Imager's Intrigue: The Third Book of the Imager Portfolio Hardcover – Jul 20 2010
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Praise for the Imager Portfolio:
“The Imager Portfolio features some of the best characters Modesitt has ever created, real enough to make you consider what you’d do in their places.”
—Booklist on Imager’s Challenge
“The prolific Modesitt kicks off a new fantasy series that boasts an early modern setting—think Victorian times without the pollution.… Modesitt’s capacity to wring new surprises from stock ideas remains undiminished.”
—Kirkus Reviews on Imager
“Meticulous world-building.… The world is fascinating, and the Imagers themselves are extraordinary."
—Rt Book Reviews on Imager
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
That said, it left me wanting more story from this set of characters (book 4 is set at a different time in the timeline)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you've read the first two books, you do want to find out what happens to the protagonist, Rhennthyl, and his wife Seliora. They are interesting, consistent characters, if they do suffer sometimes at the hands of Modesitt's style. As usual, the author keeps a hard remove from his character's emotions. He describes their actions and some of their thoughts, but he only lets us infer their motives and emotions. In some ways, this is what makes this a more adult version of the genre. It isn't an emotional rollercoaster, it is a story about events. It reads almost as a historical document.
The action is evenly paced, with lots of political machinations and subplots, although if I read one more paragraph about the theory and history of water rights, you can just go ahead and shoot me. On the other hand, the resolution of the story is satisfying and very logical. We end up going along with Rhenn's journey, I suppose in the same way one would go along for a ride-along in the day-by-day events in the life of, say, Harry Truman. (I mention Truman not because Rhenn is anything like him, but because Rhenn faces a similar type of historical situation and similar types of choices.)
Still, I know this review sounds as if I hated the book, but I did not. For some reason, I find Modesitt's fantasy storytelling compelling. I have a hard time putting his books down once I start them, even on those occasions when the action flags, and such was the case with Imager's Intrigue; I didn't put it down until I was done. I suppose that's the ultimate gauge for such a book.
1. It seemed out of place. True to its title, Imager's Intrigue is all about Rhenn unravelling schemes and machinations, and not so much about Rhenn being a hands-on imager. To be fair, we still get to see Rhenn in action, but it's really not the point of this book. In fact, the largest action sequence in the story doesn't even involve (directly) Rennn. Not to say that a book of intrigue is a bad thing, but it is a significant departure from the rhythm established in the prior two books. I found it jarring, and since it really wasn't what I was looking forward to, a bit disappointing.
2. It felt repetitive. I'm not sure how many times the reader needs to be reminded about the Rhenn's morning calisthenics rituals, or how important it is that imagers sleep in lead-lined rooms or have to read prayers to The Nameless, but in these areas (and others) I felt like Modesitt went a little overboard. I'll give Modesitt the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was trying to convey that the structure of Rhenn's days are routine (wake up, exercise, read reports while taking hack to work...), but enough already.
3. It got a little preachy. Modesitt explores the relative merits of capitalism, free-trade, benevolent monarchies, the military industrial complex and tax law. Oh, and women's rights. Can't forget women's rights. Suffice to say, the reader is left with little doubt as to where the author stands on these issues, and his arguments are a bit ham-handed.
Despite these issues, I still heartily recommend this series, and this book, to friends and strangers. The world is expertly crafted. The (many) characters are nuanced, true to their motives and so well presented that most readers will (continue to) care about what happens to all of the primaries. The overall story arc, while a bit predictable, still has enough surprises that the reader can't take anything for granted. And if a lecture on the impact of land valuation is not something you want to sit through, just skip it. Unlike several books I've read of late where I find myself skipping over large sections of smut and am left with little to call a story, even if you skim through all of the "boring" in Imager's Intrigue you are still left with a lot to enjoy.
Second, the book seemed overloaded with characters. If they had not had the character list at the beginning of this book, I would have been lost. There were times that I just could not keep straight who was who and what side they were on and if they were a High Holder a Free Holder etc...
Third, there was too much politics and little action. The political intrigue was one thing I liked about the other books, but mainly because it was only part of the story, not the whole story. In this book, politics takes the forefront and it becomes a bit of a bore after a while.
Lastly, the book seemed to move slowly. It took me far longer to read this book than the other two in the series. I did not find that it captivated my interest as much as the other books.
I did not hate the book, it just was not the best in the series. It does tie things up and you are not left hanging in the end. I just think that more could have been done with it.
We missed TONS of stuff that was promised in the first 2 books, plus this book started out with TONS and TONS of loose ends/plot holes. It is almost as if someone else was ghostwriting for Modesitt.
Where's the wedding proposal, and wedding? Where's the birth of the daughter? What happened when he moved into the couples area? What about those huge problems that he was supposed to have?
Tons of missing content due to the skip ahead of 5 years.
Very, very disappointing.