Sunday, November 24, 2013

Magician's End Book Review

Magician's End marks the 30th and final novel in the great Midkemian series by Raymond E Feist. The first in the series, Magician was published in 1982.  Magician's End was the highly anticipated conclusion to a set of novels that spanned over thirty years and a story that spanned centuries.

Magician's End
My review of Magician's End is later than I planned. I enjoyed Feist's latest novel but had a hard time, initially, to summarize my thoughts on this concluding chapter of the Midkemian universe. The story ends, not quite happily ever after but, with its cutesy and clumsy finish, M.E. wraps up thirty years of books and centuries of plot-lines into too neat a package.

Feist tried creating a mystery and answer to explain the magical powers at play but in the end we have no great mystery. Do not try to explain away magic. The magic and passion we have is lost when logic enters the mix. Remember what George Lucas did in Star Wars to explain the Force? We do not care.

Once the will to act and
to make decisions is removed from our heroes, they become pawns and are no longer the heroes we came to love.

Feist also revisited the Condoin birth line, and I understand why. From the Condoins came the foundation of the novels. The books were not just about Pug the Magician. Arutha and Lyam Condoin were noble and brilliant and had flaws and self-doubt.
The new Condoins are superheroes, the men who could do no wrong. Magician's End brought little intrigue, and little character development. Through repetition Feist tried to drive home the message that the Condoins, Hal, Martin and Brendan are such good boys.

Nothing they did went wrong.

In the first four books, Feist developed the characters and showed us they were noble and heroic, through action. Here we are told they are heroic. Over and over.

All in all Magician's End was a good book. I was relieved that it was detailed and lengthy unlike some of the later rushed novels. While predictable in some ways, it tied up many story lines. We knew how the story would end. We just didn't know how we would get there. Tell me if you didn't know who would be king.

While the novel capped many a story line that spread over these many novels, it was satisfying to a point, but missing its mark on others.
The last book in any series is often the hardest to read. And once read all we have are the pages staring back at us. With every expectation that was developed throughout the reading of the previous books we are left either frustrated or satisfied.

Magician's End
Magician's End was an enjoyable book. And a worthy end to thirty years of story telling. While not his best, M.E. is clearly not Feist's worst novel, and similar to the buildup in the previous couple novels, predictability aside, we are left waiting for the story to unfold until the final climax.
Seeing as how Feist brought back everyone, I would have liked to get Amos' take on things. Do you think that Magician's End was a fitting ending to the series?

Civil war is tearing apart the Kingdom of the Isles, for the throne lies empty and rivals are converging. Having spirited his beloved Princess Stephanie safely out of Roldem, Hal - now Duke of Crydee - must turn his attention to the defence of the ancient realm so that a king can be anointed by the Congress of Lords, rather than by right of might.

Elves and men must stand together, ancient heroes must rise again, dragons must fly and Pug, Magnus and the other magic-users of Midkemia must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if the world is to be saved

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