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Magician: Master by Raymond E. Feist
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Riftwar Saga (Book #2 of 3 or 4), The Riftwar Cycle (Book #2 of 31)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Classic Fantasy
Pages: 523 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: November 1982
I feel like nostalgia goggles are needed to enjoy this to the fullest now. I gave this an honest attempt, but I won’t be continuing with the Riftwar Saga.
Magician: Master is the second half of Magician—the first book in the Riftwar Saga series—by Raymond E. Feist. Despite the issues I had with Magician: Apprentice, I thought that book did have plenty of redeeming factors that I thought could be explored further in the second half. And to be fair, before I get to the things that didn’t click with me, there were indeed several things that intrigued me so much. The character’s development of Pug and Tomas—for better or worse—were totally intriguing to me. I also enjoyed that the majority of the story takes place in the Asian-inspired setting of Telewan. Plus, there’s also the memorable scene of Pug’s wrath. So intriguing character’s development and world-building accompanied with a memorable scene, what could go wrong? Well, the outdated executions.
Here’s the thing; the title says it already, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Magician: Master means we will see Pug becoming a master magician. However, what I didn’t expect or know was how disjointed the developments leading to this were. Do you know how long it takes for Pug to become a master? One chapter. Before this chapter occurred, he was still an apprentice at magic, but after this chapter, he immediately became a master. To make things even worse, the changes to Pug and Tomas transform them into a completely different character than what we’ve read in Magician: Apprentice. Nothing about their voices or character resembled what I enjoyed in Magician: Apprentice anymore. I’ve mentioned in my review of Magician: Apprentice that the chapters in these books felt like a bunch of connecting short stories combined. And that gets even worse here. Time skips happened non-stop; practically every chapter took 30-50 minutes (felt like 2 hours sometimes) to read. The way the lore of the series is explored is through a crazy info dump; look at chapter 22, just to give a taste. Lastly, Telewan, Tsurani, and the Game of Council—though interesting to hear—felt like an underdeveloped concept. Feist himself mentioned that this situation is fixed because of Wurts’s involvement in Riftwar: Empire, and I can’t wait to read that.
To those who commented on my Booktube channel that they have a feeling that Riftwar Saga will be too outdated for me now that I’ve read a lot of modern fantasy, they were right. I know I would’ve loved this so much more if I had read it at least a decade ago, or maybe if I have my nostalgia goggles on. Unfortunately, these two situations aren’t applicable to me, and The Magician was overall disappointing. I won’t be continuing with this trilogy, but I will still attempt Riftwar: Empire, I was interested in this trilogy in the first place anyway. I’ve also heard from quite a lot of people that Riftwar: Empire trilogy is the best sub-series in the entire 30+ books of Riftwar Cycle, and I look forward to finding out how it will click with me.
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