Book review: The Riftwar Saga (Series) by Raymond E. Feist

The Riftwar Saga Series by Raymond E. Feist
Publisher: Doubleday (1982, 1985 and 1986)
Pages: 681 + 432 + 430

Magician2SilverthornA darkness at Sethanon

I love to write about my favorite authors. To share my enthusiasm and get you as excited about their books as I am! Today I’ll be talking about the Riftwar Saga series by one of my favorite authors ever, Raymond E. Feist. I believe that his books were the first fantasy books I ever read. I don’t know exactly when that was anymore, but it could have easily been ten years ago or so. At that time I was (obviously) still living with my parents and I had a membership at the local library. I remember that there was this one female librarian that made a huge fuss every time I tried to get an ‘adult’ book as she called it. I was a child and should get my books from the junior section. To my defense that I already read all the interesting books in that section, she turned a deaf ear. Fortunately the other librarians were only supportive of my interest in books and soon I knew exactly when to come to avoid that specific librarian.

In that time, making book reservations still cost a huge amount of money (at least for young me), so I started reading the books by Feist in an almost random order. I would just pick the one that happened to be there. For the ones that have never heard of his work, he wrote about 10 series, each containing up to four books. As you can imagine, reading such an amount of books in a random order is quite the task. But, in the end this resulted anyway in the fact that in those years I read about all of his books. Because of this random reading, I have absolutely no clue anymore which ones I did and which ones I didn’t read. Only when I start a specific book, I remember whether I read them before. Luckily I now have a Goodreads account, so this won’t happen to me again. Ironically, the one book I know I never started was the first one of the first series, Magician (#1, The Riftwar Saga).

So a couple of weeks ago I decided that it was time to start this missing jewel. And you guessed it, after number one, I couldn’t stop anymore and I decided to read and review the other two books of the series (Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon) as well.

Magician start with the story of Pug, an orphan boy living in Crydee, one of the western outposts of the Kingdom of the Isles. He is apprenticed to a master magician, but soon finds out that learning magic isn’t that easy. When mysterious invaders from a rift in the fabric of space and time drag the Kingdom into war, he and his friend Tomas have to fight for what they’re worth and learn faster than anyone could’ve expected.
The sequel Silverthorn deals with an evil power that raises the dead in the Kingdom of the Isles. Prince Arutha has to do everything in his power to save his fiancee, and the kingdom. And of course Pug also snoops around the corner to play an invaluable role.
If that wasn’t enough misery for our heroes, the story continues to its climax in A Darkness at Sethanon. The final confrontation between Arutha and Murmandamus, who vowed to kill him, is epic. In the meantime Pug sets out on his own quest, which outcome will determine the fate of the world.

I have to admit that by reading Magician, some of the gaps in my knowledge of Midkemia were filled in. I never knew the story completely and many more details now make my vision of Midkemia a lot more complete.

Finishing the 1500 something pages in less than three weeks, is a good indication of how much I like these books, it is really fast for me! Especially since I’m always reading multiple books at the same time. It also shows that Feist doesn’t make things unnecessarily complicated and that result in some easy-to-read but very exciting books. The worlds and characters are super real and lovable. And even though the story is sometimes slightly predictable, the books are still very entertaining. Only point of critique: no strong female characters! Come on! But then these books were writing quite some time ago and I know for a fact that Feist makes it up in some of his other books.

If you are as enthusiastic as me after reading this series, here are the follow-up recommendations (which are even better as Feist becomes a more experienced author): continue with the Empire trilogy and then Krondor’s Sons. If you’re more up for a chronological order of events take a look here but beware, you’ll have to mix the different series quite thoroughly.

Final rating: ★★★★★

Are you also such a fan of Raymond E. Feist? Which of his books is your favorite?

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