Outcasts of Order by L.E. Modesitt Jr. : Review

Beltur, an Order mage, discovers he possesses frightening powers not seen for hundreds of years. With his new abilities, he survives the war in Elparta and saves the lives of all. However, victory comes with a price. His fellow mages now see him as a threat to be destroyed, and the local merchants want to exploit his power.

There’s only one way he can remain free and survive—he’s going to have to run.

I’ve been a fan of L.E. Modesitt Jr’s books ever since I stumbled across his Saga of Recluce series over 15 years ago, so I was pretty excited when I received my copy of the newest book in the mail a few weeks ago. Outcasts of Order by L.E. Modesitt Jr was a fun and fast-paced story full of enough action, adventure, and political intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat and constantly guessing what’s going to happen next. I don’t know why I always insist on starting a new book when I get home from work in the evenings when I know if I like it I won’t have the willpower to stop reading it until I’m too exhausted to focus on the words. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was up reading this book until around 4 am in the morning.

I don’t think I’ve disliked a single Recluce book so far so I know going in that I was going to enjoy Outcasts of Order, but I’m honestly a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it and how quickly it has become one of my favorite books in the series. As good as the Recluce books are they can be a bit repetitive at times I thought this book really stood apart from most of the others. One of the things I liked the most about this book is the fact that it takes place a decent amount of time before the founding of Recluce so I feel like we get to see order and chaos through the eyes of people who don’t see everything as black and white as the people of Recluce seem to.

I always enjoy when we see that order mages can be as petty and power hungry as anyone else or how not all chaos mages are evil down to their bones like we do in this book. I also liked the fact that much of Outcasts of Order takes place on the road as Beltur and his companions flee from town to town and country to country in search of a safe and stable place to call home. May of the Recluce books take place in a very localized area, even when the protagonist is riding off to war or exile, so it’s nice that this one feels like a bit more of a traveling adventure story. Though it’s always a little bit odd when we get a book in the Saga of Recluce that doesn’t focus on crafting as heavily as most of the earlier books do.

Now normally this is where I would probably list and complain about the little things in Outcasts of Order that bother me, which tend to be the same things that bother me in every Recluce book, but they didn’t really happen much here. It’s both nice and a little bit weird that we didn’t get a ridiculous amount of detail on what Beltur or his friends were eating or drinking or how many times they chewed before swallowing. I noticed this same lack of detail the Mongrel Mage as well, but I thought the lack was definitely more noticeable here. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I kind of miss it and almost want to complain about the lack of such details when normally they would be the thing that bothers me the most.

I think I can honestly say I would rate Outcasts of Order up there as one of my favorite books in the Saga of Recluce and I would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for something new to read. Though I would suggest reading The Mongrel Mage first so that you get Beltur’s story from the very beginning. I expected this to be a duology like most of the Recluce books seem to be but its clearly a trilogy and I can’t wait to see what happens to Beltur and his friends next.

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

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