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Book Review: Wrath of a Mad God by Raymond E. Feist

1196299Title: Wrath of a Mad God

Author: Raymond E. Feist

Series: The Darkwar Saga #3

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Overview: The Darkwar rages upon Midkemia and Kelewan, bringing bleak days of destruction and despair. To save the future of both worlds, the powerful sorcerer Pug and select members of the secretive Conclave of Shadows must journey deep into the dangerous realm of the bloodthirsty Dasati, there to carry out an audacious mission that has little, if any, chance of succeeding. In Midkemia, young warriors Tad and Zane, and their fellow soldiers, protect the Kingdom from raiders. And Pug’s beloved wife, Miranda, finds herself a prisoner of the Dasati and, even more ominously, of Pug’s nemesis, the evil sorcerer Leso Varen. Salvation may come from a friend thought long dead, an unlikely ally whose remarkable powers will be sorely needed in the momentous battle to come . . . a final, fevered onslaught against the most malevolent agents of evil ever known.

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The Review:

Feist’s books have a special place in my heart as they were the novels that introduced me to the world of fantasy. I love his plots, his settings, and his characters. They are all memorable and dynamic and the main reason why I pick up each new book. These later works by Feist contain a great balance of new and old, which I love because it keeps the story both fresh and nostalgic at the same time.

As sad as I am to say it, I think Wrath of a Mad God was my least favorite novel so far in the 20+ list of books from him that I’ve read. I loved the premise for this story, but I had a little trouble with the concepts. They seemed a bit self-indulgent, requiring a great deal of explaining. When you need it fifty or more pages to explain to your audience what’s going on (especially so far in a series where the framework of the world and its realities are already pretty well-established) your concepts might be a bit too convoluted.

Another thing I noticed with this book (which I can’t decided if it’s a good or bad thing) is the fact that the series as a whole has slowly transformed from fantasy to science fiction. There is no space travel, but people from different worlds still find ways to interact through magical rifts and wrinkles in dimensions. While this shift in genre is interesting, part of me misses the epic fantasy feel of his earlier works.

Overall, I am slightly dissatisfied, but only when comparing it to the standard of other Feist novels. Nostalgia aside, I should also mention (without spoilers) that the ending of this book blew my mind and I genuinely can’t wait to see what happens next!

Recommended Reading: I usually hand the first book (Magician: Apprentice) to anybody wanting to try fantasy. It’s an excellent representation of the genre, and one I think fans of Terry Brooks and David Eddings would enjoy. Also, for any Feist fans who haven’t yet made it this point – keep reading, it’s worth it!

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Into a Dark Realm by Raymond E. Feist

Title: Into a Dark Realm

Author: Raymond E. Feist

Series: Darkwar Saga #2

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The OverviewThe Conclave of Shadows has smashed the Nighthawks’ dread plot to destroy the Empire of Great Kesh, but the mad sorcerer Leso Varen hides on the world of Kelewan, and vicious Dasati warriors mass to invade. Sorcerer Pug, Magnus, Nokor, and disturbing Bek, full of bloodlust and uncanny strength, seek the solution in the heart of the Dasati Empire.

The Review:

Feist’s works are always impeccable and I’m hard-pressed to identify anything I don’t like in his stories. “Into a Dark Realm” was no exception, and in fact exceeded my expectations with its creativity and complexity.

What I liked about it was the total transportation into another realm. It provided a culture immersion that I haven’t really seen since his “Daughter of the Empire” trilogy written with Janny Wurts. This time, however, the world we got to explore was of another dimension -that of the Dasati. Following a male warrior from that evil and twisted world, we get to learn the mentality behind their rather brutal lifestyles. I really got caught up in the fascinating culture offered within this book, and found it to be one of my favorites in the entire saga.

As always, the characters are well-rounded with a nice balance between long-time beloved characters and the introduction of new ones. The story bounces back and forth between the multiple plot-lines seamlessly, maintaing my interest with each transition.

Overall, for the middle book in a trilogy, it advanced the plot nicely – revealing just enough to help build the momentum towards what promises to be an amazing conclusion!

by Niki Hawkes

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