Magician is the first installment in Feist’s highly popular and lengthy Riftwar Cycle, a 30 (!) -book saga that has its own, hard-earned place in the annals of fantasy. Riftwar Cycle had been only recently – in 2013 – ended with, nomen omen, Magician’s End. A fantasy cycle written over a period of 31 years… well, we’ve already seen something similar, even more than once, and I guess we should just be very thankful Feist is still in a good health.
Magician’s End has met with less than a hearty reception, and in this aspect is no different from several other recent Feist’s works. Magician, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish. It is THE book in Riftwar Cycle: the book which had started Feist’s career, which had introduced readers to the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan (apparently, there are even computer games set in Midkemia, which Feist then novelized and incorporated into his cycle), and last, but not least, the book which has become a fantasy classic and has inspired many other writers.
To be fair, Midkemia was not created by Feist alone – it was a product of many Thursday and Friday nights spent by Feist on RPG gaming with his university friends. Feist claims the inspiration for their imaginary world came mostly from D&D, but for me, a non-gamer, Midkemia smacks mostly of Tolkien’s Middle Earth (just as D&D does, actually). Here we have a world on a curiously medieval development level, hardly aware of its ancient history, but at the same time filled with magic, elves, dwarves and goblins, last dying dragons and feisty magicians (yes, I had to use this pun!).