Fantasy novel full of magic, fantastic creatures and sprawling worlds

All West Sussex libraries remain closed until at least July 4.

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 6:10 am
Sam White
Sam White

Library teams are currently working on a strategy for how they might reopen safely.

In the meantime, we are keeping in touch with our county librarians – just as we have done throughout – by asking them about their favourite books. Chichester-based Sam White explains why his choice is Magician by Raymond E Feist.

“This book is a high fantasy novel full of magic, fantastic creatures and large sprawling worlds. It follows predominantly the story of two boys as they become adults and how they fit in the conflict that encompasses the majority of the book. We find out whether they become the great magician and warrior they’ve dreamed of being and how their actions shape the environment around them.

“A family member was the one who had the book originally – we often share which series we are reading in case it would be of interest. I first read this as a young teenager as I loved fantasy novels (and still do). It is the book I’ve re-read the most despite now knowing the plot incredibly well. It still feeds into the escapist part of me that is often what draws people to fantasy or science-fiction. To vicariously explore fantastical worlds with abilities that far surpass your own.

“The book contains a lot of the traditional fantasy races and tropes. There are elves, dwarves, magic and dragons blended so well into the narrative that I don’t feel people should be put off. It is also quite long which may discourage people further, but helpfully there’s a version where it’s split into two books – I believe this is how it was originally published. It’s almost two coming -of-age stories told through a fantasy novel. It breaks the mould in that it’s not a good versus evil story. Although there are antagonists, they are evil only in the sense that they are acting against the characters we focus on. Their motivations are explored heavily in the book and part of why it is so intriguing is seeing what makes them tick.

“It is the first of Raymond E Feist’s mammoth series which includes smaller cycles that revolve around different characters. There’s always an over-arching plot binding them all together and if I’m being brutally honest some of the middle works are not as enjoyable to read. They almost seemed formulaic or filler novels; with some character deaths that felt like they were added for the shock value, but were sprung upon you randomly. There wasn’t enough build-up for the payoff to be very rewarding.

“As far as I’m aware, there are currently no TV series or films of any of the novels by Raymond E Feist which is a real shame. It could do with a series similar in scope to Game of Thrones, but hopefully with a better ending as it’s already been written. It would also be much more light-hearted as Magician is a less adult fantasy compared to Game of Thrones. It’s more in line with Lord of the Rings in the tone – in case you were thinking I was reading a super violent, relationship-heavy fantasy in my early teens!

“I’m not quite sure why this particular title and series have stuck with me for so long.

“I’ve read arguably better written novels and ones with cleverer narrative devices etc. It probably just caught me at the right time and ticked a lot of boxes of what I like to read. The worlds and characters are so well described and incredible that even on subsequent reads it still feels new and exciting. To delve into familiar territory but pick up on things I wouldn’t have done previously, either due to being more observant and noticing different elements or reflecting on aspects that are topical at the time in my life.”

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