At the end of her bestselling Coldfire Trilogy, C.S. Friedman challenged readers to imagine what a world would be like if sorcery required the ultimate sacrifice–that of life itself. This series attempts to answer that question, in vivid detail.
Epic Fantasy Series Review by Mulluane
♦ The Story. There are four distinct groups that make up this tale. There are the immortal Magisters. Dark, mysterious, elite; they rule this world from behind the scenes. There is the royal family of the High Kingdom; the king slowly descending into madness. There are northern people of Skandir, also call lyr; who are destined to defeat a great evil. And even further north lies the Wrath. A magical wall which keeps back a race of demonic creatures which can devour a person's very soul. Add to those a plethora of other groups. You have the Free States, ruled by a shrewd queen, the witches who pay for each act of magic with their very lifeforce, the warring Alkali and the Penitent monks. All together they combine to play out a truly epic drama in a world where the lines are blurred between good and evil.
♦ What I Liked. This is one of those series which sticks with you long after you've read the last page. You question, you ponder and then you pick sides. That is before C.S. Friedman takes everything you think you know and turns it all upside down.
Then the process starts over only to hit yet another twist that makes you revise your opinion again. And again. And again.
Even several weeks after finishing this series, I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about some of the characters in this saga and more importantly, their choices. But the amazing part, in my mind, is the fact that I'm still thinking about them. Now if that isn't the mark of a good series, I am not sure what is!
♦ What I didn't like. There are a couple of things I didn't like about this series. One involves the series itself but in an unusual twist for me, the other is how it was marketed.
Lets start with the series.
Everything I loved about the characters also led to some discrepancies I felt uncomfortable with. Some of the choices they made did not feel logical or natural. Sometimes it was a lack of motivation behind a choice, other times I felt the choice fell well outside of the person's innate personality. I can go along with alot as long as I understand the reasoning behind it. But... That may be all part of the story. Impossible situations calling for impossible choices. All I know is that I went "Wait, what!?!" a few too many times for my comfort. Of course I'm still analyzing those choices so logical, natural or not, they made an impact.
My second gripe is a new one for me. Atleast as far as I can remember. I have a HUGE problem with the blurbs. On one hand, the information insures that you will know you are in for an intriguing dark tale. On the other hand, they give out so much information that it takes all the fun out of some of the best plot twists. My advice, if you can, avoid reading the blurbs, and that includes the back covers. That way each twist will be more of a surprise.
Meanwhile I'll keep trying to hide blurbs behind a toggle so those of you that want them, can choose to check them out and those of you that don't, can avoid them altogether. Granted I haven't found a toggle that works in every venue mainly because email and some feed readers strip the "onclick" command. But I do try.
♦ Conclusion. Likely not a series for just anybody. For one thing, you have to be willing to forgo heroes/heroines who win your heart. Might happen briefly, but then they die or change drastically in some way. This is also not a series for the faint of heart. This world is one of the darkest I've ever experienced. I'll put it this way. I had more sympathy for the Souleaters than I had for almost any of the characters. Almost, there were a few who had their admirable moments but not many and not for long. Definitely not a light read.
However, it is a great series for people who like exploring deep moral dilemmas Nothing is static, nothing is exactly as it seems. There is plenty of action, adventure, risk taking, love, loss and betrayal. The politics are murky and that is using a nice term for it. The characters are flawed and seldom improve. Some even go from bad to worse, or even good to bad to horrible. There is just no telling what will happen next but trust me on one thing. Expect nothing, be ready for anything.
The writing is tight, the worldbuilding is brilliant and the issues explored are deeply complicated. If you want a series that will keep you on your toes, this one will sure fit the bill.
Feast of Souls #1 ~ Wings of Wrath #2 ~ Legacy of Kings #3
|Author: C. S. Friedman
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Content: Witchcraft, Sorcery, Dark Magic
Series: Magister Trilogy
Source: Personal Copies
|Cover Art: John Jude Palencar |
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More Great Epic Fantasy Series
Epic Fantasy Series Summary of Magister Trilogy by C.S. Friedman - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 28, 2014 - Rating: of 5 Stars