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The Magic of Recluce (Recluce series, Book…

The Magic of Recluce (Recluce series, Book 1) (original 1991; edition 1992)

by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

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1,671164,288 (3.76)26
Title:The Magic of Recluce (Recluce series, Book 1)
Authors:L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Info:Tor Fantasy (1992), Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, modesitt

Work details

The Magic of Recluce by Jr. L. E. Modesitt (1991)

  1. 10
    The Death of Chaos by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: The Death of Chaos is the direct sequel to The Magic of Recluce, and continues the story from Lerris' perspective. It is also written from Lerris' first-person perspective, unlike most of the other Recluce books which are in third-person.
  2. 00
    A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr (Mav.Weirdo)
  3. 00
    The Initiate by Louise Cooper (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Two different takes on the theme of Order and Chaos, and the balance between them or lack thereof.

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This is a comfort read for me. Lerris is exiled from Recluse (home of magicians who work in Order) for asking too many questions and being too unreliable. During his time in the outside world, he slowly realizes why Recluse is the way it is--and why he can never go back. Probably the best of the Recluse series. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Another big long book, and the start of one of those giant epic fantasy sagas.
However, again, I'm not going to go get the sequels.
I like fantasy because it has such potential to expand our concepts of what human society can be, in different and unusual, often dramatic situations.
One can tell, reading this book, that the author is conservative, christian, and non-feminist. This only occasionally intrudes jarringly into the story, but there's absolutely nothing in here that would stretch the comfort zone of the most typical inhabitant of stereotypical middle-America.
The main character is a bored young man who lives in a utopian society of peace and plenty (where women know their place). But he's bored.
His family sends him to a center where the various disaffected (the bored, criminals, feminists) are trained and then sent out of the lovely, ordered kingdom of Recluce to make their way in the dangerous wide world, only possibly to ever return.
Our protagonist goes questing and along the way discovers he has the potential to be a super-powerful wizard. MORE TO COME.... in the sequels, of course. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This was an enjoyable read. Nothing spectacular, definitely not five stars for me, but it could have at least been four stars if not for one very annoying component... But more on that later.

The characters - I liked them. Some of the relationships that formed between them seemed a little unbelievable and/or unnatural to me, but it wasn't so bad as to interfere with my enjoyment of the story. The magic system - interesting, I liked the idea of order versus chaos and all of the rules that went with each side. The world was also interesting to me, I found myself wanting to keep reading so that I could learn more about Recluce and unravel the mysteries surrounding it. The plot was sort of so so.. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it.. But for most of the book it just sort of meandered along. The plot was advancing, but I had no idea what it was advancing towards. It only really started coming together and wrapping up in the last third or quarter. But like I said - the ride to get there was interesting, I just would have liked some more hints as to what the overall plot was a little earlier on.

Now back to the annoying component.. The sound effects. What the heck was up with those sound effects? They were so awkward and out of place in the story! Some examples of what I mean...

Thwup, thwup, thwup... thwup, thwup, thwup... The paddles churned, dipping into the water with increasing speed, and a heavier and thicker plume of whitish smoke billowed from the stack.

... clink... clink... clunk... Sweat was pouring from his face, and he was breathing hard.... clink... clunk... Crack!... Whsssttt... "Aiiieee...!" Clank..

Thrummmm... thrumm... Splatt... splattt... The cold raindrops on my head prompted me to complete my recovery of the cloak and to replace the pack behind the saddle.

Seriously.. What is up with that? They are completely unnecessary, annoying, and everywhere. They didn't really show up right away, which is good because I probably would have dropped the book right away if they had. By the time they did show up I was already interested in the story, so I pushed through. But seriously.. They almost ruin the story.

So overall - the story/characters/magic/world in general gets four stars, but I have to take off a star for the sound effects. I will likely read on in the series, but I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed that the sound effects go away. ( )
  breakofdawn | Jun 11, 2013 |
Excellent world building and superb magic system with an annoyingly dense but affable young adult protagonist on a quest. Lerris is 'the chosen one' but for all the wrong reasons or completely mysterious hidden reasons until he's painted himself into a corner with his fumbling choices. Lerris isn't burdened with a prophecy, but he resists the status quo of Recluce. Lerris is just your typical young adult with attention deficit disorder (i.e., he's bored and finds everything boring), but Recluce doesn't prescribe Ritalin. Somewhat like extreme Amish, Recluce peacefully forces their misfits to either exile permanently or go on dangergeld (similar to rumspringa but with a quest attached), during which they must decide if they can return to Recluce and succumb to its creed and worldview (seeking perfection in Order). This novel follows Lerris on his journey as a dangergelder until he understands all that Recluce embodies and effects, and reaches his decision.

If you are looking for a story with character growth, Lerris' journey as an exile from Recluce will fit that bill. If you are looking for a new fantasy world with a detailed history, divergent societies, a logical robust magic system, with a different spin on the age-old struggle between angels and demons, good and evil, black and white, order and chaos, then you've come to the right story and series.

Modesitt's Recluce series reminds me of Asimov's robot stories. He sets up a scenario with some basic, seemingly simple rules (for example, Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and Modesitt's Order/Chaos balance system as glimpsed through snippets of The Basis of Order) and proceeds to challenge those rules with his world and its characters. While each novel adds a piece of the broader puzzle, for the most part, like this first one, the books stand alone quite well. ( )
  mossjon | Mar 31, 2013 |
An engaging read that starts out as a coming-of-age fantasy and advances into something...else. It reminds me in places of Robert Jordan, Michael Moorcock, and Steven Erikson, yet has its own voice.

Modesitt gets a high score for his world building. The world of Recluce is wonderful and the surface is only scratched at here. I'm intrigued enough by this to read more in the series at some point. Since all but one of the 15 or so other books out there happen before this one, there's plenty of backstory to add to the world here.

I also enjoyed Modesitt's pace and style. He uses the first person narrative style as the story is revealed by the main character, Lerris. He's a young man learning his powers and his way in the world. He seems to start out as a typical Rand/Frodo/Richard Cypher/Luke Skywalker type but eventually matures into an interesting character in his own right. And he does this mostly by learning things for himself, rather than having a Gandalf figure to tell him what to do.

The magic system of Recluce is excellent. Basically, all of the magic is centered around the forces of order and chaos, and the manipulation or of keeping them up. This is where the Moorcock reminders are. I enjoyed seeing Lerris learn about the system and seeing it in practice from him and others utilizing it. The chaos-masters and order-masters, commanding the white of chaos and black of order fascinated me. I love the switch from typical by having white reprsent evil and black for good, though they're not quite as black and white (forgive the play on words) as that. Chaos leads to evil but isn't evil in and of itself. Same thing with order. The relationships and manipulations of chaos and order are what end up defining good and evil here.

There are some small breaks in the course of the novel where the author switches to a present tense third person and gives us hints as to other happenings away from Lerris. I had mixed feelings about those. While they were interesting and helped set up some of the big picture drama, they were too few and far between to really help the story that much. They were also pretty vague and honestly took away from some of the surprise later. It was a jolt in the narrative whenever one of these came up, both to switch into the third person and then back to Lerris's view. In my opinion, they should have been left out. Or, where there was something useful there, maybe it could have been told to Lerris by someone on the road. As far as giving the reader something that Lerris didn't know, that doesn't make sense in a first person story. There was a LOT going on that he didn't pick up all the details on, and that was fine. It added to the mystery of the world and story.

The other annoying thing wasn't as minor. In fact, it bugged the piss out of me and might have helped keep this book from a 5-star rating. The f**king sound effects! That was a narrative flaw that could very well get a book tossed into the burn pile. If this story wasn't as engaging as it was, that would have had me heading right back to the library to drop this thing in the overnight return.

Here's an example:

"Tharoom...thud...tharoom... Walking the white fir was walking across a massive drum. Antonin's coach must have vied with the real thunder when it rumbled across his bridge...Tharummmm...
The heavy wooden gate, set on massive bronze hinges, eased open even more widely as I watched."

That's annoying. I felt like I was watching one of those old cheesy Batman television episodes. There are ways to describe sound without treating the reader like an idiot or make them feel like they're reading a comic book without pictures. Luckily he didn't really get rolling with this technique too early in the book, and by the time he did I was already hooked by the story. Otherwise it would have been "holy cheesy effects, Batman" and I would have moved on to something else. I was able to live with them eventually, my eyes blurring over and past to the real narrative beyond.

Overall, I give this book high points for the world building, the magic system, the characters, and the writing voice used by Modesitt over the course of most of the novel. I'm definitely interested in reading more books in the Recluce series, I'm just hoping he cuts back on the special effects. ( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stawicki, MattCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Bob Muir, Clay Hunt, and Walter Rosenberry. Too belated an appreciation, but read for all the delay.
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Growing up, I always wondered why everything in Wandernaught seemed so dull.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812505182, Mass Market Paperback)

With The Magic of Recluce, L.E. Modesitt made his impressive hardcover debut, breaking out in wide scope and grand scale with a novel in the great tradition of the war between good and evil in a wonderful fantasy world. Modesitt had been producing fast-paced, slickly-written novels of SF adventure, often compared to the work of Keith Laumer and Gordon R. Dickson. Then, in his biggest and best book yet, he broadened his canvas and turned to fantasy and magic, stepping immediately into the front rank of contemporary fantasy writers.

The Magic of Recluce is a carefully-plotted fantasy novel of character about the growth and education of a young magician. In it, Modesitt confronts real moral issues with gripping force, builds atmosphere slowly and convincingly and gives his central character, Lerris, real intellectual challenges. This is the kind of highly-rationalized fantasy that Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson write when they write fantasy, colorful and detailed.

He is given the standard two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. He chooses dangergeld.

Though magic is rarely discussed openly in Recluce, it becomes clear, when Lerris is sent into intensive training for his quest, that he has a natural talent for it during his weapons lessons. And he will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked. He must learn to use his powers in an orderly way or fall prey to Chaos.

Lerris may resent order, but he has no difficulty choosing good over evil. As he begins his lonely journey, he falls into the company of a gray magician, once of Recluce, who tutors him in the use of magic and shows him some of the devastation caused by the Chaos Wizards in the great wars between Chaos and Order of past times.

Lerris pursues a quest for knowledge and power that leads him across strange lands, through the ghostly ruins of the old capitol of Chaos, down the white roads of the Chaos Wizards to a final battle with the archenemy of Order, discovering in the end true control of magic, true love, and the beginning of true wisdom. An epic adventure, The Magic of Recluce0, is a triumph of fantasy.

The Magic of Recluce is the first book of the saga of Recluce.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:32 -0400)

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Lerris, a bored magician's apprentice, embarks on a quest for knowledge--called the dangergeld--during which he encounters the magic of the Chaos Wizards and battles the Archenemy of Order.

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