April 14, 2012

A Ripping Good Yarn

I have been revisiting some of the books of my childhood recently. I read Magician years ago, probably about seventeen years ago or so. I loved it then and I read everything that was available from Feist at that time. I guess I wasn't as critical then as I am now so I thought it would be good to rejudge what I thought was an excellent book. Having read the book again I can say that I like Magician and I think the author describes why best: "it is a ripping good yarn". It isn't amazingly well written. The plot meanders somewhat and consists of far too much serendipity. The events are explained by the actions of Macros the Black, who is a rather vague Deus ex Machina. In later books Feist fixes this problem by providing far more details than we get here about the mysterious wizard. Looking only this book however and not knowing what happens later really reveals that Macros is a lazy character contrived simply to further the plot. The other characters are a journey through stereotypes. Orphans destined for great power, awkward boys turning to become great warriors are the meat and potatoes of the book. However there is a reason that these types of characters are stereotypes, people enjoy reading about them. Feist excels at creating a world, infact two worlds in this book. The story explores both of these and their interactions. This for me is what shines in this series and the later ones.

I would still recommend any who enjoy fantasy to read the book. A lot of what has been written by others since draws on this book for inspiration. So if you are in the mood for some light fantasy and a good story you won't go wrong wih this one.


  1. I read this one when I was in my primary school and I also have good memories. Might even reread it one day seeing that there are quite a few more books set in this universe by Feist.

  2. Great article. I reread this a few years ago, plot holes and dodgy characterisation aside, I think it's still a decent read. It's miles away in quality from his later stuff though!


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