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Book Review: Magician: Apprentice/Master by Raymond E. Feist

Title: Magician: Apprentice
Author: Raymond E. Feist
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pub. Date: October 1993
Series: Riftwar Series, #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 485pp
Publisher: Bantam Books

I have returned to Midkemia. After a hiatus of 10 years, I have begun rereading the books of Raymond E. Feist. The world of Midkemia is so unlike any other in the epic fantasy genre. A blend of science fiction and fantasy it is the story of a war between disparate worlds separated by space and time. This is unlike any other fantasy I have read.

I am finished reading Magician: Apprentice two weeks ago, and am in the middle of Magician: Master right now. The story of the Riftwar, where two worlds battle for supremacy of Midkemia and control of its metals is elegantly written and adventurously plotted. Feist has created two worlds, Midkemia and Kelewan. Kelewan is a metal poor planet, but rich in knowledge of magic. Midkemia has metal, but has lost much of its magical knowledge. Kelewan, led by the Empire of the Tsuranni, has used its knowledge of the rifts, to open a portal into Midkemia. Entering uninvited, the Tsuranni seek to dominate the Kingdom, its counterpart on Midkemia.

In the midst of all this is Pug, a young man strong in magic, but not in the traditional Midkemian way. His story drives the plot line and allows us to glimpse the history of the two worlds and hints at the ancient enemies of both. The Enemy and the Valheru both a have a role to play that has not been revealed as yet.

But Pug is not alone, and his friends Prince Arutha, Martin Longbow, Tomas, Dolgan the Dwarf, and Queen Aglaranna of the Elves, also must battle the Tsuranni invasion.

Feist has worked hard to keep the two worlds disparate. Kelewan is reminiscent of the ancient Asian empires of our history and Midkemia has a close parallel in the medieval culture of Europe. The cultures that Feist creates are extremely different, and his gift lies in making both truly believable to the reader. Each has its strengths and its weaknesses, and both are shown clearly. Even within the cultures, the people do not think as one mind, and the political intrigue on both sides of the Rift threatens both nations.

These works are stunning in scope, original in content, and fast paced in plotting. There is never a dull moment and the characters have a depth that makes them near and dear to the reader. It is a vibrant epic and I look forward to reading the other books in the series, both those I have read before, and those that have come out in the 10 years of my hiatus.

I rank Feist as a grand master of fantasy, and would put is epic into the same category as Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, or David Eddings for its level of pure enjoyment. Read it, you won�t regret it.

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