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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Worldbuilding
Readers who like thoughtful, complex, exciting, unpredictable space opera ought to be reaching for the Mageworlds books.
THE STARS ASUNDER is different from the other Mageworlds books, as indeed it ought to be: now, for the first time, we see this universe from the point of view of the "villains". The Republic is the Other in this story, and the Mages'...
Published on July 11 2000

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3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating SF series
...For myself, I love stories about magic and super alternative universes. In this book a tough subject of how much mages must devote of themselves in order to effect the desired magical result is addressed. This includes sacrifice of one's life due to their belief that blood is a powerful enhancer of magic rituals.(a notion founded in pagan lore). Apparently the act of...
Published on Jan. 25 2002 by K. N. Nelson


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3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating SF series, Jan. 25 2002
By 
K. N. Nelson (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
...For myself, I love stories about magic and super alternative universes. In this book a tough subject of how much mages must devote of themselves in order to effect the desired magical result is addressed. This includes sacrifice of one's life due to their belief that blood is a powerful enhancer of magic rituals.(a notion founded in pagan lore). Apparently the act of physically striking at/upon one another with magically enhanced wooden staves enables them to create the kinetic energy that will knit the "eiran" and create a weave that aids their people in achieving a form of harmonic balance in their universe, even with the bad guys stirring up mischief. The authors' use of the term "Eiran" suggests "aura" or "ley lines", used in metaphysical literature.
The story shows a certain politeness in piracy and interstellar business dealings, rather like a good ole boy's club that offers a wink and a nod to ripping each other off. It appears to be a rite of passage or gamemanship mutually agreed upon to enhance the wealth and power of the reining star lords. The pirates take turns boarding one another's vessel to steal their cargo which is all executed with good humor and jovial camraderie. (after all the insurance carrier will have to pony up for the losses). These acts of piracy are then followed by a blow out party onboard the ship undergoing piracy. For this reader, the analogies to current day politics is quite inescapably clear.
This is the first book that I have read in this space opera series and I am looking forward to the follow up book "A Working of Stars" which promises more of the magic and machinations of this fascinating Mageworld.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fine Space Opera with real Mages, June 30 2000
By 
Richard R. Horton (Webster Groves, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
This is an exciting and colourful adventure story, set in a universe where high technologies such as spaceships and robots interact seamlessly with what appear to be magical powers. As such it could be regarded as a book on the diffuse borderline between SF and Fantasy, though the rigorous approach to the use of the magical system, as well as, to be sure, the space-going setting, gives the book a feel that is distinctly SF.
Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald have been publishing their Mageworlds series of unabashed Space Opera since 1992. The books feature a conflict between the Republic and the Mageworlds, both loose associations of solar systems, separated by a large starless gap. The first five books have all been from the point of view of the Republic. This book is set some 500 years prior to the preceding books, and it is set mostly in the Mageworlds, prior to their contact with the worlds of the Republic. While the Mageworlds appear to be the "bad guys" in the other books, in this book we see the action through their eyes, and their motivations are a usual human mixture of noble and venal.
The story follows several threads: one involving 'Rekhe, a young man of the eus-Peledaen family, who becomes a mage; another involving his mentor, Garrod, who plans to cross the ancient gap caused by the "Sundering of the Galaxy"; another involving 'Rekhe's lover's fleet career; and a complicated thread involving political machinations concerning the domination of the star fleet families over Mageworlds trade.
The story takes a while to get going, because there are many threads to initiate. But eventually Garrod makes his exhausting quasi-magical trip across the gap, and 'Rekhe persuades his family to sponsor a trip to the world Garrod finds. But the technological situation across the "sundering" is rather different from what the Mageworlds are used to, and it isn't at all clear if this contact will be a good thing. At the same time, the various plots coming to a head back home threaten to disturb the settled, somewhat peaceful, order of the Mageworlds. The conclusion is exciting and satisfying. The plots turn out to be more convoluted than expected, and in a sensible way. The authors manage to make the people of the Mageworlds believable and basically good, while at the same time setting them up to be the villains they become in future books. The various characters are also believable, and mostly likeable, even when they act in questionable ways.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Worldbuilding, July 11 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
Readers who like thoughtful, complex, exciting, unpredictable space opera ought to be reaching for the Mageworlds books.
THE STARS ASUNDER is different from the other Mageworlds books, as indeed it ought to be: now, for the first time, we see this universe from the point of view of the "villains". The Republic is the Other in this story, and the Mages' way of seeing life and the universe is the main focus. We come to understand them in this book, which in turn makes rereading the previous Mageworlds books take on new meaning.
The pacing and language is different, which I think is a plus. Convoluted, yes. Complex, yes. Unexpected, yes. And wouldn't you like, for once, not to know exactly where a story is going? If you like Lois McMaster Bujold, and Jack Vance's better work, and Vernor Vinge, then you really ought to give this book a try. It's a keeper.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Les Mediocres...Like A Treadmill -- Ending Up Nowhere, May 28 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
Again, very choppy overall. My hope of discovering something was disappointed by the average to poor writing and disjointed reading experience. One would think two people could keep each other interesting but maybe the converse holds true. This genre seems to suffer from inbreeding. It's chock full of aspiring writers who consider themselves expert because they've read luminaries. They then strive to be writers, the drive is out of ambition, and they end up criticizing each other into monotony. Les Mediocres remain peripheral to talent as long as they spend too much time picking apart each other and the craft. The question that addresses the problem may be, where are the editors who keep this level of blah from congesting the shelves. I suppose it's all right that the sentences and puctuation are correct if you just want to engage your mind like being on a treadmill, ending up nowhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First-Rate SF, May 30 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: STARS ASUNDER (Hardcover)
It's kind of odd that the first five books were called "Mageworlds" when actually the Mages were more or less the enemy, and the stories took place on the other side of the galaxy. But this time, we really see this universe from the point of view of the "bad guys"--who aren't necessarily bad.
Doyle and Macdonald are never predictable, or easy; if you like tricky plotting and subtle characterizations and zippy pacing, this is the book for you. Add in the realistic detail on how military people think and work, and you've got great action as well. But that's not to say the story is one-dimensional shoot'em'up; there are insightful glimpses into human interaction, and traces of mysticism.
Well worth the hardback price, because this is a keeper for years of rereading. I hope there's going to be more about the real Mageworlds!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best of the Best, June 5 1999
This review is from: STARS ASUNDER (Hardcover)
The absolute best thing about this new book that's chock-full of bests is that we finally get to see so much more of the Adepts (though still not enough of the whole Mageworlds culture: more books please!), who have a delightfully magickal worldview. This is a great adventure full of battle murder and sudden death: a most excellent place to start the series (it's a prequel) and a welcome return for those who are already fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Travel Back to the Beginning, Sept. 8 2000
This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. I had already read the trilogy and prequel of the mageworlds books and i found it really interesting to learn more about the mages themselves. If you've read the trilogy or even just the prequel and liked it you definately want to read this book, especially if you liked the Professor. There are a few things left unexplained at the end, but i guess that just means i'll have to read the sequel!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Glad I didn't start with this book, Aug. 17 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: STARS ASUNDER (Hardcover)
Glad I didn't start the MageWorlds with this book; it seems disjointed and vague, like the authors knew they wanted to write a book but didn't know where it should go. Especially sad was the authors' need to explain stuff beforehand in a preface. This book is OK for MageWorld fans but it sure doesn't have the same character magic the original books have.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interestig filling in of the backplot, Sept. 19 2000
By 
David Risner (Fontana, California USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a good story that kept me riveted.
I would, however, read these books in the order they were written and not in their story-based chronological order.
The story, while trying not to, seems to depend upon one's previous knowledge of the Mageworlds universe to really be interesting.
I can hardly wait for the sequel to this book!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poor choice, June 27 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds (Mass Market Paperback)
Okay, so I was bored and this book was one of the few new paperbacks that I hadn't read. I haven't tried any of the other Mageworld novels and I guess I really shouldn't have started with this one.
It was boring and disjointed. The book rambled on for a while and just ended (much like this review :).
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The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds
The Stars Asunder: A New Novel of the Mageworlds by James D. Macdonald (Mass Market Paperback - June 15 2000)
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