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on 27 June 2013
You'll be sad when you read this book - sad because the saga has ended (we think, unless there are more Jimmy the Hand prequels), sad because you say goodbye to some much-loved characters, sad because Raymond Feist gives them - in most cases - a fitting finale and its worthy of emotion. You'll also be slightly sad that bits of it are needlessly reflective and maudlin, and an opportunity for Mr Feist to say goodbye to his favourite characters.

Still - I got through it in a few short hours and welled up a little. You definitely need to be a Feist / Midkemia fan, though. Tomas throws down some awesome moves in this book - after too long a break from the action!
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on 11 May 2013
Whew! That was a goodie.

After all the lazy, 180-page, phoned-in Riftwar novels we've had over the years, all the editorial mistakes, all the various, contradictory Big Bads we've had, "Magician's End" really pulls things together at the... well, at the *end*.

And it is an end. The final pages leave you in no doubt that although Midkemia may keep on spinning on its axis, the characters that we've grown to love over the decades have completed their stories. I *so* hope that Feist doesn't decide to reboot the whole thing for a final cash-in, because this is as good a finale as any fan of "Magician", "Silverthorn" and "Sethanon" could have wished for.

It's a long book -- more than 600 pages. You get the universe-scale drama -- Pug trying to figure out how to stop everything in existence from not going up in a puff of smoke -- and the human-scale story, too -- the conDoin brothers and their part in the civil war of the Kingdom of the Isles. You can't help but admire Ray's enthusiasm for this stuff; how many more ways can there possibly be to describe sieges or massed battles?

"Magician's End" is the first Riftwar book in a very long time that makes me really think that Feist has actually gone back and read his first books ("Magician", in particular). You get a few cameos from characters you didn't think you'd see again and namechecks of, well, pretty much every major character that's ever appeared over the years, from Princess Carline to Roo Avery. And FANTUS! It's nice to have them remembered.

I remember looking at the paperback of "Magician" back in 1984, flicking through it and gradually deciding to buy it as I mentally reapportioned my available cash reserves away from tubes of Refeshers and bars of Caramac. I was a Fantasy virgin, you see; the genre had never interested me before then. I can still see the book on the shelf of the local newsagent, chunkily taking up twice as much space as everything around it. It became my favourite book and I was thrilled to get it autographed by the great man when he did a signing session at Forbidden Planet when "Magician's End" debuted on May 5. Truthfully, he looked a teeny bit grumpy, didn't make much eye contact with the people buying his book and didn't look at me or hear a word I said when I muttered "Well done -- you did it!" to him. But that's okay. This book and the way he was able to bring the series around makes everything all right again.

Not perfect -- some of the dialogue, especially when it comes out of the mouths of kids, sounds stilted and a bit weird -- but what the hell. It's flipping great. Probably his best book since "Magician". Five stars and two thumbs up.
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on 8 May 2013
This is the final book of the series, in which the Kingdom of the Isles has been plunged into civil war by the death of King Gregory and the reluctance of the Congress of Lords to appoint his successor. Hal, Duke of Crydee, and his brothers Martin and Brendan, along with Jim Dasher Jamison and his grandfather Lord James are trying to prevent hostilities breaking out. At the same time Pug, Marcus, Nakor, as reincarnated by Belog, and Miranda, as reincarnated by Child, have been caught in a trap by the Adversary, and have been transported to a higher realm, and may not be able to return to save Midkemia.

Magicians End is a fitting finale to this epic fantasy series, which has spanned 30 years and 30 books consisting of series, collaborations and even a game tie-in series. The epilogue will be appreciated by those who have read and enjoyed the first book Magician. Magician's End is a very hard going book and feels much longer than it actually is; however, if you are a fan of the series DO NOT miss this book, as it ties up all the loose threads from throughout the rest of the series, whilst leaving the ability for a sequel series if Raymond E. Feist decides to.

My favourite characters are Pug and Thomas, as we have seen them grow and develop throughout the whole series, from youth's entering into apprenticeship, to the Greater Path magician Milamber and Ashen-Shugar, to the Duke of Stardock and consort of the Elven Queen, to what they are today.

I would only recommend Magician's End to those who have read and enjoyed the rest of the series, but would recommend this series to those who enjoyed King's Blades by Dave Duncan, and the Belgariad by David Eddings.
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on 21 June 2013
So, what started with "Magician" twenty five-odd years ago reaches its "End". The journey of Pug and Tomas concludes with a host of characters making an appearance from all the series. Those appearances are either in the thoughts and words of those who have made it to this last novel or actually feature in a series of small vignettes as part of a side trip through the nature of the Universe that is undertaken by Pug, Magnus, Nakor and Miranda.
This novel could easily see Feist indulge in a bit of self-congratulation and nostalgia. say he doesn't would be a lie because he does do the latter with all the old characters, yet tempers it with the ever-present "realistic" stories of the Kingdom's political struggles and civil strife. Whilst those of us who have been immersed in Midkemia, Kelewan and the "Circles" of other other dimensions can pretty much predict the plot of this last novel it is still written with a touch of excitement, a touch of melancholy. Yet, its ending leaves a door open for more novels should Feist ever choose to do so in a manner that leaves us with a small smile.
Great characters never quite go away and it is entirely plausible a glut of "spin off novels" might come out from associated authors, much as happened with TSR and the Dragonlance series.
Feist does drive himself into a bit of a corner with the theme of his plot. We are constantly told by Macros that the very substance of what everyone is trying to comprehend is far beyond the tiny imaginations of mortals, yet he then tries to describe it all for us. A touch of an oxymoron and, at times, we find the author tangling himself in knots as he has Macro cryptically leads the merry band of inter-dimensional travelers around the universe. As with any such philosophizing as the the Reason behind all things, it comes across as though this might be Feist's personal view as to the nature of the Universe. He does borrow heavily from the Greek myths; the construct and hierarchy of those Gods are reflected here, paralleled well, though hardly new.
I have to say my only regret with the entire series is that Tomas is not given more air time. We finally learn of his purpose and it is a major piece of the necessary steps for Pug to avert disaster; but he leaves Midkemia as much of a tantalizing figure as when he entered it as the soon of a cook in Crydee all those years ago.
The two plots - the first to save a Universe, the second to save a Kingdom entwine nicely in this novel and we find outselves equally interested in Hal, Martin, Ty, Jim Dasher, and Brendan as they prove themselves born to rule. The form of the Dread becomes clear, the Dragons have a fleeting moment with the Valheru, the cataclysmic ending not quite so fierce as all those pages ago when Pug had to destroy Kelewan.
It's been a fine series, Mr Feist. I hope some more comes, purely out of reading selfishness. You never quite want something you've grown up with to end. Nakor tells us:
"Honour without love is a pose, a hollow justification for your acts. It's not what you're willing to fight for, but what you'll gladly die to preserve: a brother, a wife, or your child."
....and, by the very end...this is the message Feist wants to give us all.
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on 25 July 2013
I have really loved this series, like many others I bought Magician and was hooked. Unfortunately, things lost their way and never quite got back on track. Magician's End is admittedly a no-win scenario; the end is either too final or too vague depending on your take, I get that, it's just that, for me, the journey was not what I expected. The Jimmy the Hand Mark4 routine, hokey old friend reunions, 'surprise' coronation, and way too much pseudo-scientific mathematical nonsense didn't work for me. I found myself skipping huge swathes of sections, which incidentally, often repeated themselves, and left me thinking why am I running through this book - not in a 3am must finish way but in a I've got to get over the finish line.

I think it's very hard to maintain the balance between old stagers/ traditions and new characters. The Magician was a fantastic work, and the extended edition is double the length of some of the later books. A lot of later characters were recuts of previous incarnations and, well, just not as good. I think it's time for the spin off as I don't think there's much in the tank.
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on 26 June 2013
Bought as a present, recipient has read many of the books written by this author and thought this was well up to previous standards.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 May 2013
Eleven years ago on a flight back from Florida I opened a book that I bought in a store on the way to the airport. By the time that 9 hour flight finished I had read that book in its entirety and I had discovered the beginning of a passion for all things fantasy. That book was called Magician.

Since that flight I have read every book written by Raymond E Feist that is set in the Midkemia universe and I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride. More than once I have reread the series and a couple of months ago I started again so that I would be ready for this final book.

I was both eager and nervous about this final outing for in his more recent novels I have seen the quality of Mr Feists work take a noticeable dip and nothing would pain more more than to say goodbye to Pug and Tomas in a way that was anything less than epic. I need not have worried.

This novel was a perfect example of the series as a whole. There was a great deal about it that was not special and at times a little dull. The civil war in the kingdom acted as distracting noise to me when going through this book and I sped through those pages trying to get to the meat of the story and the characters that I have come to love over the past decade of my life. I realised as I was reading this how apt this was as Raymond E Feist's series has always contained works that were less than special and bordering on mundane. But interspersed amongst those books were an equal number of moments that were so epic that they out shone the low points.

I found the same to be true with this book. The path that Pug and Tomas travelled was by far the more epic and grandiose path in this story. The tale that led to the end of this magnificent series was every bit as fitting as they deserved. Raymond E Feist has a wonderful take on existence and the philosophy behind life and he did a brilliant job in this book of summing up just how big a role these two men have played in this story.

At times when reading this book I remembered moments in Magician, the very first novel of this series, that seemed to have seamlessly lead to the final battle. Whether by accident or design it felt like fate and made the skin tingle as everything finally fell into place and the story reached an eventual conclusion.

I do not count what I consider to be the lesser story (the civil war and the battle for the crown of the kingdom) to be a major flaw in this book as without such lows the highs would not seem so great. Contrasted with that lesser story, the greater story shone all the brighter and it is by far the best ending I have ever read for a long running series (that includes both the Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth Series that were great in their own right).

The one flaw that will niggle at me with the book was the slight vagueness to the fate of Pug and the open ended epilogue of this novel. It left me with a question in mind which robbed the book of the finality it was so powerfully driving towards. But that is small flaw in an otherwise great novel.

So many times a great series is ruined by a poor ending, but not here. So if you are a fan of Feist's work you won't be disappointed. But if you haven't ever read any of his novels then I urge you to pick up Magician today. It will be a long ride until this final instalment but when you close the back cover on Magician's End, you won't be disappointed.
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on 1 June 2014
Undoubtedly a well-written book, but with a great deal of reference back to the history of the Rift War. I am a fast reader (around 500 wpm) but relaxing time is a small part of my day and so a book of this size gets taken in medium sized bites and the previous three books had been spread over something like ten months with several of Mr. Feist's other series in between. This is a book for serious fantasy historians with a reliable memory of the associated books.

I suspect that it is the fault of the readers' market, but books have been getting physically larger year by year to cater for the preference of the readers for thick books (I think the 70,000 word novel is gone forever) and the author has the task of filling this much larger bucket. The size of the bucket inevitably leads to the author working hard to create a river with a great number of tributaries -- and the need for a great deal of back reference. Magician's End is nevertheless a very good book but exhausting.
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on 24 June 2013
Having read all his books since they first came out I have found last few have not been up to standard. I only bought this book because having read so many I wanted to complete the set. It is not bad and it finishes off the story however it is nowhere near the quality of his earlier books.
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I started reading Feist when a friend lent me the Wurts and Feist trilogy The Complete Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Mistress of the Empire, Servant of the Empire at school twenty years ago (he has never returned to being as entertaining as those). I think the only reason I keep on reading them is habit as the quality has gone off a cliff over time. The grammatical errors in his books are embarrassing, but his last work (A Crown Imperiled (Chaoswar Saga)) even had the wrong characters doing the wrong things.

This final volume was less awful: the characters were right and, apart from repeated failures on tenses, the grammar was better; the constant thanks to editors in his books has often seemed ironic. I enjoyed the sense of drama and confrontation and having grown up with Pug was touched by his ending.

I was unimpressed by Feist's foray into metaphysics: the importance of the One felt like half-baked Pythagorean or Neo-Platonic numerology and lacked any real meaning. I was happy in The Complete Riftwar Saga Trilogy: Magician, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon when we fought the Enemy/Valheru and their minions, I accepted their turning out to be a tool of Nalor, I was horrified by the angelic army of A Crown Imperiled, but to now be given yet another level was bizarre.

The sense of closure and of things coming full circle was managed with all the subtlety of a blunderbuss: "my friends call me Pug" oh Lordy Lordy Lordy

Perhaps the truth is I should have stopped after the fabulous first series (Magician, Silverthorn, Sethanon) and never allowed my adult self to continue this.
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