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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatest hist, but well done
I bought this for my partner. He loved it, as he has done so with all Feist's books, but felt it was a little bit "Feist By Numbers".
Published on 22 Jun. 2010 by Paul S. Gibbs

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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kerching! Money for old rope....
Sorry but I was really disappointed by this novel, given the fact I borrowed it from my local library for free I am baffled as to why I feel I have been ripped off.... but I do feel that way, and my sympathies go out to anyone who has paid anything like the full asking price for this piece of waffle. I really quiet enjoyed the 1st novel in this duology, yes it was a bit...
Published on 31 Jan. 2010 by Mr. A. J. D. White


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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kerching! Money for old rope...., 31 Jan. 2010
By 
Mr. A. J. D. White - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Sorry but I was really disappointed by this novel, given the fact I borrowed it from my local library for free I am baffled as to why I feel I have been ripped off.... but I do feel that way, and my sympathies go out to anyone who has paid anything like the full asking price for this piece of waffle. I really quiet enjoyed the 1st novel in this duology, yes it was a bit slow and nothing really happened, but it was crammed full of exposition, back ground bumf and a feel of menace about bad things coming to Midkemia. It was a perfect set up novel for a new series of novels, with a bit of a shocking twist at the end; basically it did the trick of whetting my appetite for this and subsequent novels.

However the pay off that should have been delivered in this novel just didn't happen, and not only did it not happen but neither did anything else really, and even then lots of little things are just plain daft, unbelievable, inconsistent and or wrong. Pug goes from grief to some whinny little emo toddler who has occasional flashes of angst that are forgotten about the instant anything important needs to be done. Magnus is as 2D as ever, as are many of the supporting cast, Sandrenna seems more upset at a holiday romance gone wrong than she does about the guy who pimped her out as a 'young girl' and then sold her into sexual slavery. We have a Illusionist who suddenly becomes a Conjurer, maybe that came with the amnesia that had said magic user forget that had opened/used rifts in the previous novel. We have a sudden 'deus ex machina' book introduced that reveals on going plot, but no real thought is given into who/how this book was created, nevermind the poor plot devices that were used to get the book into Pug and co's hands (personally I think Feist turned in a manuscript that was a couple of chapters short so went back and wrote this story in afterwards just to pad out a rather sparse novel). Lets not forget characters who change name, the handy armies ready for call at a moments notice (apparently without their commanders even noticing they went fought demons and presumably died in significant numbers), the worlds most powerful man and his reluctance to do anything.

I suppose what makes me most angry about this novel is the fact that Feist can still write compelling books (Rides a Dread Legion proved that to me), when he bothers he can create compelling characters, his has a flair for action that is understated (in comparison to some other authors) but still thrilling... Its just that as he has done so often he has turned in a half baked book and his editors have let it slide and his publishers have published knowing that us fans will not be able to stop ourselves from buying and reading Mr Feist's new novels.

Personally I wish Feist would give the whole 'Magician universe' a rest and go and write a book or 3 in a completely new universe and get some of his flair back and then come and bring what is still one of the best multi-book sagas to a fitting conclusion.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars what a disappointment!, 6 Mar. 2010
I can only repeat what others have said - being a die-hard Raymond Feist fan from the beginnings of Pug in "The Magician", this book, "At the gates of Darkness", being the second "and FINAL" part of the Demonwar saga left me completely flat and so disappointed. What on earth was it all about? I will admit that it did initially have potential but that sort of petered out before I had read half of this book with a lot of (to me) unecessary character developments and, as noted elsewhere, by a lot of "walking around"! I do hope that I may be mistaken and that this book has been a "filler" (maybe due to publisher pressure??) for MUCH better things ahead ... who knows.
I rated it with 'one star' as there is no facility for zero stars, which means that I could not, in all honesty, recommend it to anyone, Feist-fan or not. In some of Feist's previous books I have simply had to read on and on with that "can't put it down" factor that leads you from chapter to chapter. In this book, I actually got fed up and bored and, at one point, had to go back to re-read part of "rides a dread legion" to find out what was supposedly going on. That may be old age on my part or it may be poor story construction ...

Finally, and one of my main bug-bears - did anyone actually proof-read this manuscript? There are numerous examples of poor grammar, spelling mistakes and punctuation howlers - I would have thought that Harper Collins would have been able to ensure a professional job was done.
For example, "you're" instead of "your" and also, the final sentence of the book actually makes no sense without a comma - "The conversation ceased leaving them in silence." Huh??? (That actually means that the conversation made some noise!).
Try, "The conversation ceased, leaving them in silence". - better perhaps?
These are fundamental English language mistakes that I would only expect to see in a hand-written manuscript from a 5 year-old, and even then, most 5 year-olds would probably do better!

The take-home message: Get your act together for a better storyline, more compulsive reading (ie. a less wearisome plot for starters) and someone who can actually proof-read (something I have done for many years!), unless you wish to lose faithful followers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed..., 27 Feb. 2010
By 
A. Bush (new york) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
after reading this book i feel feist should just end it and move on to another world/characters/storyline.. i read the book in one day and i cant really remember anything significant about this book to be honest.. NOTHING sticks out, except it was a boring read. :( i cant even remember any action scenes.. tomas did NOTHING THIS BOOK.. the characters are becoming non exciting now. all of the interesting characters are gone... macros, nakor, jimmy the hand, miranda, rek, and the ones that remain sort of interesting are doing NOTHING. :( none of the new characters stick out, unfortunately.. they are just there.

i think its about collecting money now.. this saga has run its course. JUST END IT, PLEASE...

Feist ranks in my top 5 of authors. others being, george rr martin. david eddings (RIP), tracy hickman and margaret weis, terry goodkind.
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107 of 116 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Phoned In, 7 Jan. 2010
By 
C. Hurley (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The only reason you would read this book is if you're a long time Feist fan. If you're not then you're missing out on 28 years of continuity, characterisation and story so head back to the start. If you're a long time Feist fan you'll more than likely be aware of the drop in length of his books since the end of the Serpant War Saga. This continues here with a book even shorter than its predecessors; scraping in at just over 300 pages. A shorter length, however, doesn't mean a poorer quality book, just that you'll be getting less than normal. This is the second, and last book, of the Demonwar Saga, and considering the first book (Rides a Dread Legion) felt like the first third of a story (all set up and exposition with little, if any payoff) you know there's a lot to cover in this shorter book.

The plot details the hunt for Belasco, brother of Sidi, and the Conclave of Shadow's attempts to stop him from raising Demons, in particular a demon named Dahun, and bringing about the destruction of Midkemia. All in all, pretty standard fare at this point in Midkemia history. However it's the characters we've come to know and love which keeps fans reading. But ultimately these characters are done growing. There is little in the way of characterisation in this book; the two Taredhel brothers introduced in the first book don't do much, they are simply reacting to things throughout. Their history is not drawn upon to create any dialogue; most of the time they merely ending up pointing at the next plot point and saying "What's that?" "Let's check it out." and then discovering some piece of Deus Ex Machina. Sandreena, a Knight Adament introduced in Rides a Dread Legion, is given the only thing which could amount to character development in the book. However her turn from distrusting men (save a few in her Order) due to her treatment as a child and teen, to trusting the (thanks to the death of Miranda) all male Conclave of Shadows comes after finding out that her entire life has been manipulated by half of the people in the top echelon of the Conclave. It seems ridiculously quick and thrown in because Feist ran out of space at the end of the book and needed the Status Quo to be maintained.

The primary characters fare worse; Pug, left reeling after the death of his wife Miranda, now fears for the safety of Magnus, his son. This does not stop him throwing Magnus into fights, or indeed alter his decisions at all, thus making Miranda's death feel like nothing more than a cheap shock tactic. Magnus, unfortunately, came into the books as they were being shortened and thus has never had much in the way of a character to begin with. We are told, again, that he is cold and impersonal, because of an incident as a young man with a woman. However, this is still left undeveloped and his character continues to feel like simply a tool; he helps Pug win battles against demons to show how strong the demons are, but doesn't really do anything himself.

Possibly the most annoying moment in the book comes when Tomas shows up, in Elvandar. Once again he says he's the most powerful being on the planet, and that only Pug can beat him, but once again he does absolutely nothing. At all. It's in all actuality a cameo appearance which does absolutely nothing to forward the action, the suspense, the plot or the characters involved in the scene.

The writing is poor, made all the worse when you remember how experienced Feist is at writing. In describing the demon Dahun, Feist uses the exact same description three times in the book. The gore present in At The Gates of Darkness is banal, never really shocking since Feist sticks to describing the deaths of characters we never learn anything about; they are simply described by race. Also, if Feist can't tell the difference between your and you're, then there's hope for every fourteen year old on YouTube to get published. Perhaps the most shocking piece comes during the introduction of plot device/character Keandar the dwarf. He appears in two chapters in the book, but the second time he's called Kendra. When the writer can't keep track of character names you know you're in serious trouble.

I wondered at the end if Feist has an editor anymore. Probably not considering how many books he's sold, but even still someone along the way must have read this prior to publication, someone must have noticed the inconsistencies, the at times poor grammar, the lack of any characterisation... if they did, they didn't say anything. This, combined with the short length, makes for a boring, at times painful, but short read.

There's not a lot more to say about this book. Fans of the series will not doubt want it, mostly just to see how the story ends and what happens to the characters we've been reading about for over twenty years. All I can say to you is don't buy this book, get it from a library, or simply read the plot summary online. Aside from one tiny semi-development on the nature of demons, there's nothing worth reading here, even for the hardest Feist fan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment...., 22 Feb. 2010
By 
C. Bell "Col Bell" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As is the case with many other loyal Feist fans, that have known and loved characters such as Pug and Tomas since Magician, I eagerly await publication of each new book he writes. This was no different but after finishing the book just now, I felt let down and generally unhappy after parting with my hard earned cash for what is in my view a poor offering. The story feels rushed and lacking in depth, as are the characters. There are no real moments of note and excitement - in fact the only real action happens in the last few chapters. It must be a filler book in preparation for the next series however that isn't an excuse for such a weak effort. Feist's considerable descriptive prowess is hardly evident, and rather than enthrall and engage, the book enduces ambivolance towards the majority of it's charcaters. There are even grammatical errors that have been missed?? In my opinion it's a poor effort from someone who we know can deliver so much more. A big improvement is required for the next book by Feist and his editorial team. In summary, "what a disappointment."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terribly disappointing, 8 Feb. 2010
By 
R. K. Cole "Aging Gamer and Book Worm" (Stoke-on-Trent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Others have said, at considerable length, just how poor this book is in comparison to the vast majority of Feist's other novels. I can only agree wholeheartedly, and add my own comment that this book should never have been published - it's dire; I had to force myself to finish it in the vain hope that it would pick up towards the end.

The majority of the action centers around some of the lesser - in terms of both importance and more importantly interest - characters, and not a lot actually happens. You can only have so many "we've killed this evil menace, but there's obviously another, EVEN MORE EVIL MENACE behind all this!!!" before it all gets too samey.

Given the drop in relative quality for this book, I wouldn't be surprised if Feist hadn't actually written it himself. Either way, if the next novel is on a par then it will be the last novel of his that I'll read - which would be a massive shame given how fantastic Magician was when it was released way back when.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Save your cash, 27 Feb. 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
When it comes to fantasy authors there are names that are recognised the world over. Perhaps, in the current market one of the best well known living writers is Raymond E Feist who manages to turn out novel after novel in his successful Midkemia series every year. What has won him fans the world over is his attention to detail, top notch characters and giving the readers what they want, a story to while away the hours with, accompanied with some wicked twists that leave them hanging on by their finger tips. Whilst this is certainly true of his epic debut, Magician, at this point in the series I really wouldn't advise anyone new to start here, so in certain respects its only really fans who will probably read this review.

As such I'm probably wasting my breath but in an effort to save some their cash I feel its only fair to let people know about the problems. Firstly this doesn't feel like a rounded novel, it feels rushed almost as if the author knows that because his name is on the cover it will sell no matter what dross is placed within. It show's there's massive errors grammatically which personally I felt should have been picked up upon and near enough identical passages of description repeated. The plot is pretty thin and a lot of interesting area's that could have been explored have been left well alone just to get the story to a point where he wants to pick it up next time. Add to the mix a measly 322 pages and it feels like a pretty tight offering for the best part of £20. Definitely a book to get from the library if you have to read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For Feist Fans Only, 7 Feb. 2010
By 
John Kingston (Derbyshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
First, the good points: the story rollicks along with enough action to keep boredom from setting in. And it refers back to a couple of incidents from previous books that seemed unimportant at the time and adds some new details ... so will these be significant in the grand scheme of things?

Now the negatives:

This book suffers from being the second in a trilogy ... it rehashes a lot of the first book, and provides an abbreviated 'ending' to set us up for the main conclusion of the saga in the third book. Except I've just realised there is no third book in the trilogy, so this short book (what's the opposite of epic?) is about it. I feel robbed of the end of what could have been a decent story to match Feist's earlier work.

For the first time in a long time, Feist introduces no new major characters in this book. And while it's nice to have 'old friends' back, we don't learn much more about them.

I found the ending faintly ridiculous ... for some reason, it reminded me of a Terry Pratchett Discworld book.

There's roughly one spelling or grammar error per chapter, including a body that was 'ridged' (rather than rigid), and the rather wonderful "plumes of died horsehair".

In summary: if you're one of those following Feist's books in order, you'll want to read this. Otherwise, give it a miss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre & Dissappointing, 2 April 2010
This is by far Feist's poorest work and flounders miserably! "Rides a Dread Legion" was a distant shadow of Feist, but at least there were some intriguing threads developing! But in this book, Feist just fails to deliver! Firstly, this does not merit a second volume and should have been included in the preceding book. Secondly, this just feels incomplete with many issues terminated abruptly without a satisfactory conclusion or explanation. Themes remain incomplete and pending, the characters are even more lost and thin, and there is no closure! The writing and syntax is poor, descriptions lacklustre and cursory, and no new twists or turns to grip you. All in all very disappointing!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How sad that such a great author should sell himself short, 21 Jun. 2010
This will be a short review but I agree with all the previous reviewers of this book. This whole series of stepped publications, from 'Talon of the Silver Hawk', which started this series, have been like the curates egg, good in parts (in fact very good) but not in others.

It is so disappointing to see someone who has written such briliant books that grip from start to finish and who now seems to have become a little cavalier about his wide fan base and has chosen to sell his amazing imagination in producing what would be a series of chapters in previous books, as an entire publication.

I hope he can regain his original brilliance and amaze us all once more.
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At the Gates of Darkness (The Riftwar Cycle: The Demonwar Saga Book 2, Book 26)
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