There is something profoundly sad about finishing the last book in a series. When that book is the culmination of a lifetime of stories, in a world that has become a second reality to so many readers, there is an even greater sense of loss. I turned the final page of Magician’s End last night and did not know what to do with myself.
There is no single author whose books I have read more of. Raymond E Feist will remain my biggest inspiration and the reason for my urge to write fantasy. He has managed to spend thirty years crafting the tales of Pug and the world of Midkemia. And it has finally come to an end.
Without spoiling any of the story, I have to say that the most enjoyable part of this book was the way in which Feist revisited characters and elements from the many books of the past. It was fantastic to be taken back to all of the stories that I have read over the years. The brief mention of Erik and Roo from the Serpentwar Saga or Kulgan and Meecham from the very beginning was enough to remind me of the long journey that Pug has taken. This is well placed in a book that is set to end Feist’s time in Midkemia.
The plot itself holds the grand scope that one would expect, with cataclysmic destruction looming on the horizon and Pug yet again called on to save the universe. It is a tried and tested formula that Feist has received much criticism for. But I say if it aint broke, don’t fix it. The very reason that this series has continued to sell and be loved, is that Feist is a master of approachable epic fantasy. The kind where action and strong character relationships come to the fore and the grander struggles remain in the mix. He avoids the heavy description and at times dry reading of many fantasy series, yet creates a rich and believable world.
I will be honest and say that the first two novels of the Chaoswar saga did not grip me as did his earlier works. Characters such as Hal and his brothers did not provide the same appeal as Arutha and Jimmy the hand from Magician. But as this book progressed I began to appreciate them more. And by the end I was glad to have known the next generation of conDoin’s. They provided a grounded view of the issues presented, whilst Pug and his companions showed us the bigger picture.
I feel that Feist has done justice to his stories with Magician’s End. Finishing a story is often the hardest part, and will always receive criticism. How many novels, movies and shows receive harsh criticism for their choice of ending. With this story I feel Feist has managed to end his foray into Midkemia on a high note and though not everyone will be pleased, I think that the majority will.
For all those who have at some point taken the journey with Pug, this is a must read. For those who have not, I encourage you to pick up the very first story, ‘Magician’ and treat yourself to a masterpiece of fantasy writing.
To Pug, Tomas and Midkemia I said goodbye. To Raymond E Feist I say thank you.