The Mongrel Mage (The Saga of Recluce) by L.E. Modesitt Jr. : Review

The Saga of Recluce chronicles the history of this world with world-building detail and an ingenious and disciplined magic system. L. E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to his longest and bestselling fantasy series with volume nineteen, which marks the beginning of a new story arc.

In the world of Recluce, powerful mages can wield two kinds of magic the white of Chaos or the black of Order. Beltur, however, has talents no one dreamed of, talents not seen in hundreds of years that blend both magics.

On the run from a power hungry white mage, Beltur is taken in by Order mages who set him on the path to discover and hone his own unique gifts and in the process find a home.

However, when the white mage he fled attempts to invade his new home, Beltur must hope his new found power will be enough to save them all.

It’s almost hard to believe that The Mongrel Mage is L.E. Modessitt Jr.’s nineteenth book in the Saga of Recluce. I can still remember stumbling across a random book in this series at my local library almost 15 years ago and falling in love with it. They have always been some of my favorite books and Mongrel Mage has been no different than the rest of the books. I made the mistake of starting to read this book after I got home from work and figured I would read a few chapters and then go to bed for the night. I ended up being completely sucked in by it and only realized what time it was when my alarm for work started going off next to me.

There are a lot of things I loved about The Mongrel Mage but I would have to say that my two favorite things about the book are, like every other book in the series, the characters themselves and the amount of thought and planning that has gone in the Order and Chaos magic system. Beltur is a fantastic character and I really enjoyed watching him discover that he’s much more than the weak Chaos mage everyone assumes him to be and watching how that discovery not only changes his life but the lives of everyone he comes in contact with as he flees his hometown.

I think the one thing that surprised me the most about The Mongrel Mage is how much Modesitt seemed to have improved on the series, at least in my opinion. There was much less discussion on the workings of Order and Chaos which, while interesting in the first book, have always made me want to sleep in the last few. We also didn’t hear about what the characters were eating or how many times they chewed anywhere near as much as we used to. It’s a nice change of pace.

Though the issues that I’ve always had with the series that were fixed in this book were just replaced with new and annoying ones. We don’t get a really good idea (or at least I didn’t!) on just where this story takes place in the Saga of Recluce timeline. Very few recognizable names or landmarks really showed up to give me an idea where to place it and that really bothered me for most of the book. I also thought the love story of Beltur and his love interest felt like it was a little shoehorned into the story. I only hope that things happen and flow more naturally int he sequel!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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