Mage-Guard of Hamor is the 15th book in the Saga of Recluce series by L.E. Modesitt Jr. If you’ve gotten to this point in the series, then odds are you know what you are getting in to, and perhaps you don’t mind the comfortable repetition. But, unfortunately, this installment only left me bored.
Mage-Guard of Hamor continues the story we were following in Natural Ordermage. The main character, Rahl, is one of the less likeable protagonists in the series, but the story of the country of Hamor is interesting, so I was hoping for some lively reading.
Things were going pretty well until Rahl was sent to war. Five hundred pages later, after a slow trudge from hamlet to town to city to hamlet, with battles and magical challenges every so often, we finally get to the climax… and then the story ends. Modesitt seemed to get caught in a rut and took 500 pages to write something that should have taken half that. Rahl is growing and developing during the war, but the way it was chronicled left me completely uninterested. There was way too much time spent trudging through the mud of war and moping with Rahl. I just got tired of it. Boring doesn’t begin to describe it.
Another problem I had with Mage-Guard was the inconsistency in Rahl’s attitude toward romance. He begins as quite the player with the ladies — flirting with one, sleeping with another, and courting yet another. He is cutting quite a swath through the local girls, but then comes the mandatory problems with the use of Order (magic) and suddenly he’s transformed into a monogamous, loyal young man who is willing to wait forever, hoping against hope that the girl he loves will love him back. Ugh!
I like the Saga of Recluce, but I think Mage-Guard of Hamor was the worst book in the series. That’s saying something because there are several that I read once and can’t be bothered to read again. Mage-Guard is tough to read even if you are a fan of the series. It just really, really bored me to tears. Modesitt is starting a new series (Imager), so maybe Mage-Guard was feeble because the new series was distracting him. Let’s hope so.