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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 17 September 2012
I found A Kingdom Besieged most disappointing. The whole thing lacked the ability to keep me interested. It seemed 'bitty' and definitely lacked lustre. The Kindle version had a few typos where one word was split into two, but that did not distract me unduly. I usually find it hard to put a book down, and that was definitely the case with Feist's earlier books. In fact I used to order the next book in the series when I began reading one. Not so with this, however. Rather than finding it hard to put down, I found it hard at times to find the enthusiasm to pick up this book. With reviews for book 2 of this series no better I doubt that I will be buying it.
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on 15 March 2017
I liked it, but I often realized I was forcing myself to keep reading it because it somehow lacked that spark of excitement that makes you want to devour a book. Hope that changes with book 2!
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on 11 April 2011
Having followed Feist since Magician turned up in 1982 it is fair to admit that this reviewer has found the Darkwar and Demonwar Sagas not to the same par as the Riftwar and Serpentwar Sagas. I had a growing disquiet that Feist had entered the twenty-first century with a little less enthusiasm than during the previous fifteen years. Midkemia also suffered from similar symptoms as Jordon's Wheel of Time - namely, a desire to expand a series that was neatly coming to a conclusion due to the pressure of fans and publishers alike who demanded (rightly) more from the author. Feist achieved this through Pug and the concept of multiple dimensions (a theme that drew closely to Weis & Hickman's flirt with The Deathgate Cycle) by expanding into a realm of Demons and inter-dimensional travel through Pug, his family and associates.
The books came out yearly like a smooth conveyor belt and they lacked that...something...that brilliance that makes Magician one of the stand-out fantasy novels to date.
With "A Kingdom Besieged" Feist appears to have taken a hard look at what has made him such a powerful author of the genre and delivered a new novel that spends most of its time in that world. Namely, a move away from the pure fantastical of inter-dimensional demonic creatures and back to Crydee, Krondor, LaMut, the great Kesh, Roldem et al.. We are back with "real" characters such as Ty, Talwin Hawkin's son, the new Duke of Crydee - Hal - and his two brothers, Brendan and Martin. A fiery Bethany pulled straight from the ever-influential Maid Marion with these four mean we have a new set of eyes that witness an assault on the Keep and an audacious plan by Kesh that sits comfortably and, more importantly, familiarly with the world of Midkemia.
Jim Dasher is racing around with the rest of the world to understand how the Keshian Empire has managed to gear itself silently for the greatest colonisation effort the pen of Feist has ever envisioned.
In the background a demon known as "Child" grows to maturity and seeks her own quest to get back to Midkemia with Belog at her side - it was with huge delight this reviewer understood what Feist has done with this pair - and by the end of the opener of this trilogy we find Pug is come full circle with the truth behind the previous sagas revealed. An ancient enemy is back to menace the existence of everything. It's almost like turning on Doctor Who after so many years away and seeing the Daleks again. That shiver of a wide-eyed child reading enthralled through the night is remembered once again.
It has taken Feist twenty glorious years to produce a novel of the breathtaking quality of Magician, Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon. Nostalgia aside this latest isn't quite at those levels but this saga promises to get to the same heights. I cannot wait for "A Crown Imperiled" because we are back where it all started - Crydee - and we have a new generation who have the same dignity and nobility that a young Pug and Tomas once brought to Midkemia. The anticipation is delicious...
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on 6 April 2011
Pleasantly surprised!

I'd more or less given up on Ray several books ago and probably wrote words to that effect in previous reviews. But this was actually a lot of fun to read, so long as I was careful not to think about Magician, Silverthorn or A Darkness At Sethanon. If you have the book and are reading this review before beginning, I'd advise you do the same; think back to past glories (and Magician *was* glorious) and you're doomed.

*** Slightly spoilery from now on ***

Some comments, praise and criticisms:

Always love to see Pug, but he just gets the same old, earnest moments he always gets in this book. It's the Superman problem: he's so very powerful, that if there were no impediments to him doing what he wanted, he'd just magic the bad stuff away. Feist doesn't have him do all that much. The same goes for Tomas - I think he's one of the really wasted characters of the whole saga. All he *ever* does is cameos (when he even appears; he's not in this one); I'd really have loved to see more of him and his conflicts over the years - how the two sides of his human/Valheru character manifest themselves, for good or bad, for example.

The two demons who've just entered Midkemia are *extremely* interesting. What's the deal with them, and do they offer the possibility of a certain prophecy not being as straightforward as we had imagined?

Other people have commented and I'd go along with the criticism of how it's a bit lazy to keep on reproducing the same characters in different generations. How many Jimmy Jamersons have we had now? Admittedly, the current version shows a bit more vulnerability than the original Jimmy The Hand, but still... A little more imagination in character types, please, Ray.

Once again struck by the retconning and how what we thought was the *real* enemy turns out not to have been. So we've gone from the Valheru to demons to Nalar to the D**** (have I missed anyone out?). Whatever. I try not to consider the internal logic of the story any longer - and for that reason I look forward to the return of, ah, the original occupant of the, erm (desperately trying not to spoil too much) "clothing" at the end, even though there's no WAY that creature's life energy could logically be available for resurrection.

But all that said, it was pretty damn good! Liked it a lot and look forward to the next one.
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on 8 September 2013
I have only read the first 120 pages so far admittedly, but feel sure I've read this before about 15 years ago! Same story - different names!
I never thought I would say this as someone who has read every book as it was published from the Magician onwards, but I can't wait to complete Magicians End, I am SO BORED with reading 90% of a book knowing that however dire things get, Pug will save the day in some miraculous way in the final 10% (but at some personal cost of course). Let Pug go off and be a God of some sort, (guessing here) and be done with it.
REF lost his way with Midkemia many years and books ago and they are now more of a chore than a pleasure to read. (I wait until I can read them in two's and three's now which I would not have had been able to do ten years ago!).
Not sure I'll bother with his next series, unless we get an update on how the Tsurani are getting on in their new world perhaps?

I just hope the still excellent Robin Hobb, doesn't go the same way.
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on 4 March 2011
(NO SPOILER and plot-point free review).

FINALLY, Feist seems to be back on form. There's a lot to enjoy here and while many of the classic "bad Feistisms" are in evidence (spelling mistakes, lazy naming of characters with the same name as their forebears etc) they don't really detract from what feels like a very promising start to the [rumoured] final part of the riftwar cycle.

It really feels like Feist has spent some time on this book and invested his characters and the situations with some real attention. There's a sense here of a lot of different threads being drawn together and while it's not as fluid or as natural as some of the epic fantasy sagas which span an equal number of books (and it wasn't originally conceived that way), it's thrilling to read. I blasted through it in a day and a half and if you're Feist fan I'm sure you will too. There's an awful lot of politics and a fair amount of discussion in this first book, but I didn't mind that. It helps to build the tension and the feeling that he really will deliver a corker this time. The ending also gave me a real chill and I had that wonderful feeling of mystery and wonder that I haven't experienced for a while with Feist. The final few pages are absolutely vintage and I really hope you get the same thrill from them. In my opinion, when he's on form, there's no-one better.

If you've been with Feist since Magician then frankly, yes, it's worth it. Four stars because it's too tough to call this one until we see what the rest of the trilogy (duology?) looks like.

Hope this brief review has been useful for you.
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on 2 April 2011
I've followed Feist's books since Magician first came to out in the early 80's. Sometimes he's been great, sometimes ok, a late simply bad. His last two books were frankly painful to read due to the poor quality through and through, it seemed that he was running out of ideas.

So is this a return to form? Yes and no.He's rehashing some of his old ideas and he's dealing with them quite abruptly - as someone else mentioned killing of a character in 10 lines without any real emotional response from his family?

There are however some nice new ideas in the midst of it all, and the execution of things is less sloppy than the previous two books.

One nice new idea and the reharsh of his previous 3-4 best plots should build up to an epic story over the trilogy but... This book should have been 600-700 pages long at least, more things should have happened to the characters and when it happened he should have spent more time on it. From here on there will be spoilers so stop reading if you haven't read it yet.

Comments on plot lines:

Jimmy Dasher - doesn't work for me. There is only one Jimmy the Hand - let him rest in peace

Martin, Brendan, Hal, Bethany - we've seen most of it before but it works nicely. Martin as Arutha, Hal as Lyam and Brendan as someone new which is why REF doesn't know what to do with him yet i think.

Sandreena - I can't get excited about this plot line, though the Nighthawk twist is nice

Pug, Magnus -ok at best

Child, Begot - very good - the best parts of the book by far, and the only bit that is original - it'll be interesting to see how this develops when the Miranda demon meets Pug

Overall 3 out of 5
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on 22 February 2014
Another great book but this time written in his own original style and back to the original mix of military battles, magical strife and everyday emotions and morals. Perfect.
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on 25 April 2013
REF has written at least four 5 star books and about a half a dozen 4 stars. Then it all went downhill. This is getting back to his good work, but it's sporadic. The demon plotline sizzles, but I agree with other reviewers that the Jim Dasher plot is just plain dull and the Sandreena plotline reinforces the view that he can't write about women. Nice to be back in Crydee, but overall it's more of a nostalgic few nights' read than anything like his previous work.
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on 25 June 2013
Discover the fate of the original black Magician, Pug, and his motley crew of agents who safeguard the world of Trigia, as prophecy becomes truth in the first book of the last ever Midkemian trilogy.

THE KINGDOM BESIEGED The Darkness is coming… The Kingdom is plagued by rumour and instability. Kingdom spies in Kesh have been disappearing - either murdered, or turned to the enemy side. Information has become scant and unreliable; but one thing appears clear. Dark forces are on the move… Since Pug and the Conclave of Shadows enforced peace after the last Keshian invasion, the Empire has offered no threat. But now factions are rising and Jim Dasher reports mobilizations of large forces in the Keshian Confederacy. As the men of the West answer the King's call to muster, Martin conDoin - left as caretaker of Crydee Keep - will suddenly be confronted with the vanguard of an invading army. He reminds himself that he is a year older than his legendary ancestor, Prince Arutha, was when he stood firm against the Tsurani invasion, but Arutha had an army to command, and Martin is left with old men and young boys. Massive events are about to unfold, events which threaten the future of all human life in Midkemia…
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