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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2014
As usual, Modesitt's unique first person story telling continues from the Imager's Portfolio.

It's very in depth and highly political... but gripping. If you love the first book you will love the second.
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on 4 December 2009
Again, another excellent read from this great US author. Extremely well written second book in the imager series. Greatly enjoy the development of the main characters and the usual clear and crisp prose of Modessit, amazing how he continually puts out great books. Highly recommend to all fantasy readers and can't wait for the next book in this series.
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on 18 January 2010
L.E. Modesitt Jnr. provides a seamless continuation from Imager, the first book of the Imager Portfolio. This is an easy book to read mainly because the central characters continue from the first Imager book. The additional characters of this book are easily picked up by the author's sound characterisation. The central theme of the plot is discernable early on in the book but there are sufficienty side plots to make the build up to the central climax event interesting. The pace of the book is typical Modessit with a long and careful build up to the crisis point in the last few pages and then falling away to a short placid ending. My only negative comment is that Modessit is not strong on desribing male-female relationships but with such strong charaterisation this is not a problem. I am loooking forward to the next book of the series.
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You may recall that I really enjoyed L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s Imager a while back, going so far as to claim that the book could well be the best and most accessible series' opener the author ever came up with. The sequel remained on my "books to read" pile for months, and I knew it was high time to finally give it a shot. So I brought it with me when I left for South America.

Here's the blurb:

Imager's Challenge takes up immediately after the conclusion of Imager. Still recovering from injuries received in foiling the plots of the Ferran envoy, Rhenn is preparing to take up his new duties as imager liaison to the Civic Patrol of L'Excelsis. No sooner has he assumed his new position than he discovers two things. First, the Commander of the Civic Patrol doesn't want a liaison from the infamous Collegium, and soon has Rhenn patrolling the streets of the worst district in the city. Second, Rhenn receives formal notice that one of the High Holders, the father of a man Rhenn partly blinded in self-defense, has declared his intention to destroy Rhenn and his family.

Rhenn's only allies are the family of the girl he loves, successful merchants with underworld connections. In the end, Rhenn must literally stand off against gang lords, naval marines, Tiempran terrorist priests, the most powerful High Holder in all of Solidar, and his own Collegium--and find a way to prevail without making further enemies and endangering those he loves.

Modesitt wastes no time, and Imager's Challenge starts where Imager ended. As was the case with its predecessor, this second volume features features realistic worldbuilding, deft plotting, an interesting magical system, adroit characterization, and a subtle human touch. Hence, this novel is another intelligent and solid effort by the author.

Set into an industrialized environment akin to late 18th century Europe, the worldbuilding which is the backdrop of The Imager Portfolio is top notch. Once again, commerce, politics, and religion play key roles in Imager's Challenge. Especially the political aspect, which demonstrates that this series resounds with a lot more depth than meets the eye. It remains unclear just how many installments there will be in this series, but it's now obvious that there is a lot more to this tale than we first believed. Exactly how Rhennthyl will fit into this multilayered web of storylines should become clearer as the story progresses.

Imaging turned out to be a new and ingenious magical system in Imager and readers continue to learn more about how it all works as Rhenn practices and learns more about it himself. Once more, how the Collegium operates, both in small-scale and worldwide events, remains at the heart of the story.

Naturally, Imager's Challenge is told in the first person, the sole POV of the narrative being that of Rhennthyl. It works quite well, but as more and more layers are unveiled, I feel that having more POV characters could be beneficial. Yet given the structure of the series thus far, I doubt it will happen. Still, I'd be interested in a Seliora point of view. Though it will always be Rhenn's story, the supporting cast truly added another dimension to this one. These disparate characters, from all walks of life, definitely gave this book a different flavor. In addition to Seliora and her family, especially her grandmother, Master Dichartyn and other members of the Collegium, a number of interesting characters interact with Rhenn. Horazt and Shault came as an unexpected surprise, and so were a few patrollers.

Again, there is a social undertone hinting at the emancipation of a new generation of capable and efficient women attempting to establish themselves and take their rightful place in this male-dominated society. I'm curious to see how it will all fit in the greater scheme of things, but it is evident that Khethila and Iryela D'Alte's storylines will focus on that theme.

As is Modesitt's wont, the pace throughout Imager's Challenge is steady but not fast-moving. A slower rhythm is endemic to most of the author's works, yet Modesitt knows how to build momentum and keep you turning those pages. There is never a dull moment as we watch Rhenn deal with various dangers as he tries to do the right thing without incriminating himself and the Collegium while trying to protect his family and that of Seliora.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If it lives up to its vast potential, The Imager Portfolio could become one of Modesitt's signature works. This is probably L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s most accessible series to date and I encourage you to give it a shot. Chances are you won't be disappointed!

Imager's Challenge is another very good read from one of the most underappreciated talents in fantasy today.
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on 25 October 2010
Rhennthyl is the main character of the story, he is the son of a leading wool merchant, he's spent many years becoming a journeyman painter. While he was learning to paint he found he could image (he can visualize things and make them real.) The story tells of his training to become an imager and along the way there are sub plots of other people trying to kill him and other young imagers. He as to leave his family and join the Collegium of Imagisle. Imagers live seperately from the rest of society because of thier abilities (they can do accidental magic even while asleep) and because they are both feared and vulnerable. In this new life Rhenn (Rhennthyl) discovers that all too many of the "truths" he knew were nothing of the sort. Every day brings a new threat to his life.
As with Modesitt other books the story draws you into the life and intrigue of what Rhenn faces along the way.
I certainly recommend you the reader to read this book to understand fully the story, as in a review you do not get the full flavour of the book and intrigues.
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on 17 April 2012
Modesitt is usually one of my favorites, however, I am not particularly impressed with the 2nd book in the Imager series. Predictive, and the main character tends to overcome anything thrown at him in a very Steven Segalish way which quickly becomes boring. Also the main character seems enormously self-centered which doesn't fit well with the role and responsibility he is supposed to take in the story. The first book was a lot better!
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on 29 November 2010
I think that Modesitt is possibly onto another winning series here. Each book is complete in itself but promises more.
His characters are well written and real.
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on 30 April 2013
Builds well on Scholar, and adds depth to the characters. The concept of the 'lost ones' is intriguing and should develop well.
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on 25 December 2009
another 5 star gotcha,and we have to wait until autumn for part 3 imager's intrique
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on 10 October 2015
magnificent story with intrigue and pace. I love the way L.E.Modesitt Jr writes, the worlds and people he creates
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