like the recipe but Feist's writing resonates with me. It has magic, dwarves, Macros the Black, the Dragonlords, and the Brotherhood of the Dark Path.
In conclusion, if you like a fantasy world that has traditional elements but refreshing insights into them you'll like Magician: Apprentice.
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