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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

 Other books you might like:

Book Review: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

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Title: Magician: Apprentice

Author: Raymond E. Feist

Series: Riftwar Saga #1

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry. Yet Pug’s strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.

The Review:

When customers approach me for a fantasy recommend, I always ask: have you read Feist? As the long-time favorite of my family, “Magician: Apprentice” is the book that first inspired my love of the genre. I’ve gone through hundreds of books since then, and it is still one of the best novels I’ve ever read. It’s got all of the elements I loved about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it is written in a much more vibrant and story-driven manner. I’m a stickler for good characters, and all of the characters in this series are incredibly well-developed and memorable. Elves, dwarves, dragons, and magic are all woven together in an adventure that will leave you eager for the next book.

This is the first book in the Riftwar Saga, and each book in the series is as good as the last.  If you would like an introduction to the fantasy genre, this is the novel for you. As for the hardcore fantasy fans, this book should definitely be on your list of “must-reads.”

Recommendations: As much as I loved this book, it’s hard to believe that I loved a trilogy by Feist and Wurts even more. Read the “Magician: Apprentice” and “Magician: Master” first, then take some time to read the “Daughter of the Empire” trilogy before moving on to the third Riftwar book (Silverthorn).

Other books you might like:

  • “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind
  • “Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks
  • “Wayfarer Redemption” by Sara Douglass
  • “Homeland” by R.A. Salvatore
  • “Dragons of Autumn Twilight” by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

by Niki Hawkes