fredag 7. mai 2010

On Magician: Apprentice (Reread)



14+ years ago, when I first read this book, I found reading boring, and had mostly "proper" interests. In a way, I can blame this book for most of my nerdyness; after it I started reading, got interested in medieval battles and history, started reading up on mythology and got even more interested in playing rpgs (both pen&paper and computer variants). I loved the other books in the series (The Riftwar), but after that his books ended up kinda boring, and since I borrowed the first book in the library, I have somehow ended up never rereading them. But since I have started reading classics again, I ended up buying it... And then got sick, and voila, I finish a book again.

Before reading, I didn't really know what to expect. With good memories about it, I remembered it as sorta simple (good guys, bad guys, simple characters and every possibly 80s fantasybook borrowing from Tolkien could have), and thinking I remembered most of it, that it would be sorta boring...

The book is mostly about two childhood friends; Pug and Thomas - the book starts with them getting old enough to be chosen as an apprentice for some craftsmen in some backwater duchy in the world of Midkemia. Pug ends up as a mage apprentice and Thomas ends up as a swordsman apprentice, and voila, it already starts seeming like a D&D adventure. One night however, some foreign ship wreck is beached on the coast nearby, and they find out they are being invaded most likely by someone from another world. The Duke gathers some people around him (Pug and Thomas amongst them) and sets out to get help from the King, but along the way the usual tropes happen (I'll just say "scary dwarven mine" as an example).

Weirdly enough I still like it. The basics of the characters are sorta bland, but for what they are it works. Pug is not exactly talented it seems, and Thomas is just sensible, and ends up struggling after receving some weird gifts - so they arent suddenly just superbad. Actually, there is something in the writing here that just makes it work. The first couple of chapters I was going "oh my freaking god, this is gonna be some supersweet pile of pink pages", but it ended up more into the whole "innocent" sphere. Swordfighting is mostly dashing (plotarmor all around, the foe getting cut up and die without much blood or gore described, just focus on the heroics), noone plays dirty and it all just feels like some feelgood dashing adventure. And that is what it focuses on - there are no bleeding "he set one foot before the other" endless repeats, journeyes are handwaved away, but descriptions where it matters (the important places and so on) are done well. Less panorama, more of the actual fun stuff. Years pass in the book, and you sorta get the highlights, yet it feels like you just missed the boring stuff.

The bad thing about is... Holy freaking one dimensional, batman! People are like D&D alignments, races and cultures are so simple it's... Well nothing interesting going on. In short, it is really nothing besides the mindless high adventure thing. Core fantasy, I guess one could call it.

Rated:
Entertainment: 8/10.
Thought Provoking: 1/10.

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