Natural Ordermage by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rahl, a young scribe eventually ousted from Recluse by being an untrainable natural Order Mage, a danger to everyone around him simply because the magic comes too easily, too uncontrollably, is the main focus of this tale.
So much of the kinds of storytelling that Modesitt tells follows a very specific pattern: there are lots of gentle, mundane details in these everyday lives. And excellence where we least expect it. And a calm, curious, and balanced mind even when the rest of the world might be downright evil or cruel.
In almost every instance, there is a requisite humble character who rises steadily to the top of his profession/trade/legend.
It's a common, well-worn path. But there's something more about this that I must bring up: Is it a time-saver for the storyteller? Or is it a fundamental aspect that is unique and required for every great mage or mage-engineer on this planet? Does the personality create great mages, or is it just a winning strategy for the author?
I just can't tell. For one, I ENJOY each and every one of these stories. It's comforting, balancing, and fills my heart with hope and calm. That isn't to say that there aren't really exciting and interesting stories. It that the main characters behave logically and with balanced hearts even when they're abused, mind-wiped, or generally trodden upon. It's quite nice to experience.
So what about Rahl and his story?
We're in a society/later time from most of the novels, in a large society that has learned to incorporate both chaos AND order mages in something resembling harmony. It's quite interesting to see the pitfalls and the intrigue and the injustices from this angle. And it's also fun to see how he gets around them. Or how he's completely unable to.
This is both very familiar territory and utterly delightful. I can't recommend this series enough, especially if the reader needs this kind of internal balancing act in their lives. It's just so ... healthy. :)
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