The Riftwar Cycle comes to a close with Magician’s End after thirty years and more than thirty books. Pug is the original magician whose end has been foretold. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance while petty politicians vie for the throne of the Kingdom, fighting a civil war. My review of A Kingdom Besieged and A Crown Imperilled is here.
Magician’s End is a fanservice novel for long-time fans of the Riftwar Cycle. Thirty years of storytelling is used to provide substantial backstory; there are lots of ‘flashbacks’ and references to previous adventures.
Through the course of the Riftwar Cycle many characters have come into play; some died while others survived to play significant roles in this doorstopper conclusion. Of those who died, many feature in cameos. They stroll on stage for an hour or three (in novel time) to teach a valuable lesson, before departing forever. Many more characters are spoken of nostalgically by the central characters who mourn them.
Two epic battles are fought, one magical and one medieval battle.
I had a strong sense of Raymond Feist knowing his fan base and attempting to please them all while wrapping up this incredibly long-running series. I haven’t read most of the Riftwar Cycle so I felt like an impartial bystander; readers who have followed the series all the way through would be squeeing. laughing and crying as characters stroll on stage and depart suddenly. As that curious bystander I felt there was rather too much exposition [ducks for cover] although recaps were necessary to explain the End.
I suspect the climax of Magician’s End will be somewhat like Star Trek V and Prometheus: reader’s reactions will be very mixed. I can’t say more without ruining the story except to say the trick is to enjoy the journey.
Magician’s End is the end of an era, the end of the Riftwar Cycle. If you’re into epic (and I really mean LENGTHY and INVOLVED) high fantasy series with lots of magic, dragons, political intrigue, some romance and lots of battles, then I recommend starting at the beginning of the series and reading all the way through. Don’t do what I did and jump in for the last trilogy after only a couple of odd novels at random times early on. To really appreciate the final trilogy you need to know the whole story and all the cameo characters.
This is officially the final novel in this series although Ray hasn’t completely ruled out returning to this universe. When I talked to Ray (interview coming soon), he said he has a few novels planned in a different universe with different rules for magic, so the end of the era does not mean the end of Ray’s writing.