Before I start off on the book review, I have to say that I just finally noticed that Modesitt has been spelling Recluse wrong this entire time. I've had his books laying around for over a decade and never noticed this! I'm assuming that I've missed how he spells Recluse as Recluce just for the sake that my brain couldn't fathom it being misspelled. It makes you wonder if it got printed this way on the first run, but they decided to run with it. Is it supposed to be said in the same way as recluse, or does it have some other pronunciation? re-kloo-k? It's just a mind scramble to me! I even verified on his own website to make sure it wasn't a problem with Amazon. =\
The Magic of Recluce throws the reader into a slightly different fantasy realm than normal. Sure, the world is full of medieval age technology - swords, crappy hotels, poor food - but they also have guns and some steam technology to boot. The drastic change from your typical Dragonquest or D&D style fantasy is the magic system. You're two competing schools of thought are Order and Chaos. In some ways, you can attribute some Eastern mythology to the way this works. While they compete, they must also be balanced. It's intriguing how Modesitt brings the two forces together within the individual and through the world. That would be enough to pick up this first book and try it out. The book mostly follows one protagonist with a few minor characters touched on throughout. It's mostly a journey of discovery.... don't want to say much more.
I really enjoyed my re-read. I've read a couple of his books before and he's done a good job at keeping your interest through the three hundred to four hundred pages. But it's not all perfect. I'm not a big fan of how he incorporates noises through the book. You'll get a few whees, yehaws, wooshes, and others. They also don't always mean the same thing. It's not enough to put down the book for me, but some folks might just pass after the first novel.
Rating: 7 CBs - I've read it three times so it has to have something going for it. I'm also excited about having the other books of the series. I can finally finish up an entire set!