Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Magicians End Magician's End
by Raymond E. Feist
Harper Voyager

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten
Jacqui Smith

Magician’s End marks the end of Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar cycle that began with Magician back in 1982 and thus poses some difficulty to this reviewer as the potential to throw out a spoiler is very high. As befits the ending to this long sequence of novels, Magician’s End is a big book weighing in at over 630 pages successfully tying in several threads, some begun in the original trilogy, and leaving none hanging.

If one is looking for a central character to Magician’s End, then it must be Pug. Chapters loop out to the ConDoin sons of Crydee and their involvement in a succession struggle for the crown of the Kingdom of the Isles, but the real action is with Pug as he (in concert with other magicians) strives to drive back an incursion of the Dread into Midkemia.

Around the middle of this book Mr Feist changes his style from separate chapters for his viewpoint characters to separate sections within each chapter, later up scaling to alternating and rotating sections for changing point of view as the action in the two complementary storylines each come to their crux points.

Magician’s End is a fitting farewell to Midkemia and a successful conclusion to the final trilogy begun with A Kingdom Besieged.

- Simon Litten

Here am I, complaining about fantasy writers and their endless series they refuse to bring to a proper conclusion – and here is Raymond Feist, who has apparently decided to do just that with the Riftwar series.

I can remember reading the beginning of Pug’s story in Magician when it first came out in the early 1980’s, and I know I especially enjoyed the Empire trilogy because of its resemblance to the role-playing game Empire of the Petal Throne, which we were very much into at the time. It was no coincidence – it’s well known that Feist’s early work was based on the role-playing games he was involved in. How else would you get a lead character named Pug?

I confess that I’ve not read much of the Riftwar for years now. So, it was a bit of a surprise to find Magician’s End sitting in my books-to-read box. It must have been a serious challenge to write this final book, to attempt to tie up all the loose ends, to make sure that long-dead favourite characters get to say their piece, bring everything to a proper climax, and at the same time make a decent novel of it. Oh, and devise a fitting fate for a certain magician.

I can’t say what that is, because that would spoil it for you, but it worked well enough for me. It’s a lot for one book to achieve, and although it seems a bit contrived at times, it does mostly succeed. I will admit that he lost me a bit in a few places, but the battle scenes were some of the best I have ever read (complete with a nod to Tolkien’s King Theoden in the fate of Prince Edward). So, nicely done, Mr Feist… and this time we won’t be asking for more.

- Jacqui Smith

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