I honestly don’t think that there is anything much better than reading a book that you have wanted to read for years (but haven’t for whatever ridiculous reason), and being completely enthralled, overwhelmed and many other amazing descriptive words. This is exactly what happened when I FINALLY read Magician by Raymond E. Feist.
The world created by Feist, is a medieval one, full of magicians and sword fights, knights and princesses, with an “alien” invasion thrown in for good measure. I had always imagined that I would love this book, so who knows why it took me so long to get around to reading it, especially as my imagination was correct – I did love it! The plot centres around a young boy named Pug, who at the age of 13, is selected to be apprenticed to the magician, Kulgan. Two years later, Pug and his best friend, Tomas, make a discovery that changes their lives and the world as they know it, and plunges their kingdom into a war that seemingly has no end.
Full of action and set at a reasonably fast pace, I found the overall storyline to be a bit same same but different at times. It was the usual “world in danger and only one person can save it” type story, with an epic battle here and there, a bit of intrigue at the King’s court and a magical item that changes the person wielding it and which obviously should have just stayed hidden. Yes, it was very difficult for me not to draw comparisons to the work of Tolkien. There were just too many similarities between the books, that there is no way that Magician was not in some small way, inspired by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Having said that though, the sub-plots I found to be riveting and at times, highly intriguing. There were plenty of times where I was unable to put the book down because I just had to know what would happen next, and I had to know why that person was doing what they were doing. The one main difference I found though, was that Tolkien was often highly descriptive, almost to the point of being irrelevant, while Feist’s story moved along quickly and had few moments that felt like they were dragging along. So while you might read this book thinking it’s all a bit too familiar, there are enough differences to make you forget for a while (and Tolkien is amazing anyway, so I have no qualms reading something that reminds me of his stuff).
I adored all of the characters. Each one had their own big personality and were very realistic, all struggling with some kind of inner turmoil. I don’t think that there was one character that had the perfect life, making each character easy to relate to in different ways. This in turn allows the reader to feel like they have more invested in the story – not many of the characters were unlikeable and I found myself constantly worried that something bad would happen to one of them.
Anyway, do yourself a favour and read this. You’ll be sucked in from the first few pages (which reminded me a little of the start of the Disney film adaptation of The Sword in the Stone) and be enthralled throughout the rest. Don’t let the fact that it’s similar to something else dissuade you from reading this. If anything it should encourage you – why not read something that you know you are going to love?
RATING – 8 out of 10. I’ll be honest – I didn’t love the end. It was a bit too convenient for me.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – If you love Tolkien, you’ll love this. But I think that if you enjoy stories about knights, princesses, magicians, dragons, elves and dwarves (like me), you’d be crazy to overlook this one.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – I loved Pug in the early parts of the book, but found myself rather attached to Arutha in the latter stages. Amos Trask made me laugh quite a bit too.