The Magic of Recluce is the sort of book that takes a little while to get into, but it’s hard to put down after. L. E. Modesitt tells the story from the first-person perspective of Lerris, a “bored” youth born on the island of Recluce. The Order-obsessed nation pushes him to leave on the dangergeld—a sort of quest away from Recluce to “find oneself”—in order to prevent the potential disorder an unfocused person with latent wizardly talents could introduce to the society. Lerris has basically no idea what’s going on, how Recluce functions or how the diametrically opposed forces of Order and Chaos work, and you have to learn along with him.

It’s a good story of a reluctant hero learning to be a wizard with very little guidance, save a book and a friendly gray wizard who helps him for a time. There’s much traveling, sleeping at inns, and a good lot of avoiding city guards and Chaos-aligned wizards.

Modesitt’s magic system is interesting. There are two sides of his magic: Order and Chaos. Though they do not necessarily represent good and evil, they do trend that way. The balance between them is vitally important, and is an intriguing part of the story.

The one thing that really bothered me was the onomatopoeia. Lerris’s horse went whee…eee more times than I would bother to count, and thunder thrummed a few times. I feel it detracted from the book, but it’s more of a mechanical issue than a flaw in the story.

The Magic of Recluce is a good read, and one that fans of The Wheel of Time will likely enjoy.