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Boyhood Dreams + Love + Adventure + Fantasy World ⇉ Review of Magician by Ramond E. Feist

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Long long ago, I read Magician: Master by Raymond E. Feist. Years later, I finally bought Magician: Apprentice and read the two books back to back. The Magician books are truly, as Feist explains in the foreword, a fantasy adventure that was written for the author's pleasure, and it is best enjoyed as a fantasy that fulfills boyhood dreams of love and adventure in a fantasy world.


A Fantasy That Fulfills Boyhood Dreams
The Magician books are best read as a story that fulfills the boyhood dreams of the protagonists Pug and Thomas and, in the process, the reader's dreams of love and adventure. While the two boys go through hardships, events seem to work out for them in incredible ways. To enjoy this book, it's best to put skepticism on hold and enjoy this book for the fantasy romance that it is.

Likable Characters
The protagonists and the primary supporting characters are likable and come from all walks of life.

A Tale of Two Worlds
I like how the story shows events that take place on both worlds. This gives insight into the culture and beliefs of both sides and, as a result, allows the reader to emphasize with both sides. War is complex; both sides have their reasons to fight. Magician shows this complexity.

Furthermore, despite the hopes of the characters, there is no simple resolution to the war in the end. Some of the aftermath is shown at the end of Magician: Master. I hope that later books show more of the consequences of the war.

Strong Female Characters
The female characters are more than a pretty face. To name a few of their traits, they can speak their minds, have attitudes, love fiercely, and survive trials. They fight alongside of the ones they love, and a few even take a turn at narrating events. I appreciate how we're given insight into their thoughts and struggles.


Under-portrayed Character Development
The characters are almost too likable and, as a result, can come off as bland and lacking in complexities. Their personalities don't entirely come off the page. While growth can be seen, in Pug and Thomas in particular, insufficient time is spent to fully portray the character development that takes place. This is in part due to the time skips and alternating POVs.

Too Many Trails to Follow

The war is fought on multiple fronts. For containing it in two books (long as they are), Feist does a good job giving the reader an idea of what is going on. That said, it also means the reader doesn't get the full picture, only glimpses into each front. It also means that the character development isn't shown to its full potential.

In the End, Who Wins the War?
Though the protagonists do their best to protect the ones they love, greater powers are at play. In the end, the outcome of the war is debatable. Despite the happy ending, things feel unresolved, and I expect to see some of these trails continued in later books of the Riftwar Cycle.


Overall, Magician is best enjoyed as a (for the most part) straightforward fantasy romance. It provided light, easy reading for me during a time of sickness, when my brain couldn't process complex thoughts. I recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy novels that spend more time developing the characters, their relationships, and the socio-political climate of the world.


To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. His courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, but he was ill at ease with normal wizardry. Yet his strange magic may save two worlds from dark beings who opened spacetime to renew the age-old battle between Order and Chaos.


If you were to become an apprentice in a fantasy world, what occupation would you pursue?

Publication Info
  • Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist
  • Published by Bantam Spectra
  • On January 1, 1993
  • Original pub date: October 1, 1982
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Pages: 485 Pages
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
Series: The Riftwar Saga
  1. Magician: Apprentice
  2. Magician: Master
  3. Silverthorn
  4. A Darkness at Sethanon
  5. [Note: there are other books in the Riftwar Cycle, but these four books complete the first saga set in the Riftwar Cycle.]
  • Alcohol
  • Kissing
  • Some sexual scenes / thoughts (not explicit)
  • Violence (not explicit)

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