Monday, September 26, 2011
A.R.R.U. II -- The Disappearing Magician
The last novel that I have finished was Raymond Feist's first, which became the beginning of the Riftwar Saga: Magician: Apprentice. I did not read the original edition, but the later, author's preferred edition. It's been recommended to me for years, partially because one thing that I've been telling people I wanted to read was fantasy that focused on a main wizard character, in addition to the obvious popularity of the series. There were things I enjoyed about the novel, but my greatest impression, unfortunately, is one of disappointment.
My disappointment mostly stems from the fact that the novel felt like a bait-and-switch to me. I expected a novel titled Magician: Apprentice to be mostly about the character who was the magician's apprentice, Pug. I had no trouble accepting that he was actually the central character in a cast of characters who were also important, but when he disappears about two-thirds (three-quarters? I'd have to go back and count) the way through and then never reappears in this novel, then not only are my expectations disappointed, but the unity of the novel seems to be endangered -- something that isn't terribly surprising in a first novel. I did care about the other characters, but with the character I cared the most about missing for so long, my patience was tested.
Some of my favorite scenes were those about Macros and Black and Rhuagh the dragon. Clearly the wizard Macros promises to be a recurring character of interest. To close this review note fairly, I add that I read two Feist novellas in Legends I & II, and I marked all those novellas that I thought stood out as good in the collections. Only four authors had their stories marked in both volumes, and Feist was among those four. So maybe I will overcome my disappointment and check out the second book, I don't know.
I'd appreciate feedback then on two questions:
1. What are stories that focus on a wizard that stand out as really excellent fantasy stories, and that shed some light on what it means to be a wizard?
2. Would the second Riftwar book give greater satisfaction to my desire to read a story that centers more on the wizard character(s)?