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  1. #1

    Feist......really that great? (possible spoilers within)

    I recently read Feist's Magician: Apprentice after reading a lot of positive reviews here and elsewhere. I have to say.......I really was not that impressed.

    A few criticisms:

    -Terrible proper nouns. Was "Pug" really the best name he could come up with for a protagonist? A magical protagonist? "Pug" sounds like a nickname for some pugilist-bully-type character who might appear in a tavern for two pages in a book. I find it to be a completely unappealing name for your main character. Also, the names of the cities......LaMut? And the land is called Crydee? It seems like Feist just likes to string together pairs of syllables and call it a name.

    -Plot development is rushed, or non-existent. I won't post any obvious spoilers, but it seems like after one brief event, a certain female character's opinions of Pug do a complete 180.....and it all occurs in a span of about 2 pages.

    -The book grew agonizingly repetitive near the end. The last 50 or so pages were completely unnecessary.

    -Finally, for a book called "Magician: Apprentice," there was virtually no magic in the book. Aside from a few sparse occurrences, Pug was no more a magician at the end of the book than he was at the beginning. I realize this is only the first in a long series of books, but I suppose I was expecting a lot more. Furthermore, Kulgan, the so-called "master," seems to be virtually impotent in most situations. Shouldn't master magicians be able to wield some decent magic?


    I've heard a lot of people say that Feist is a favorite author, but at this point I have no desire to continue with this series. Does this series, or Feist's work in general, get any better after this book?

  2. #2
    I read Magician Apprentice/Master and Silverthorn and while I thought they were ok reads, I was also quite unimpressed with them for many of the same reasons as you. I also found the prose and dialogue to be weak in places. I do plan on reading the third in the trilogy eventually and possibly his Empire trilogy (with Janny Wurtz) and Serpentwar series, but I've heard that after that his books get progressively worse.

  3. #3
    Book of the Black Earth
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    I first read The Magician series when it came out in the early 80's, and Feist was one of my favorite fantasy authors at that time.

    But you have to view this in perspective. Like with movies. Take your average movie viewer, sit them down in front of Lawrence of Arabia , a very good and important film, and they will likely fall asleep. (My wife did.) Because movies were made differently in 1962 than they are today. The plotting, pacing, character development, use of music for theme -- all completely different. And it's much the same with writing. Modern readers have different criteria for their fantasy.

    So when you go back and read fantasy from 30, 40, 60 years ago, you have to put yourself in that time era and approach it from the mindset of the audience it was written for.

  4. #4
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    I agree that it is best read as a product of it's time. I read it in the last 6 months, but fortunately had a good sense of what it was before starting it. So, I appreciated some of those things that it did well and smiled at some of the elements that seemed simplistic. There definitely is more magic in Magician:Master and more time spent with the Tsurani, who were a bit more original than their Midkemian counterparts.

    As for Kulan, you have to understand that there isn't much knowledge of magic in the world in which the story begins. So he is a master for that environment, and there is a reason for this, which is definitely touched upon/dealt with in the next book.

    From comments here, it seems that most people consider either the two Magician books to be their favorites, or else one or both of the next two, which are Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon. Personally, I am in the midst of reading the Empire Trilogy that he co-wrote with Janny Wurts and have found that to be HUGELY better. Everyone has their own tastes, and some may not appreciate that series' emphasis on characterization and political maneuvering, but imo it stands amongst the best fantasy that I've yet read.

  5. #5
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    In my opinion the books are adequate, they make for a good read but are not on my top 10 list in the fantasy field. I find them comparable with David Eddings Belgariad series, a good read but not a must.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostLannister View Post
    I recently read Feist's Magician: Apprentice after reading a lot of positive reviews here and elsewhere. I have to say.......I really was not that impressed.

    A few criticisms:

    -Terrible proper nouns. Was "Pug" really the best name he could come up with for a protagonist? A magical protagonist? "Pug" sounds like a nickname for some pugilist-bully-type character who might appear in a tavern for two pages in a book. I find it to be a completely unappealing name for your main character. Also, the names of the cities......LaMut? And the land is called Crydee? It seems like Feist just likes to string together pairs of syllables and call it a name.

    -Plot development is rushed, or non-existent. I won't post any obvious spoilers, but it seems like after one brief event, a certain female character's opinions of Pug do a complete 180.....and it all occurs in a span of about 2 pages.

    -The book grew agonizingly repetitive near the end. The last 50 or so pages were completely unnecessary.

    -Finally, for a book called "Magician: Apprentice," there was virtually no magic in the book. Aside from a few sparse occurrences, Pug was no more a magician at the end of the book than he was at the beginning. I realize this is only the first in a long series of books, but I suppose I was expecting a lot more. Furthermore, Kulgan, the so-called "master," seems to be virtually impotent in most situations. Shouldn't master magicians be able to wield some decent magic?


    I've heard a lot of people say that Feist is a favorite author, but at this point I have no desire to continue with this series. Does this series, or Feist's work in general, get any better after this book?
    Apprentice/Master are really one book broken into two segments.

  7. #7
    Originally just Magician but if looking at split then Magician: Apprentice is basically a setup for Magician: Master which is probably Feist's single best book and is much much better than the first segment alone. Tsurannuanni is more interesting than Midkemia (The Empire Trilogy I think further supports this assertion); Milamber is more interesting than Pug. If Feist is still brought up and fondly remembered today Magician: Master is a large reason. It can hold its own in comparison to nearly any other popular epic fantasy book I am familiar with. I would not give up on Feist without reading it.
    Last edited by Bond; January 31st, 2011 at 03:31 AM.

  8. #8
    Someone said Feist was a great writer? I guess the books are ok, so many wasted ideas. I question what reviews you read that might make you think he was a great writer.

  9. #9
    Making it so. Orbison's Avatar
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    I read most of Feist's books a little under 10 years ago, and loved them all. I cherish those books, but I do find it difficult to re-read them - I've tried twice and failed both times.

  10. #10
    I enjoy reading stuff from the 80s, and I loved Apprentice. I haven't started reading the others volumes in the series yet but I plan to do so. My fantasy tastes aren't as advanced as most people here, as my reading in the genre is limited so far. I read The Way of Kings shortly after Apprentice, and I liked it too for different reasons.

  11. #11
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    Feist is a writer of mixed merit IMHO.

    I quite liked Magician, but much preferred the Serpent Wars books and also the Empire books.

    He also produced a lot of utter trash based in the world after his books had become popular.

    I would never describe him as great, but certainly good. As for the names, that is part of the world-making, I have no issue with that....can't be any worse than Trollocs from WOT, which must have been a typo

  12. #12
    When I first started reading, which wasn't that long ago, I only read a couple series before I started Rift War. It quickly became my favorite. I don't want to spoil too much, but basically when Pug becomes Milamber the books start to become awesome IMO. Believe me, there is more magic, and you will understand Kuligan's role and weakness more reading further. And let em finally say, even then, I was disappointed in Apprentice, but Master very much made up for my disappointment.

    Continue reading. You won't be as disappointed I promise. Might not LOVE it, but it's worth reading and finishing.

  13. #13
    duplicate =/
    Last edited by chris777; February 3rd, 2011 at 12:23 PM.

  14. #14
    Dazed Rambler Winter's Avatar
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    The Forgotten Realms books were my only experience in the genre before I read Feist, so there was a span of time when I thought very highly of his books. The Magician was good, but The King's Buccaneer and Prince of the Blood stand as my favorites and I would place most of the Serpent War books above his first trilogy. Then Conclave of Shadows trilogy came along and King of Foxes pretty much ruined any joy or entertainment I could gain from the series. The last of his books I attempted to read was Flight of the Nighthawks and I never made it past the prologue.

    Is Feist that great? Even back when I loved reading his books, I would have to go with no. His books are fun and they are entertaining, but they are not great.

  15. #15
    Amatuer Writer Nostra's Avatar
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    I can't say much about Feist's other books but I thoroughly enjoyed the Empire Mistress (or whatever the name is) books, I'm even planning on buying them again, whenever I have finished the huge pile of books already at the side of my bed, hehe.

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