Magician is the first book in Raymond E Feist's epic Riftwar series. Set primarily on the world of Midkemia, a medieval, rural type world, the story centres on two boys, Pug and Tomas. Pug's ambition is to be a magician whilst Tomas wants only to become a soldier. All is going well in their lives until war erupts, changing the boys' lives forever. The twist in this tale is that the invaders are from another world, a place called Telewan that is medieval Chinese in style, populated by a harsh and cruel race. They have discovered a rift in space/time that allows them to cross to Midkemia where they cause havoc, murdering and enslaving the Midkemians. Naturally, as with all fantasy books, the two youngsters are, in their differing way, to become heroes and to save the day. One criticism could be that there is not much detail given regarding Telewan but Feist (along with Janny Wurts) has brought out the Empire trilogy which is a series set on that world. For anyone wanting that extra information, they will find those books a real treat.
This book seems (judging by previous reviews) to be one that you will either love or hate. Many have tried to compare it to Tolkein whilst others belittle that view. It certainly isn't Tolkein, but is an original and interesting book in its own right. Sure, many of the staples of fantasy are there such as elves and dwarfs, swords and sorcery etc. but there is enough originality in this book to make it a very worthwhile read.
This is a big book to read (in the USA / Canada it has now been split into two volumes) but don't let that put you off, it's not so heavyweight that it becomes a chore to read, nor so lightweight it becomes boring. It's certainly worth the time of any lover of fantasy fiction.