A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E Feist
As Prince Arutha and his companions rally their forces for the final battle with an ancient and mysterious evil, the dread necromancer Marcos the Black has once again unleashed his dark sorcerery. Now the fate of two worlds will be decided in a titanic struggle beneath the walls of Sethanon, as the link between Kelewan and Midkemia is revived.
It took me a remarkably long time to finally pick up Raymond E. Feist’s wildly popular Magician. It was a poor lapse in judgement based solely around the fact that the lead character was another orphan and his name was Pug. Poor reasoning, I know, but there we have it nonetheless. That being said, I did finally pick it up and subsequently ploughed through Silverthorn and then A Darkness at Sethanon.
Feist writes as if he’s writing for me specifically. It’s clever writing with clever storytelling and vivid scenery and characters. And even if there is a measure of reused plot devices it soon becomes unimportant under the new story threads that Feist throws in.
Darkness continues where the previous two books left off, with Arutha once again the focus of attention. He is one of the most intriguing characters I have had the pleasure of reading in my years, and is very relatable. His moods and motives, his distrusts and his likes are all believable and measurable so that the reader finds him or herself in Arutha’s shoes.
The same can be said for Jimmy the Hand, who once again shows up as the mischievous and far too smart for himself sidekick to Arutha’s adventure. Though maybe some could suspect Jimmy for having access to a little too much intelligence, I find myself once again relating to a character who doesn’t just take the party line as truth and makes a life and path for himself.
Feist hasn’t left us with just one plot thread though, ensuring that Pug and Tomas find their way back into the story. We continue to be shown just how powerful and unlike any other these two characters are, and how they deal with the realisation themselves. There are some beautifully constructed scenes featuring Pug and Tomas as they go in search of help for Midkemia, none more so than when they return to the beginning of time and space.
One of the highlights of the book however is a villain from past books, who reappears to be, not so much misunderstood but simply despised thanks to a lack of a fully formed picture of the character. Motivations are a wonderful thing, and can be left out of a characters biography until they are needed to sway the reader. Add that with actions and you will often find yourself liking a character you once disliked, or were intended to dislike.
Feist manages to once again capture my attention wholeheartedly and have me searching for more books in the Riftwar series of books so that I can continue reading one of the better fantasy series I have laid my hands on. It’s a real treat to read Feist, especially with the knowledge that there is so much more to come.
This A Darkness at Sethanon book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: Riftwar Saga
Riftwar Saga: Book 1
Crydee, a frontier outpost in the Kingdom of the Isles. An orphaned young boy named Pug becomes a master magician’s apprentice and two world’s destinies are for...
Riftwar Saga: Book 2
Prince Arutha’s reign has been peaceful. Jimmy the Hand, a young thief, uncovers a plot to assassinate him and the young King now faces new challenges.The firs...
A Darkness at Sethanon
Riftwar Saga: Book 3
As Prince Arutha and his companions rally their forces for the final battle with an ancient and mysterious evil, the dread necromancer Marcos the Black has once again unlea...
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A Darkness at Sethanon reader reviews
Philip from Cambridge, UK
A very good book, which nicely brings the Riftwar trilogy to a close. I particularly like the way the threads from previous books come together at the end of this, making the climax believable and foreshadowed. I think both Silverthorn and aDaS improved upon the writing style and characterisation of Magician (although were not as ground-breaking in and of themselves). One gripe with the publishing though: What is going on with the blurb?? "The dread necromancer Macros the Black has once again unleashed his dark sorcery" - I spent all book waiting for him to turn out to be a baddie (or indeed do anything) and it never happened - seriously misleading! Still, the book itself is great, and my only criticsim would be that some of the 'epic' parts of the universe they visit don't seem very fleshed out. He seems to be constantly trying to outdo the sense of wonder each scene holds, which ends up falling rather flat as you lose any sense of perspective. I haven't read any more of Feist's books, but from what I've heard I'm probably better off stopping here. All in all, a classic fantasy trilogy that deserves (most of) the praise it receives.
8.7/10 from 2 reviews
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