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Feast of Souls: Magister Trilogy, Book 1 | [C. S. Friedman]

Feast of Souls: Magister Trilogy, Book 1

C.S. Friedman, acclaimed author of The Coldfire Trilogy, returns to the epic style which has made her one of the most popular fantasy writers in the genre. In this first book of the trilogy, Friedman introduces listeners to a world of high fantasy, replete with vampire-like magical powers, erotic interludes, treachery, war, sorcery, and a draconic creature of horrific power and evil that will have listeners eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.
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Publisher's Summary

C.S. Friedman, acclaimed author of The Coldfire Trilogy, returns to the epic style which has made her one of the most popular fantasy writers in the genre. In this first book of the trilogy, Friedman introduces listeners to a world of high fantasy, replete with vampire-like magical powers, erotic interludes, treachery, war, sorcery, and a draconic creature of horrific power and evil that will have listeners eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.

©2007 C.S. Friedman (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[I]maginative, deftly plotted fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)

"Powerful, intricate plotting and gripping characters distinguish a book in which ethical dilemmas are essential and engrossing." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (377 )
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4.0 (349 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stefan Nashville, TN United States 08-30-13
    Stefan Nashville, TN United States 08-30-13 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Price of Power - Would You Pay It??"

    C.S Friedman is the author of my favorite fantasy series, The Coldfire Trilogy so I was excited to begin the Magister series. Friedman writes anti-heroes like no other. I never knew there could be so many shades of gray.

    Feast of Souls introduces us to a world of magic where the cost is high, your soul or in the case of some, the souls of others. There are two different practitioners of magic, witches (both male and female) who power their art with their own soul fire, but the human soul is finite and once consumed means death. Then there are the mysterious Magisters, an elite group of males that power their sorcery with the souls of others, thus giving them almost unlimited power, but at what ultimate cost?

    Friedman excels at creating a world in which the powerful rule by manipulating others, and yet you feel sorry for them. The varied cast of characters all had separate stories yet seemed to be guided to the same end. Friedman weaves a complicated net drawing each character closer and closer together for an exciting climax.

    Elisabeth Rogers does an excellent job creating individual personalities for each character. I have read Feast of Souls twice before but listening to it felt like reading it for the first time again. I am looking forward to listening to the next two in the series.

    If you liked Feast of Souls, I highly recommend Friedman's Coldfire trilogy, which is also available on Audible.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashleah Joshua Tree, CA, United States 12-03-12
    Ashleah Joshua Tree, CA, United States 12-03-12 Member Since 2004
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    "ANOTHER TWISTED MASTERPIECE"
    If you could sum up Feast of Souls in three words, what would they be?

    Mysterious, captivating, and dark!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the way C.S. Friedman portrays internal struggle of a tormented young woman determined to survive by any means. Even if it means killing a part of herself.


    Have you listened to any of Elisabeth Rodgers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Elisabeth Rodgers has done an outstanding job with this narration. Each personality comes through clearly and never had an issue with confusing voices during conversations.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I really have no ideas.... Sorry for the lack of creativity here...


    Any additional comments?

    This is a brilliant idea taking concepts from childhood fairy tails and turning them into realistic and for the most part horrifying realities. C.S. is always a good read when you want to identify with the darker half of your imagination and fall in love with an evil protagonist.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita St George San Diego, CA USA 08-13-13
    Anita St George San Diego, CA USA 08-13-13 Member Since 2012
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    "14 hours of boredom, last four hours interesting"

    The premise is interesting, but for the first 2/3 of the book, you don't really care that much about the characters, and the plot is not interesting. Sure, there are characters you like (the prince, the queen, and the anti-heroine), but you don't care that deeply about them. And there aren't any villains that you care much about. Worst of all, the plot isn't interesting or captivating.

    Basically, an interesting premise, with ok writing, but boring characters and a boring plot.

    Now, the last four hours of the book are enjoyable. So if you don't mind plodding through 14 hours of boredom, to get to a good ending, than maybe this book is for you. If I had not been on a 22 hour drive when I started this book on my iPod, I would not have finished it.

    I will not continue with the series.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ecko Khamillien SLC, UT 07-30-12
    Ecko Khamillien SLC, UT 07-30-12 Member Since 2012

    -Ecko K.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping"
    What did you love best about Feast of Souls?

    The realistic Character portrayals.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Feast of Souls?

    Ripping off the head of a child!?!


    What does Elisabeth Rodgers bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her voice gave me a different mental picture of the leading lady than just the words would have done...more approachable.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending was a real cliff-hanger.


    Any additional comments?

    Well written and read.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connor North Carolina 06-09-12
    Connor North Carolina 06-09-12 Member Since 2011

    Enjoy the adventure

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    "The Price of Using Magic"

    I enjoyed Feast of Souls. Admittedly, I have read / listened to few fantasy books, but this one seemed inventive and original. Importantly, the book includes everything you would expect; magic, intrigue, romance, a villain trying to take over the world and invincible dragon-like creatures.

    The central character, Kamala, is a young, attractive woman who has a defiant, against the world attitude. She is self-assured and in a hurry. Kamala lives in a world of mortals, witches and sorcerers, and she is determined to survive, no matter the cost.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Olympia, Washington, United States 12-07-13
    Alex Olympia, Washington, United States 12-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Most Disturbing Women's Rights Movement Ever"

    As my title suggests, my first impulse is that this story was the most twisted and perverted tale of women's empowerment imaginable. Basically, most magic users have to expend some of their own life every time they cast a spell but a few mages, called magisters, have discovered (**HEREAFTER CONTAINS A SEMI-SPOILER THAT IS REVEALED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY IN THE BOOK AND IS INTEGRAL TO REVIEW THE BOOK IN A MEANINGFUL WAY**) a way to steal other peoples' lives instead. Up to the book's time, no woman has successfully become a magister because they could not bear the injustice of the arrangement or some such (a strange sort of back-handed compliment implying women are more moral but more limited in a way some might call "weak") but the main character succeeds. Thus, the protagonist breaks this glass ceiling by proving she can be every bit as despicable as a man.

    That weirdness aside, this book has a very rich and interesting set of ideas for magic, politics, and morality. I dare not guess how derivative any of it might be since I don't pretend to have read every book in existence so I will judge the ideas on their own merit.

    The magister's magical source is an endless fount of fascination to me. It is intriguing how liberally different magisters apply their magic considering it's violent nature. Some spend it without any care at all while others feel the pain they cause with every spell but choose to do it anyway. Perhaps the most interesting facet is that the magister will die if they lose the will to continue drawing power from others, making callousness and cruelty necessary to survival.

    Then there's the way in which, upon the death of the current "consort" another target is chosen for draining automatically and without input from the magister on who it will be. In fact, they don't even know who it is. This anonymity is a brilliant addition giving rise to the idea that a magister should avoid trying to find their consort for fear of putting a face to their indiscriminate murders and sapping their resolve to continue. It also leads one to wonder about many intriguing what-if situations. What if another magister was selected as a consort? What if one of the magisters discovered every other magister's current consort and killed them to have the opportunity to enslave the other magisters in their moment of weakness?

    There's also the odd magical system wherein spells can be cast that cure diseases and save years of life at the cost of just a few minutes of the witch or consort's life. Meaning the magisters could spend relatively few lives in order to create a utopia for the rest of humanity if they wished but such does not occur because it is inherent in being a magister that you not place much value on other people's lives. What an incredible dichotomy :D The politics between the magisters were, likewise, interesting to me.

    The narrator did a decent job differentiating characters and giving them emotion. Nothing spectacular but also nothing that distracted me from the story.

    IN SUMMARY, though there isn't a great deal of action in the story and much of the time is spent on political discussions, I never really felt bored throughout this novel because the world and the magic are so intriguing that every time a new element is introduced it sets me to wondering. There is a very brief and very... odd romance, multiple characters to follow, each of which are entertaining in their own right, some action and adventure, and a promising story arc opened in the later part of the book that clearly will carry through the series. I have not read the other books yet so I can't speak to the efficacy of it but I plan to continue this series in short order. The author clearly thought this one through and the result was a novel about magic and morality that had me thinking as much as any scifi I've ever read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Australia 12-04-13
    Chris Australia 12-04-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A solid trilogy"

    This review covers the trilogy as each book in quality and content is about the same, so if you're going to listen to the first book you may as well listen to them all as they are consistent throughout.

    I like Friedman for the darkness she portrays in the human soul. This series is one along the lines of "soul sucking vampire" types as her excellent Coldfire series was. This series however doesn't quite reach the heights of that one.

    The problem I have with this series is that there are too many central characters for development and thus each is lacking something despite their importance to the storyline. In particular, the main character, Kamala has significant gaps in her story and in some places her story lines end quite abruptly and unsatisfyingly. The feeling of "loose ends" is evident in a number of places. One gets the feeling she isn't fleshed out enough.

    Despite this, the story ideas are solid and overall it's a good series to listen to if you are a fantasy fan. Had this series been longer to allow full development of the characters it would have scored 5's across the board.

    The narration was good although with an even mix of male and female roles it may have been better done by a man and woman as Elisabeth did struggle on some of the male voices.

    This is worth a listen to as there are some great ideas and concepts with a solid story line and telling of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Kelso, WA, United States 11-12-13
    Chad Kelso, WA, United States 11-12-13 Member Since 2009

    This mountain of books isn't going to listen to itself.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My first Witch Book"
    What made the experience of listening to Feast of Souls the most enjoyable?

    I loved the magic system. It was simple and fun. I would say this book was almost a light read but not quite there. Other reviewers said the book was slow, I did not see that at all. The story developed at just the right pace if you ask me.


    What other book might you compare Feast of Souls to and why?

    I cant think of one. Not too many books I read have a female protagonist.


    Have you listened to any of Elisabeth Rodgers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I have never listened to her before. But I would again.
    To be honest I really have a hard time listening to Female Narrators. Elisabeth did a awesome job. I went right into the story like you should after a books gets going.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Never. Driving, house/yard work and when I play madden are my listening times.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this book was fun. I dont know if I will get the second book however. I have a big bucket list of books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Temporal Singularity Lompoc, CA, United States 10-27-13
    Temporal Singularity Lompoc, CA, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nothing compelling here."

    This review is of the entire trilogy:

    After an interesting beginning, I was so hoping that there would be something about the main character that would make her interesting. Unfortunately that never happened. I was so disappointed. She was quite dull and shallow.

    The author was too predictable. One of the problems I had was with how she would always kill off potential mates of the main character. Some of them started of quite interesting and likable. Yet you knew they were going to die like red shirted crewmen on Star Trek.

    Most male characters were cookie cutter as well. They were mostly self centered, shallow, and misogynistic. Very few were worthy and noble. If they were, they were killed off.

    It is sad. There were a lot of missed opportunities with this series.

    The narrator was not very good either. She is pretty flat and emotionless. She did not help the story at all.

    Overall, I recommend passing on this series. There is nothing redeemable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashleigh United States 10-23-13
    Ashleigh United States 10-23-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enthralling"
    If you could sum up Feast of Souls in three words, what would they be?

    Imaginative, Intriguing, Original


    What other book might you compare Feast of Souls to and why?

    I would say Feast of Souls compares well to Robert Jordan books and other fantasy books of the same type. Though the entire thing may seem a bit wordy, it's refreshing to me since most books lately, especially self-published, lack the quality, intelligence and wit that had always been in literature before. If you like fantasy but don't like the YA aspect that seems to have overrun much of recently written fantasy, you'll definitely enjoy this.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I usually enjoy scenes when Kamala is locked in a battle of minds with any of the other Magisters. They're extremely entertaining and charged with an addicting sort of energy.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not until the last book, and because that is so far away, I don't want to spoil it. Just know that many of the characters will take you by surprise. It's refreshing to read about people who aren't entirely predictable.


    Any additional comments?

    If you don't like reading for the sake of reading, don't admire when an author weaves words together artfully and instead prefer unoriginal plots and unimpressive language, this series is not for you. If, however, you love when an entirely new world unfolds before you filled with characters unlike any others, you will adore this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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