Monthly Archives: August 2010

Review: Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist

Book review of Raymond E. Feist’s Magician: Apprentice

Magician: ApprenticeIts not often I get to review a book for which I’ve read the original, the author’s preferred edition, and the graphic novel interpretation. Magician: Apprentice is a book that I’ve read countless times, and The Riftwar Saga was one of my favorite original fantasy series along with the Dragonlance Chronicles books I read growing up. Like a lot of other fantasy novels, it was one I read prior to starting this site, so I decided to give it another read so I could include it here at Fantasy Book News. And as always, it was a delight.

Going back and reading Magician: Apprentice is like putting on an old coat that I’ve worn in years past, but has been hanging up in my closet for a while. Its comfortable, broken in, and I know what to expect. But I also know that its been long enough since the last time I’ve ventured through its pages that I’ve likely forgotten some of the details, so there’s bound to be a bit of variety. Its also valuable to compare some of the classics with some of the modern fantasy fiction I’ve been reading more of lately, and Magician: Apprentice is a perfect candidate.

Magician: Apprentice is a great book because of its simplicity. It doesn’t try to over-complicate anything, and is very direct with its characters, plot-lines and action scenes. I believe it is this simplicity that afforded Feist such success with this first novel in the Riftwar series: its an energized tale that is accessible to a broad range of readers. When compared with more recent fantasy novels, Magician: Apprentice is a bit shorter, and seems to move a bit more quickly than the majority of other fantasy novels I’ve read recently.

Feist writes with a passion in Magician: Apprentice, and the reader reaps the benefits. The novel has all the elements a reader expects from a fantasy novel and more: a coming of age tale, a few light romantic themes, very basic political structure, action on the open sea, plenty of battle scenes, a trek through the mines, and of course an invading army from another world. What more could you ask for?

Magician: Apprentice is a wonderful novel for teen readers as well as adults looking for a good tale. There is nothing in the novel that parents should have to worry about, so parents can be confident in buying this as well as the following books in the Riftwar Saga. And since its initial publication in 1982, its been adapted as a graphic novel by Marvel Comics, so readers can delight in seeing their favorite characters Pug, Kulgan and others come to life in the pages of a comic book.

I would highly recommend Magician: Apprentice to anyone looking to get started in Feist’s worlds of fantasy, and any readers just testing the fantasy novel waters for the first time. Its a delight you’ll come to appreciate for years to come.

You can purchase Magician: Apprentice over at

Fantasy Book News Ratings

  • Overall: 9 out of 10
  • Plot Originality
  • Setting Development
  • Characterization
  • Dialog
  • Pace

Fan Ratings

Categories: Raymond E. Feist, Reviews, The Riftwar Saga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Book Release: Dorothy – The Darker Side of Oz by Scott Stanford

The Darker Side of OzAs Dorothy awakes in Oz there’s no sunshine in Munchkin country, just a twisted race enslaved by the Eastern witch, and a crooked path of yellow bricks she has to take to the mysterious Emerald City, a place ridden with sinister secrets.

To get home the orphan girl treks the magical land, sometimes beautiful though often deadly, seeking help from the great wizard of Oz. The young girl struggles through a vast land of new sights, unfamiliar villages, and endures the dark forest, finding strange friends along her way. Cautiously trusting a peculiar scarecrow, he accompanies Dorothy through Oz, finding a tragic tin-man on their travels, and the cowardly lion; a victim to Mr Jack’s infernal carnival. The animal’s only hope is to be saved by Dorothy and her friends, but the ringleader and his obscure show have other plans for them.

Dorothy’s enchanting journey takes her through new, peculiar and amazing countries as Oz unveils itself. The strange friends must fight to overcome the rivers of mist, the deadly poppy fields, and beyond; whilst Kalidahs, Hammerheads and other macabre creatures stand in their way…and if they reach the Emerald City, they my find more than they bargained for.

To get back to Kansas the young girl must survive the dangers of Oz, find the mysterious great wizard, and most of all, avoid the dead-lands of the West, where the evil witch Outika breeds her carnivorous pets, and watches the strange friends’ every move. This isn’t the Oz you know, and Dorothy may never leave.

Based on the classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Release Notes

Available now through all major booksellers, including Amazon, Waterstones, and Fastprint, with limited signed editions and prints available through the novel’s official website:

Author’s Bio

Scott Stanford was born in a small Welsh village in 1984, and after studying Milton’s ’paradise lost’, alongside reading Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘American psycho’ started writing himself. His works spanned from epic poems to film, and amidst a number of feature scripts and other projects came a debut novel. Since then he’s been working as a novelist, and even turned down working with Samuel L. Jackson in the process.

Now releasing his fourth novel Dorothy: The Darker Side of Oz Scott currently lives in Manchester with a curious Harlequin rabbit called Dexter, and Jimmy Joyce (A loveable Labrador).

Author’s Notes

Dorothy – The Darker Side of Oz is an original novel that runs parallel to Baum’s The wonderful wizard of oz, and in writing it I wanted to make it new and exciting whilst keeping to the essence of Baum’s classic. Though this tale is deeper, and with more insight into characters and focus on the amazing journey that Dorothy takes to get home. With the characters I wanted to give them all a sense of depth and individuality, making them more than just cogs behind Dorothy. For example the ‘cowardly lion’ is very much the courageless creature Baum intended, though opposed to a little girl finding him along her path and taking the large lion as her companion without hesitation, I wanted to give Dorothy a realistic reaction to the creature (confusion, fear etc.), and give the lion his own story that affects the whole novel, a reason why he has no courage and make him a ‘rounder’ character. Even the wicked witch of the east plays a very large role in the novel, and we see how she’s destroyed the land of the munchkins and made them her slaves.

Dorothy’s journey through Oz is epic, spanning from the far east to the far west and I didn’t want to make the yellow road easy for her. She journeys through dark woods, along mountain tops, cities, villages, desolate lands and beautiful fields, so I really wanted to make her quest through Oz memorable, and give each landmark (the dark forest for example) details and dangers, and something new. I’ve written it so that each of Dorothy’s friends is as big a piece of the novel as herself, and so the reader can see the affect of journey on them as a group of strangers who become friends, and the dangers they face along the way.”

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Book Release: Dante’s Journey by JC Marino

Dante's JourneyA flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself.

Joe was in hot pursuit of his family’s killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn’t about to let a little thing like death slow him down.

So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante’s Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children.

However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water… VERY hot.

Author’s Bio

Originally from Boston, JC has several degrees, including Criminal Justice, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, and Creative Writing.

He’s written several screenplays that were optioned and/or made advanced placement in both the Nicholls and Austin Screenwriting Competitions.

JC’s background and experiences include Security Specialist while serving in the USAF/USANG, Knowledge Engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation, 3D Animator for Camber Corp, and Information Security Engineer for FOX.

Related Links

Author’s Site
Goodreads Review

Book Trailer

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Fantasy Blogosphere: August 1, 2010

With Comic-Con San Diego 2010 wrapping up, a lot of interviews from the event are starting to pop up online. Check out Suvudu’s interviews with Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Michael Scott, among a slew of other interviews crossing the fantasy blogosphere this week. The Blade Itself gets a makeover, grab a fantasy role-playing iPhone app, and never forget Thieves’ World.

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