David R writes a love letter…
Magician was a chance purchase at a university book sale. I bought it purely because it was a fantasy novel and was most probably good value. (It’s a lot of book for the £2 they were asking in the book sale.)
I was hooked almost as soon as I started reading. Right from the beginning when we’re introduced to the two young boys who will be the principal characters, Pug and Tomas, the story is compelling, and it stays compelling as they grow into men with powers that will shape the destiny of two worlds.
A new approach to fantasy
One of the best things about Magician is that it doesn’t follow the same formula that’s common to much of the fantasy genre, largely because, as Feist himself has admitted, he had no idea what the rules were when he wrote it. By all normal standards it shouldn’t work. There are too many characters, the timeframe it spans is too long. But when you’re reading it, none of that matters, because at its core there is simply a great story that is almost impossible to put down.
An object lesson in how to introduce a fantasy world
The opening chapters are a brilliant example of how to introduce a new fantasy world, By starting out in a very normal setting, and then introducing all the great fantasy elements to the reader at the same time as the main characters discover them, you (the reader) can share in their wonder at meeting a Dragon for the first time, or learning about magic. And that wonder never really leaves them — regardless of the challenges they face or the powers that they gain, the characters underneath are never forgotten, and while they evolve as a result of what they have experienced, you can still see the traits that made you relate to them and like them at the beginning.
Serendipity for readers
As things turned out, that chance book-sale purchase ended up being one of the best book choices I’ve ever made. As a result I’ve had many hours of reading pleasure, not only from this book, but also from the 30 or so other books that Feist has written or co-written in the same setting.
I’ve bought, read and re-read all of them, and all because my eye fell on this book rather than something else. In the end, I think that says everything about how great Magician is.
About the author of this love letter
David R is an avid reader of fantasy and just about anything else he can lay his hands on, both fiction and non-fiction. He works in IT.
In his spare time he drives fast cars and follows Manchester United.
At Libertà, we’re delighted to have our first love letter to a fantasy novel. David’s £2 version was probably the original 1982 edition (cover above) which had been cut by about 50,000 words by the editors. Ten years later, the “author’s preferred edition” was published with the cuts restored. Whichever version you read, it’s a fabulous story. Many thanks to David for telling us about it.