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Mary Soon LeeTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
4.0 out of 5 starsI find one Beltur one of the most likable characters in this series, and enjoyed this considerably.
Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2018
This is the twentieth novel in Modesitt's fantasy series, "The Saga of Recluce," and the middle book in a trilogy centered on the young mage Beltur. I have derived a great deal of enjoyment from the series, and I find Beltur one of the most likable of the central characters, and, unsurprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed this. I note, however, that it is less epic than the first book in the trilogy, and less epic than I am guessing the third book will be, as is often the fate of middle installments. That said, I very much appreciated how the book opened a view into the lives of those lacking both power and luck. The homeless, the hungry, the hurt. Beltur has considerable magical power, but he comes into contact with those at the bottom of society, and helps as he can, which is one of the reasons I like him. If the third book were available, I would start reading it at once.
5.0 out of 5 starsThought-provoking Recluse novel with a fresh dynamic.
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2018
This feels a lot like a Book 2 in a series -- which it is -- in terms of getting the protagonist from point A to point B. I really enjoyed the philosophical questions Modesitt raises, and I'm eager to read Book 3, where Beltur will have to face my favorite turnabout in fiction: "if you think everyone else is doing such a bad job, why don't you do it better?" I enjoyed getting to see a glimpse into so many different countries in the world of Recluse, and the way that places that are Good But Not Right can be presented. Like Westwind, and like Recluse, Axalt is not a bad place, but it is uniquely overly-orderly. As with all Orderly places in this world, it has natural defenses, playing into the theme that Good Doesn't Attack First. But what I liked most was the unusual "family dynamic" that develops, and the way we see a young chaos witch who really embodies how Chaos Isn't Bad. The Recluse books with chaos-wielding good guys always feel the most interesting to me, and while Beltur and his lady are certainly Order-wielders, I thoroughly enjoyed how the downsides of order and "good" side of chaos was presented. It was very nuanced.
The conflicts were more political and subtle than Modesitt usually goes for, but I think it really worked to show that being a powerful mage doesn't always mean your problems can be solved magically. It added a fresh dynamic to the Saga of Recluse that I quite enjoyed -- and I didn't mind the absence of a big climactic battle with an overextended mage winding up in long-term care, at all. Modesitt has done a lot of that -- this was different, and in my opinion, more realistic and because of that, felt more powerful.
5.0 out of 5 stars***Spoiler Alert*** sort of Does the mighty Beltur found a famous city?
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2018
This book is a great edition to the Recluse series. I have enjoyed how the series has evolved from being an Order vs Chaos epic showdown to a series about people and simple motivations like living free or happy. Sure, the magic of Recluse is still around but the epic showdowns take a backseat. Beltur is a rich character much like Lorn or Nylan: He is faced with life and death choices and acts to protect those he loves/respects. He is driven to find a safe place to live and love. The actions he takes will be landmark in the series.
The books are set between the
Heritage of Cyador (Saga of Recluce Book 18)
The Towers of the Sunset (Saga of Recluce Book 2)
.The lawless city Beltur agrees to reform is called Haven. According to the official timeline of Recluse, Beltur's story takes place 450ish years between Heritage and Towers, plenty of time to establish a great city run by mages. After finishing this book, I am excited and thrilled that we may finally get to know how the White City was created. Does this Mongrel Mage, who is Black/White help found the future city of Fairhaven (Frven)??? Modesitt has written many books set in Fairhaven or about its denizens: Colors of Chaos/ The White Order/ The Magic Engineer/ The Order War/ Towers of Sunset.
3.0 out of 5 starsDeath by Dialogue but still worth a read
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2018
I have read almost all of LE Modesitt jr's books and there has been a trend in the last 5 years of 99% dialogue and 1% of anything actually close to action. This is very unlike his first books that had a fantastic balance of character building and action. Out of 654 pages, there are maybe 7-10 pages with any action on them. Every other page is full of redundant dialogue or reflection about human nature/character or how humble and unassuming Beltor is. Seriously, how many different ways do you need to prove your character is humble, meek, intelligent and powerful? The dialogue is so repetitive that after a while you feel a scream bubbling up from the depths of your soul begging Beltor to actually do something. The writing is still strong, the ideas pertinent, and Modesitt's understanding of how people in power cling to and hunger for more is a great discourse, but it needs to turn into a story at some point and not just a discourse. This book is nothing more than 654 pages showing how Beltor ends up FINALLY getting ready for a real Fantasy Adventure, that is until Mr. Modesitt spends the next 654-page book explaining how Beltor cleaned up a town using more dialogue and internal musings without any thought to action. Real life is boring most of the time; books shouldn't be. It is time to go back and read The Magic of Recluce and reminisce on better times.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis is one of the best Modesitt books I've read in a while
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 26, 2018
This is one of the best Modesitt books I've read in a while. It is actually lighter on the action than in The Mongrel Mage but for some reason it clicked more for me. Like the previous 20(!) books there is a lot of day to day minutiae taking up the space but as always I find in both interesting and relaxing in some way. There is tension but honestly you always know that the protagonist will find some way around it.
I won't go into to the plot really except that to say that Beltur (and others) basically become refugees so has a lot of relevance in today's climate. It deals with their struggles trying to find a home when wherever they go somebody tries to make their life difficult as it will upset the status quo or their own personal satisfaction. The relationship between Beltur and Jessyla is well done, I like the way that small mundane things can cause issues between people in a relationship and this is highlighted here. It's probably a bit unrealistic for a couple so young to be in tune that much but it does kind of make sense in regard the rules of order/chaos in the Recluce world. This is also the first trilogy in the Recluce series (they're mostly standalones or duologys) and I am most eagerly waiting the final part. I'll be honest I had no idea at the start of Beltur's story that it was going to be about the the founding of Fairhaven!
4.0 out of 5 starsWell-written and good narrative pace.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 18, 2019
I like the way Modesitt creates a consistent, believable society, going into details about the landscape, about how the weather differs in various areas, even going into details about what crops are grown. I especially like the way the novels examine how the economy of the various lands functions.....very few SF writers bother with this, but much of the plot deals with how the protagonists earn a living, and how money circulates.
Yet another amazing read that had me engaged from start to finish. Modesitt always delivers, without frills, a storyline which pulls you, or certainly me, in from the start. When this book ended I felt lost; the next on isn’t due until February 2019, needless to say I have already got it on Pre-order for my iPad from Amazon.uk, I can’t wait.
4.0 out of 5 starsFairly standard book from LE Modesitt continuing the saga of ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2018
Fairly standard book from LE Modesitt continuing the saga of Beltur and his travails to find a land that will accept him and his mage abilities (which continue to develop in this part of the story chain)
4.0 out of 5 starsA good position book for the last in the series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 30, 2019
It's what I expected, not one of L E Modesitt's greatest works a good read. Its a bit of filler between book #19 and book #21. It developed the key characters, added new characters and dropped other characters. It looks good for #21