Magician

This book (you can also get it as two separate books, Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master) are the books that launched the career of super popular fantasy author Raymond E. Feist. And this book is classic uncomplicated fantasy at its best! You're not getting anything new here (like the efforts of Steven Erickson, Susanna Clark, or Scott Bakker), but what Magician does, it does superbly well: the classic transformation tale of village boy to powerful magician. Yes, it's cliche. Yes, every author since the dawn of sword carrying barbarians and pointy-haired elves has used the village boy conceit. But despite this, Magician stands out above all the rest of the wannabes. What hurls Magician above the rest of the pack is the really compelling plot and world, tons of action, and a cool butt kicking hero. The book is just so damn fun to read. So if classic fantasy is the apple of your eye, and you are weary of the gritty realism creeping into fantasy and long for some of the "good old stuff", then this book is your fix.I have what I consider two "classic" fantasy tales on this list: Wheel of Time and Magician. If I had to pick between the two, Wheel of Time gets my vote for its sheer scope. But for those who still love those old fantasy conventions without the requisite reading of 10+ volumes, Magician is heartily recommended. If you want the more modern, gritty, nihilistic darker edged fantasy of the 21st century, then you won't find it in the Magician series. Note: If you don't want to muck around with this "classic fantasy stuff", then go straight for Feist's BEST work (co authored with Janny Wurts) which is the "Empire Trilogy." The writing, plot, and characterization really does make the Magician series seem amateurish by comparison -- I kid you not. It's my "favorite" work by Feist. It lacks the boy-becomes-man-and-kick's-serious-ass superheroes of the Magician series (which is what some readers love to see), but it's a damn good story and just flat out better written. And that's my plug for the Empire series.

Similar Recommendations

The Empire Trilogy

If you really like Magician, try Feist's other novels of Midkemia. All of them are set in the same world, though most of them fail to match Magician. The one exception is his The Empire Trilogy, coauthored with Janny Wurts. The Empire Trilogy is a fantastic read, and I whole heartedly recommend it; the quality of the prose (perhaps due to Wurt's influence) is far superior to Magician.

If you are really desperate to read more about Feist's characters and world, then you can read his 20+ other books set in Midkemia of which many of the main characters from the original Riftwar Saga pop up again and again, sometimes as main characters, sometimes as side characters, and sometimes as cameos. 

However, the only books really worth your time are Feist's original Riftwar Saga books (and of those, the first two, Magican: Apprentice and Magician: Master are the best) and The Empire Trilogy written with Wurst. The rest of the other 20-30 books are meh (some better than others, some horrid, some approach decent, but mostly mediocre)

The Wheel of Time

Feist's books always emphasize the heavy use of magic (some might say over the top use of magic) and loads of political tensions. If you like Feist's style of storytelling and his use of heavy magic, read Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. Jordan's books are rampant with magic use.

The Death Gate Cycle

Also give Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle a whirl. it's a good story (better than anything else they've written) with lot's of tension, lots of mystery, and lot's of powerful magic in the vein of Jordan and Feist. Hickman and Weis are responsible for populating the fantasy genre with the worst sort of fantasy tripe (Dragonlance), but surprisingly, their Death Gate Cycle is a much much better effort -- the best of their work and likely will stay that way.

The Runelords

Also read the The Runelords series by David Farland. Same style of writing as Feist (lots of magic, lots of powerful characters, lots of action, not that much characterization), but with a more interesting magic system. The problem with Feist is that he tends to make his character's too powerful and Feist is forced to find ridiculous ways of handicapping them.

The Way of Kings

And for another epic fantasy series with some sweet magic, an awesome hero, huge world building, and some kick ass action scenes, read Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings.

The Lightbringer

Also give Brent Weeks new series The Lightbringer a read. It's action packed, has lots of magic, lots of mayhem, and is essentially a coming of age story -- all the elements that make Feist's Magician books fun reads.

Classic Sword and Sorcery

And of course, how can you go wrong with some traditional sword & sorcery from Robert E. Howard's Conan The Barbarian. These are the tales that started the entire Sword & Sorcery genre and influenced writers like Robert Jordan AND Raymond E. Feist. 

See our Best Sword and Sorcery list for more recommendations.

Booklists having this book

Top 100 Fantasy Books

This list continues directly from where  the Top 25 Best Fantasy List ends, starting from #26 and ending at #100 (yes, I know the list shows #1, but 1 =... Read more

Other books by Feist, Raymond

Magician

Like David Eddings, Feist was one of the first fantasy novelists to have measurable commercial success – the kind that landed him on the bestseller list. It had a lasting... Read more

Riftwar Saga

Feist has quite a few Midkemia books, but his Riftwar books (starting with Magican: Master and Magician Apprentice) are by far the best of the bunch (with the exception of... Read more

Silverthorn

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A Darkness At Sethanon

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Magician

This book (you can also get it as two separate books, Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master) are the books that launched the career of super popular fantasy author Raymond E.... Read more

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