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Lyndon Hardy

Forfatter af Master of the Five Magics

12 Værker 2,489 Medlemmer 17 Anmeldelser 2 Favorited


Værker af Lyndon Hardy

Master of the Five Magics (1980) 1,118 eksemplarer, 10 anmeldelser
Secret of the Sixth Magic (1984) 774 eksemplarer, 3 anmeldelser
Riddle of the Seven Realms (1988) 556 eksemplarer, 2 anmeldelser
Zoltan (2019) 6 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
Magic in Triplicate 4 eksemplarer
THE ARCADIA SEQUENCE (1980) 3 eksemplarer
Magic Times Three (2020) 3 eksemplarer
Vivian 2 eksemplarer
Zoltan and Vivian 2 eksemplarer
One Last Heist 1 eksemplar

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Read this years ago and really enjoyed it. Picked it up recently at a 2nd hand store. Great heroic fantasy.
wolfric0 | 9 andre anmeldelser | Apr 28, 2024 |
In this third volume of the loosely coupled trilogy - as the books can be read standalone - there are two protagonists: a con-man and a demon. Quite a lot of backstory about the demon is established first and he is probably the best realised character in the series as a whole, as a weakness of these novels is the characterisation. Astron has a genuine arc in the growth of his character. I enjoyed the parts where he appeared especially in his own domain. I also enjoyed the initial misadventures of him, Kestrel the con-man and Phoebe the female wizard when they go on the run and try to reach the archimage, in the first part of the book.

The story hinges around Astron's quest to resolve a conundrum which has been posed his master, the Prince who, in book 1, was outmatched by Alodar who subsequently became the archimage. (This third volume is set about 30 years after book 1.) A rival prince has set the Prince this puzzle and if he cannot resolve it, will destroy him. The Prince's situation becomes steadily grimmer throughout the story as Astron journeys from one realm to another, beginning with the realm where the series is usually set, to try to find the answer and obtain harebell pollen which another demon prince has demanded before giving them help. On the way he finds out more about humanity, experiences what it is to be human at one point, and gradually develops feelings for a fay ruler.

As with other books in the series, there are inventive contraptions, contrivances and in this case whole worlds, including one which has arcane board-game type rules. The biggest weakness in the story is the characterisation of the other characters, especially the women. In previous books the women have been almost cardboard cutout and the tendency continues here: there is an attempt to make Phoebe, whose role is love interest for Kestrel the con-man, more realistic by having her doubt her abilities - there is a lot of sexism in the wizards guild - but she does end up acting like a wimp most of the time, as does the female fay ruler who is the love interest for Astron.

Another issue is that I worked out pretty early on who was the real villain manipulating things behind the scenes. And some parts dragged rather, especially when they are almost literally sitting around for 10 or 15 days in the fay realm for no better reason, it seems, than to give Kestrel and Phoebe the chance to learn the fay language instead of Astron having to interpret for them. I would have enjoyed the book more if there had been more of the con-man tactics employed in reaching the archimage which happens too quickly after their initial misadventures: those were quite enjoyable. So on balance I would rate this 3 stars.
… (mere)
kitsune_reader | 1 anden anmeldelse | Nov 23, 2023 |
I approached this book not knowing whether I would enjoy it on this re-read as I first read it years ago. I did still enjoy it but not as much as I recall; however, that was a positive as I was doubtful at first. The beginning seemed far more muddled and difficult to envisage re what the protagonist was doing - this apparently was the author's first published novel and he certainly had taken onboard the advice to plunge straight into action. Alodar is trying to raise a gondola into the air to take a soldier across to a vantage point from which he can fire a projectile weapon onto encircling invaders of the Iron Fist fort. Gradually, it is revealed that he is a journeyman thaumaturge and that there are five magical disciplines.

Alodar seeks the black robe of a master but for him it is only a means to an end: that of recovering his family's lost social position. The Queen is present in the fortress and the attack was unexpected; led by a local lord who, it is rumoured, is demon-possessed. To win favour, Alodar decides to become a suitor to the Queen but has a rival - the son of a powerful lord. Alodar works hard and his insights are pivotal in saving the Queen, but the credit is given to his rival.

This becomes a repeating pattern throughout the novel as Alodar moves from one magical discipline to another, each time using something he has acquired in the service of the previous one to try to secure his sought-after position as a suitor. Along the way he is brought to acknowledge that he has feelings for Aeriel, the Queen's closest advisor who returns them - but she, too, has to put aside her personal feelings in favour of ensuring that the best possible suitor wins the Queen's hand, and so far that is Alodar. Meanwhile, the initial revolt grows in scope and becomes more and more menacing until the entire kingdom is in peril.

The way magical disciplines are worked out in this book is probably the most complete attempt I can recall reading in any fantasy. Each has its own rules and procedures. There is also quite a lot of action and suspense regarding Alodar's progress each time and his continual frustration by someone else who steals the credit. The weakness of the story, however, is in the characterisation: Alodar is driven, determined and rather too lacking in actual convincing emotion although we are led to believe he is struggling against having feelings for Aeriel, and she, too, is rather thinly sketched whereas other characters are thinner still to the point of sometimes being caricature as in the case of the Queen. But it is a good adventure tale with the added spice of the magical systems so I rate it at a 3-star read overall.
… (mere)
kitsune_reader | 9 andre anmeldelser | Nov 23, 2023 |
Having enjoyed book 1 of this series, although not quite as much as on my original read years ago, I approached this hoping for another adventure story with the added bonus of a magical system that has been really worked out, even if the characterisation left something to be desired. Unfortunately, I found this one really dragged. I also discovered that these books are more or less standalone: the protagonist of book 1 makes a cameo appearance near the end of this one, but the story is entirely independent. In fact, it takes place in a different country than the first and some years later.

As the story opens, Jemidon has just arrived on the island of Morgana which, in the land of Arcadia, is the home of sorcerors. Because (as was made clear in book 1) the use of sorcery actually drains the user's life force, in Arcadia sorcery is used for only lightweight spells to create illusions. These illusions have become an artform and are exhibited each year in a presentation hall, but in recent years the Prince of Arcadia has become an important patron and puts up a sizeable purse for the winner. Jemidon needs to succeed in sorcery and earn a black robe because he has already tried the other four magical disciplines and been a complete failure: although he is able to absorb the theory quickly enough, he somehow always messes up the practice. And, as becomes clear when he is lucky enough to find a sorceror who will take him on as a tyro (apprentice), he is bored by the repetition and rote learning necessary in the magical crafts and fails to apply himself. This is unfortunate as, ever since he was first sent with a gold brandel (coin) to apply to become a thaumaturge - a coin that might otherwise have paid for medicine to save his little sister who was fevered - he has borne the guilt of his sister's death, and the coin on a thong around his neck as a reminder of why he must succeed.

The annual contest is imminent and Jemidon helps his new master - whose illusions have been eclipsed by a rival's for some years - to prepare, but the intercession of a trader with savage dogs and an odd insistence in showing his own type of illusion, plus Jemidon's encounter with the trader's beautiful slave girl Delia, throws several spanners in the works. Sorcery loses its potency and Jemidon leaves in pursuit of the trader to the larger more prosperous island of Pluton which is the centre of currency trading and the place where magicians produce the enchanted coinage which forms the basis of all wealth. He still seeks the black robe of mastery, and an old flame Augusta tries to help him, but a combination of the machinations of the trader - or rather his sinister master - and Jemidon's own clumsiness and perpetual distraction with puzzles that seize his attention, mean that both are soon in peril.

The invention encountered in the first book continues in this story, although here, instead of the original five magical arts, the focus is on a system which displaces them (I will say no more to avoid spoilers). Confusingly, the book refers several times to seven magics - I think that must be a continuity error in the context (although I take the point that there could be a lot more, just not all active at once - however, it didn't read as if that was the meaning).

The main problem is that I found the protagonist quite repellent. Apart from the fact that, early on in the story, he takes Delia's thanks for saving her as an invitation into bed - which she has to rebuff - he is lazy, lacking in focus and more interested in puzzles than key things that are going on. Until quite late in the story he aims to learn from the mysterious master when it is perfectly clear that this person is bent on the overthrow and domination of everything - and should be opposed, not assisted. It makes Jemidon appear quite stupid despite his supposed intelligence. Repeatedly, when a conversation is in progress in which he should interject to tell people about the villain's machinations, he just stands there and says nothing. Also, there is supposed to be a love triangle between him, Delia and Augusta, but he never comes across as having real feelings for either woman. After reading the book, I saw that a second edition had been issued by the author, possibly in a small press edition, which mentions changes to the protagonist's character, so maybe there have been improvements - I can only judge by the version I've read.

The other problem with the book is that it is very difficult to envisage some of the concepts and machines/contrivances being described at various times. So it was rather a chore to read through to the end to discover what happened, despite a brief cameo by Alodar from book 1, and I can only rate this as 2 stars.
… (mere)
kitsune_reader | 2 andre anmeldelser | Nov 23, 2023 |



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