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on 28 September 1999
As I have been in a reading frenzy of Feist books for the last year, from the Magician to the Sepentwar Saga, I found this book cleverly written but not as exciting as the first ones. Maybe that comes with a familiarity of characters, but Pugs characteristics and motives seems to be transparrent here. However, I can only applaud the way that Arutha, Dash, James and Patrick have been woved into this part of the story. Dealing with their own "ghosts" and the continuously moving events seems very real to life.
This is more of a set of personal struggles being overcome rather the the good guys against the bad guys kind of book. The only thing that really leaves me wondering about is, "who is Nakor?". His character and past are revealed more in this book than any other in the series, and yet you still find yourself knowing very little about him. Its that strange conflict, that again can happen in real life, that makes it such a point of interest.
I guess the whole of the books of the Serpentwar saga could have been reduced somewhat in volume, but now Feist has a set of people with real characters of their own. Not just puppets of the writers whims. I know he has written more books, and I want to read them, but I want to believe that the excitement will come back to his books.
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on 25 May 1999
I sometimes wonder what people really want. Any series as long running as this is bound to get somewhat familiar. IF anything, it's a tribute to Raymond E Feist that he can still entertain with this. In particular, I gotta say that I can never get tired of Nakor's whimsical view of life, no matter how much religious fervour he takes on. Sure, there are only so many times you can battle the Valheru, or grow characters that are already staggering. It was with this is mind that I was particularly pleased with the larger roles given to James & Dash, allowing relatively new characters to come more to the fore. It's no Magician, but then nothing is. It's still a damn good book, written in Feist's normal readable style, and is well worth the read, especially considering the lack of really good authors in this genre. Keep it up Raymond.
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on 21 September 2002
To be honest I agree with both the praises and criticisms of the book. Yes it was not the most original book, or ground breaking however it did expertly bring the end to an otherwise excellent series. Of course, it does not capture the Riftwar's magic but on it's own it is a superbly written series, and this last book was no exception.
Feist did not sell out and re-hash time-worn fantasy cliches. Instead he kept it real and believable and this was demonstrated in the unceremonial deaths of many key characters, keeping them real and brutal - not overdressing.
I was worried when reaching the end of the book as so much was going on with little pages left. However Feist created a well thought out and un-rushed conclusion. Although it has shamefully left the door open to further adventures (as has been noted), the truth is you want more...
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on 10 April 1999
I love the characters, I love the ideas - but what's the difference? What's new? So I don't mind authors debating with themselves a little in books but when that becomes a main focus it's ridiculous. It seems all the time was spent on Nakor's whimsical fantasies and religious revelations but little thought was given to developing a new and interesting plot. Please don't be another one of those churn-em-out authors whose readers keep buying in the hope that something new will appear. Although, full marks for the characters, they're still as lively as ever even though they're still just trying to bash up the ugly-buglies.
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on 22 March 1999
Feist is not only an excellent Fantasy author his books, especially this one, have the mark of a philosopher, and you should read this book if only for his original ideas on magic and evil. I found this, the fourth book in the Serpentwar saga a fitting conclusion with even more incredible action scenes that propel the reader into the world of Midkemia and the fight for good to overcome. The characters were again well-rounded and for all fans of Pug and Nakor, they feature for longer than in many of the other books accompanied by Tomas and Miranda. Other characters from the saga like Erik and Calis are central and their efforts for peace make for a book one cannot put down. The only flaw I can find is that the end is so intriguing I can't wait for the next saga. Feist is a brilliant author and gifted story-teller and the conclusion of his excellent Serpentwar saga is no exception
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on 1 December 1999
I have read other people's reviews and thought i was reading a different book. The serpent war saga was brillant and I enjoyed more than the riftwar saga. Feist's charactors got better and better as the saga went on and i think Shards did the saga justice.
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on 31 August 1999
I just finished reading this last week, after going back through the rest of the Serpentwar Saga to catch up. As usual its tremendously compelling reading, turning up excellent characters and scenes time and again, but I REALLY didnt like the ending. In my opinion, Feist is one of the best, behind Gemmell, Anthony, McCaffrey, and far outstrips Jordan and Eddings for quality. But the ending isnt very good. The entire buildup seems to disintegrate, with one of the major characters changing the entire course of events in just a few pages. And killing off characters for no good reason towards the end really doesnt help matters. All in all, it went a bit anti-climactic at the end, but the whole saga is excellent. Lets hope for more of the same in his next books, and if you're about to read this book, I suggest you stop reading about three quarters of the way through and assume it all turns out OK.....
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on 30 June 1999
OK, so the format is like most of his other books but lets face it - how many succesful authors can manage to keep each and every title fresh and new? Personaly I don't pick up a fantasy sequel and expect a deep, meaningful plot without repetition of ideas, all I want is to be entertained for a few hours and this book managed that. One thing I did enjoy is the break from the tradition where the nobles are the brave, wise world savers - Prince Patrick is a petulant child, unwilling to take advise from his elders and Arutha II is an untried administrator who is constantly plagued by the expectations of living up to his namesake. So, if you're expecting groundbreaking fantasy you will most likely be dissapointed - but if you just want a good read with some familiar characters then I fully recommend it!
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on 12 March 2016
Currently on a 'Fiest Fest' - reading all of his material in chronological order. All good so far.

Not a review of the book/story, more one of editing.
Normally when there's a change of character, location or significant 'fast-forward' in time the text is broken up by a few carriage returns or other device. That's not the case here, they're either missing or deliberately not included. Chapters seem more as signposts of progress rather than anything meaningful.

The result is characters and events shifting within a paragraph and if you're reading quickly you miss them, having to go back and re-read to catch-up/follow.

Such a simple thing but it really hampers the enjoyment of a good story.
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on 30 March 2009
This book, together with the three preceding books of the Serpentwar Saga, portrays a world rich in detail with a few lighter touches as relief. I found myself slowing down towards the end of each book - the highest accolade - as I didn't want the experience to end. Almost as good as the 'Empire' trilogy.Rides a Dread Legion (The Demonwar Saga): The Demonwar Saga Bk. 1Rise of a Merchant Prince: Serpentwar Saga Bk. 2Rage of a Demon King: Serpentwar Saga v. 3Daughter of the EmpireServant of the EmpireMistress of the Empire
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