A couple of months ago, I mentioned that I’d recently read At the Gates of Darkness by Raymond E. Feist. Well, as befits a series that I enjoy quite a bit, I followed that up by reading the next installment of the long running Riftwar saga: A Kingdom Besieged.
After a series has been going on for so long, the enemies tend to get more and more dire, and this one is no exception. Our mortal heroes find themselves having to face enemies on an ever more cosmic and incomprehensible scale.
And yet, this series doesn’t suffer from this excess. I think that’s mainly because Feist has a deft hand when it comes to making the enormous extremely personal and keeping the characters’ style of conflict resolution constant, irreverent and always entertaining. That, more than any big concepts is what has made this series a steady mega-selling winner for all of its history.
This is like the perfect antidote to things like A Fire Upon the Deep, which we looked at last week. Yes, the Vinge has a huge edge when it comes to originality. In fact, Feist re-uses concepts from every great fantasist ever, from Tolkien to Lovecraft, but even though his work is not in the least original, it is still much, much better. Yes, I know A Fire Upon the Deep is reaching classic status, but I would argue that Feist’s long-running series deserves it just as much, if not more, than the Vinge.
Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, pick up a copy of Magician, the first book in this series. You’ll be taken on one hell of a ride.