After 29 books and 30 years, the Riftwar Cycle finally comes to an end. Finishing the last book in a series, particularly a long series is always so incredibly bittersweet, especially for a cherished series that I grew up on. Obvious statement: Magician’s End is the last book in a pretty long series. If you have not read the previous novels, it probably isn’t going to be all that great of a read. Another obvious statement: If this is a series that you have read and enjoyed, this book is an absolute must read as it does wrap the series up nicely. Here are a couple of thoughts and shortcomings, mostly because raving about how much I love something doesn’t seem like it would make for an interesting read (minor spoilers):
Many of the newer characters are obviously rehashed (the many Jimmies for example). I am sure that it is to provide continuity and to show the reader the the strength of the ConDoin line continues to carry on through the generations, especially when you take Pug’s experiences and lifespan into consideration; And this book is very much about reflecting on the past. End result though is that Hal, Martin, and Jimmy feel shallow and rehashed. I didn’t find either of them very interesting or developed characters.
Magician’s End effectively follows two separate story lines that don’t really interact all that much: Pug saving the universe and the kingdom falling into civil war. Though I did enjoy Hal, Martin, and company’s aspect of the story and recognize that it is an important part of the story, there were stretches of it that weren’t all that interesting. For example, the civil war. First off, it wasn’t all that compelling. Second, it never reaches a point where anything all that important happens given the scope of the story, which arguably could be the point but reading it felt like it was written as an obligation to break up the Pug chapters. I feel as if the two story lines should have been either intertwined more or split into two separate books instead of effectively dividing the Chaoswar Saga in half. I almost feel as if that aspect of the book detracted from Pug’s storyline.
That said and all that considered, I would rank Magician’s End on the upper end of more recent titles in the series. It’s an enjoyable read, the last couple of chapters being especially satisfying even if they are a bit heavy on nostalgia. Most loose ends are nicely tied up. Quite a satisfying end to a long series.