Magician- Raymond E Feist

   Magician is the first book in the ‘Riftwar Saga‘ by Raymond E Feist. It begins with two boys, Pug and Tomas, from the castle keep of a frontier city in the mythical land of Midkemia. We follow the exploits of the boys as the grow into men during a long war with a strange ‘alien’ invasion.

Magician is much-loved by readers since it was first published 25 years ago. It doesn’t take long to see why. it has elements that will be familiar to any Fantasy fiction fan.  We have a quest, we have magic, and feats of bravery on the medieval style battle field. Kings, queens and the politics and intrigue of the medieval court are also present. Throw in a touch of inter-dimensional warfare, and you have a sci-fi/fantasy classic.

But it’s not just about mythical, fantastic characters and feats. Like any good sci-fi/ fantasy novel, it also delves into issues that are universal across genres. Everything from the corrupting influence of power to the injustice of a culture built upon slavery.

One thing though, that sets Magician apart from other books of this genre, although it is a part of a series of books, it can also be read as a stand alone novel. The major issues are resolved, without any annoying ‘cliff-hanger’ to force you to read the next book.

Overall, Magician  is excellent. I recommend this to anyone who is already a fan of the genre, or else it is a good place to begin for a new comer.

Black Swan Green- David Mitchell

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell is about life in a small Worcestershire village in 1982, through the eyes of a thirteen year old boy.  When we begin Jason Taylor is ‘average’, not one of the popular kids, but not one of the ‘outcasts’ either.  Over the course of just over a year Jason navigates through the treacherous waters of early puberty, enduring bullies, witnessing the breakdown of his parents relationship and becoming aware of those strange creatures also known as girls.

It is a wonderful book, if a little too close to the truth at times. While reading it I couldn’t help but recall my own experiences as thirteen year, and shudder. Mitchell captures the voice of his thirteen year old narrator perfectly. The earnest sincerity with which Jason tells the reader about his world and the people in it is beautiful. Although Jason would NEVER say it, “cause we all know boys can’t say BEAUTIFUL, ’cause that’s gay”.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that was ever thirteen.