Friday, April 15, 2011

A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond E. Feist

Title/Author: A Kingdom Besieged (The Chaoswar Saga #1) by Raymond E. Feist
Publisher/Date published: Harper Voyager, April 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Summary: "Raymond E. Feist burst onto the fantasy scene in 1982 with his first novel, Magician, an enthralling tale about an orphan boy named Pug who travels to the mystical Kingdom of the Isles to study wizardry under the Master Magician Kulgan. Magician introduced one of the most enthralling fantasy worlds in the genre and marked the beginning of an enduring, bestselling career. Today, after nearly 30 years and more than two dozen novels, Feist’s Riftwar Cycle is regarded as one of the most beloved, iconic, and enduring sagas in modern fantasy.
The riftwars—including the original Riftwar, the Serpentwar, the Darkwar, and the Demonwar—were epic battles between Good and Evil whose ramifications have echoed through generations. This new entry to the epic, A Kingdom Beseiged, ushers in the most fearsome threat the kingdom has yet facecd—the Chaoswar—a major cataclysm involving a magic apocalypse that will force Pug, now the most powerful magician in all of Midekemia, to question everything he’s ever held true and dear... including the loyalty and desires of his beloved son Magnus."

If you read fantasy, you've probably at least heard of Feist and his Riftwar series. A Kingdom Besieged is the first book in the fifth series set in this world. I read the Serpentwar Saga (the third series) at the respectable age of I think 11 or 12 and I remember really enjoying them. So, when this one showed up on NetGalley for review, of course I hit the request button!

And while I did like the book, it wasn't as enjoyable for me as I'd expected it to be. I think it's partly because I had such high expectations for it and I always try not to do that, but I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that I didn't get sucked into the world like I did when I was younger.

This book is definitely very busy in terms of introducing characters and worldbuilding. There were so many different characters and POVs following each other pretty fast and abruptly that I lost track of all of them. And I also felt like I probably needed to have read all four previous series (and maybe pretty recently) to really get everything that was happening. Some things were overly explained and then there were things that left me wondering if I'd missed something or skipped a part of the story.

Because of this, I never really felt absorbed by the story and didn't feel the drive to continue reading it as much as I would have liked. For me, it suffered from first-book-in-series syndrome. There was a lot of plot leading up to things that are gonna happend. They're just not happening in this particular book.

But I do have to say that I really like the world in which this is set and the whole creepiness of the demons (the eating each other to grow and develop thing) is pretty different. And revisiting characters made me develop more of a feel for them, so I'm guessing that in book 2 there'd probably be enough of that to form a real connection. There is a lot of promise for really interesting events to come, I'm curious to see what'll happen in the next book.

My rating: 3 stars


  1. I can't actually think of a book I've heard of by Feist, but his name sounds familiar to me for some reason. Probably from back in the day when I worked in a bookstore.

    But since I've been on a fantasy-loving streak lately, I'm gonna add one of his books to my tr-it-out list. Since you didn't really like this one, care to send me a recommendation of one of his better books? We seem to have similar tastes :o)

  2. It sounds like the book needed a little editing - maybe less characters and POVs would have made it easier to get involved- but I wouldn't know, I'm not really a fantasy reader and I tend to have a hard time when reading world-building :P I sort of get distracted :)

  3. That is ridiculous. I agree that A Kingdom Besieged was not his finest work, but to state that the plot didn't explain enough to you when there are 21 books before it that perfectly explain the world, plot and over-arching theme of the whole series, seems to be a redundent statement.

    I don't necessarily disagree with your three stars (I would have give it 3.5), but the reason you have submitted for giving it three stars is just laziness.

    And to Alex, read the Rift War Saga (that starts with Magician). It is still his best work, and is also the start of the whole series. I would also recommend Daughter of the Empire. Another quality read.