Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: The Magic Engineer

The Magic Engineer is the third book in the Recluce series. I'm starting to see the pattern that Modesitt is putting together: the first book introduced the world, while the later books seem to be filling in back story. This book covers Dorrin, a smith/healer who was exiled from Recluce for dreaming of mechanical marvels. As yet another coming of age story, it's nothing special, but of course, what drew me in was the depiction of the engineer who was the first to analyze Recluce's special brand of magic: while those before him were content to manipulate energies, Dorrin struggled to understand the big picture, and hence becomes the author of a major ground-breaking book depicted in the first novel.

The character is again quite wooden, and we see the flaw to Modesitt's approach to world-building: his characters aren't free to be themselves, but rather must fit into a history that he has clearly designed in advance. This makes the characters feel very shallow.

While I enjoyed this book, I can't put a recommended tag on it. That's not going to keep me from reading newer books in the series --- it just means that I can't say that anyone else will enjoy it.
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