Book Review: A Darkness At Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist

A Darkness At Sethanon

Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Riftwar Saga
Author Info: http://crydee.com

Warning: May contain mild spoilers for the previous 3 books of the series.
Review for the first two books (which were combined into a single big book in later editions)
Review for the third book

This is the last book of the Riftwar Saga, where the epic conclusion of the battle between Arutha and Murmandamus takes place. Pug and Tomas return in all their glory, Macros the Black also makes a cameo, while Jimmy the Hand truly shines as a character. We finally see a strong female character in the series: The badass warrior lady Briana. She is not a beautiful princess like Carline and Anita, nor is she a damsel in distress. I really liked this character.

Guy de Bas Tyra, who was the horrible villain in Magician, displays some hardcore badassery in this book. I am not going to say more for the sake of keeping this review spoiler free, but I was impressed with his battle skills. Villain or not, the man is the finest general in all the Western realm as they say!

The fortified city of Armengar (and I mean really fortified!) was another element in this book which made my epic battle geek self drool. It is quite original both with its structure and its culture. I have not seen any place quite like it in any other fantasy book I have read to date (and I read a lot of fantasy books!) It’s perhaps one of the best cities in the entire fantasy genre. The battle there was truly magnificent and I know for a fact that any military/battle geeks will appreciate it.

The other awesome place featured in this book is the City Forever and its garden where Pug and Tomas travel to sort out some chaotic situation. The other new character we meet is the dragon Ryath, Tomas’s ride. The epic battle waged by Pug, Tomas and Ryath in the garden of City Forever is well done and a great joy to read.

We get to learn more about the elf races and the mysterious godlike race of Valheru through Tomas’s flashbacks, and those scenes are quite interesting also, with a tinge of dark fantasy.

All in all, this is a great book, packed with action, neatly wraps up everything from the previous books, features a strong female character, dragons and epic battle scenes.

Rating: 4.5/5 Roman Solidus

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Book Review: Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist

Silverthorn

Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Riftwar Saga
Author Info: http://crydee.com

Warning: This review may have some minor spoilers for the first book of the series.
Review for the first two books (which were combined into a single big book in later editions)

This book features a typical damsel in distress plot, which leads to a bigger, dark lord plot to continue in the third book. Even though the plots are nothing special, the characters, the dialogs and the adventures make up for it. Jimmy the Hand and Macros the Black really shine here. Jimmy, the beloved favorite of many Riftwar fans, is the superstar of this book. Arutha is also pretty awesome. Thought I liked Jimmy and Arutha from the first book, I really bonded with these two after reading Silverthorn.

Pug’s return to Kelewan and the grand adventure waiting for him are also well done. There is romance, action, adventure and heroic quests in Silverthorn. The female characters are weak and cliche, but I can promise you will see stronger, much more realistic female characters in the latter books of the Riftwar universe. The story moves along smoothly, and even though I found the plots cliche, considering the fact that the series was published in the 80’s, this is not a huge drawback for me. Comparing it to the modern fantasy series, which have much more complicated characters and complex plots would not be appropriate. Same goes for the Dragonlance Chronicles. This is why I’m giving it 4 stars, for I tend to judge the books by the era they were published, thus it would not be right to expect the complexity we see in the books published much later. Besides, reading the growth of Jimmy the Hand character is quite enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5 Roman Solidus

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Book Review: Magician by Raymond E. Feist

The Thousandfold Thought

Genre: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Series: The Riftwar Saga
Author Info: http://www.crydee.com/

First published in 1982, the Riftwar Saga has been one of the classics of the fantasy literature for decades. I have re-read this series a few times, as I did Harry Potter, LOTR and the Icewind Dale Trilogy. It’s one of those timeless, precious classics. The characters are very lively and reading their development is quite enjoyable. Krondor has always been one of my favorite cities in fantasy literature. It is magnificent and very realistic with its rich and poor quarters, and it has that legendary Thieves’ Guild which has no doubt influenced the Thieves’ Guilds in many video games.

Raymond Feist has done something different here and created two entirely different worlds. Midkemia, which is the main world, is based on medieval Europe, but the other world Kelewan is somewhat similar to Japan with its Samurai-like culture, however its complex political structure and some elements of the culture are not even remotely like anything we know in the real world. It’s very foreign and quite different. It also has a completely original non-human race. The originality and the meticulous details of the world are quite striking.

My favorite characters from this book (and the Riftwar series in general) are prince Arutha, Amos Trask (whose presence is not much in this book but he gets to steal the show later in the series), Pug, Tomas, Macros the Black and the mysterious huntsmaster Martin.

If you love D&D you will appreciate this book (and the series in general) cause Feist’s D&D background is evident in his writing. If you are a lover of the fantasy genre and still haven’t read this, I suggest dropping everything else and getting a copy right away, for it’s one of the finest pieces of the entire fantasy genre. It’s also available on Kindle, unlike some other books by Raymond E. Feist, which are available only as hard copy due to copyright issues after the publishing house mergers (I asked Raymond Feist on Twitter why they were not available in Kindle/Nook, and he was kind enough to explain the reasons.)

So even more reason to read it, since the author is such a nice and down to earth person.

Rating: 4.5/5 Roman Solidus

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