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Imager's Battalion [Anglais] [Poche]

L. E., Jr. Modesitt

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24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A standard Modesitt book 26 janvier 2013
Par Edward E. Tuan - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
As a longtime fan of L.E. Modesitt, Jr., I was excited to discover that he had begun another series based in the Imager Portfolio universe. However, after reading Scholar and Princeps, I was left waiting for months for the newest book of the series to come out: Imager's Battalion. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of the series, I was somewhat let down with Imager's Battalion. To be fair, there was no glaring flaws in the book, but there were some inconsistencies throughout the book which just gave me kind of a bland impression of the entire book. These will be outlined in greater detail below and may include some spoilers, so be warned. Overall, Imager's Battalion is an acceptable, but not outstanding, addition to the Imager's Portfolio, and were it not for the fact that they were not concluding the series in an additional book Antiagon Fire (Imager Portfolio), I'd probably drop the rating down to 2 stars instead of 3.


Okay, so down to the nitty gritty about what bothered me with this particular book of the Imager's series:

1. If you've ever read Mage-Guard of Hamor (Saga of Recluce) of the Recluse saga, you'll find that these two books are rather remarkably similar; both books involve a character on a long war campaign leading troops and using their powers to destroy the evil forces of the other side. Similarities include: both characters use shields to great extent in battle, troops in the opposing army are generally incompetent in some way, and both campaigns seemed heavily laden with traps which the character magically is able to sense and disarm. Now while I kind of understand it from the Recluse perspective (the traps could be considered chaotic due to their destructive nature), I don't really get the whole angle on how Quaeryt would begin to be able to sense them.

2. The characters of the series seemed to have turned complacent in Imager's Battalion. Bhayar, who is described throughout the series to be a reasonably perceptive ruler, is somehow unaware of fact that 10 out of 11 regiments that were sent to reinforce the his army for the final battle were diverted to the northern army, leaving the Southern army and Quaeryt only a total of 3. Civilians of the book were all pretty much well mannered and displayed none of the outright hostility one would expect for invaders or imagers/Pharsis. All the Pharsi characters, imagers and the Khel troops, were all more or less outright worshipful of Quaeryt; one would expect some kind of faction that is at least dubious of him. Overall, these instances gave me an impression that the author was just not trying very hard to give a realistic outlook of characters in that world; the lack of dissonant characters made it all seem very one-dimensional.

3. One of the biggest things that bothered me about Imager's Battalion was the ending. Generally when Modesitt writes a book, he tends to have a general, if short, conclusion. It generally includes a summary of what has happened to all the major characters involved in the book, and a small hint of what's to come. However, to say the ending for Imager's Battalion is abrupt would be an understatement. At the conclusion of the book, you are basically told that Quaeryt survives and the enemy is destroyed. No mention on the state of the army, the other imagers, or what's to come. However, given that the next book of the series is titled "Antiagon Fire", one can probably conclude that Quaeryt is likely to end up fighting Antiagons.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Solid if standard Modesitt novel 23 janvier 2013
Par Indy Reviewer - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Slightly less enthralling than the other entries in what's been L. E. Modesitt's best series in a while, "Imager's Battalion" is still a solid addition to it. 4 stars.

Modesitt's tried-and-true formula of the coming of age rituals for reluctant heroes that possess not-so-reluctant morals and superpowers got a bit stale in his last few Recluce books, but the Imager series has been a nice turnaround. "Scholar" and "Princeps" followed the growth of hero Quaeryt's career and powers, with most of the writing focused on his political rise while he gets forced into combat as a logical part of his responsibilities. "Imager's Battalion" is a bit different, as the politics are more of a sidelight while the military conquest takes precedence. To long time Modesitt readers, this is a bit reminiscent of books in several of his previous series, including one of the Corean Chronicles where after setting up the politics and world in previous books Modesitt dedicates the sequel to his heroes on campaign.

In this case, Quaeryt ends up commanding a battalion that is designed to use him and the few imagers he's assigned. Most of the novel revolves around Quaeryt learning to accept responsibility for being senior, and he struggles but finally comes to the realization he can't do everything himself and starts delegating and training.

The military action isn't terribly notable as the civilians are well-behaved and the opposing forces are competent but largely off-stage except for when they're being directly opposed (and usually slaughtered) by Quaeryt and his men. There's a scheming high-level type bureaucratically opposing things, but that storyline isn't one of the centerpieces of the hero's story as it normally is in Modesitt's novels. There's some minor additions to worldbuilding in the interesting exploration of some of the Pharsi legends, what it has meant to be an Imager over the course of history, and several events that seem to correspond to ones discussed in the Imager books set hundreds of years later. All this, though, takes a back seat to moving Quaeryt along.

Combined with the series' seventh book, "Antiagon Fire", being due out in only 4 months, it adds to the overall impression of "Imager's Battalion" being more of a transition novel than anything else. Thus, with the focus being on getting the reluctant hero to a place where he can finish his job upending the world, the overall book is a bit weaker than the previous two novels. Still, it's worth a read as Modesitt's best series in a while progresses. 4 stars.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Long Campaign 14 février 2013
Par Nash Android - Publié sur
This is the sixth installment in American fantasy writer L.E. Modesitt's Imager series. In it, Quaeryt continues to advance his goals of making the continent of Lydar a safe place for imagers (the magicians of this world), Pharsi (an ethnic minority), and scholars (a much maligned group of scribes and thinkers). Quareyt is a member of all three in one way or another.

Bhayar, Lord of Telaryn, considers Quaeryt a friend and a competent ally. He is also his brother-in-law, but it is mainly for his imaging abilities, loyalty, and intelligence that Bhayar makes him a subcommander in his army.

In this book, Quaeryt is nurturing a small group of other imagers who are junior officers under his command. They, and the rest of Bhayar's army, are invading the neighboring kingdom of Bovaria, which is ruled by the ambitious and thoroughly despicable Rex Kharst.

The story is essentially a five hundred-page narrative of the military campaign that brings Bhayar's army to the capital of Bovaria. It relates, sometimes with almost too much attention to detail, Quaeryt's journey, his stays at inns, his consumption of lager (for mostly medicinal purposes), and the magically augmented scouting missions, engineering efforts, skirmishes, and battles in which he is involved.

Modesitt's strength is his world building. The setting has a solid feel, as if it might really be able to exist in some alternate reality with slightly different physical laws. The magic system used is interesting. It's not just wand waving and reciting bits of mock-Latin. There is some effort to maintain the basic principle of conservation of energy, although in this book I thought this was being stretched by instances of impressive dirt shifting and bridge building. Any details on those would involve spoilers, though, so I'll say no more about them -- or about the ending, which I thought could have benefited from a final confrontation with Kharst.

The prose, however, is unexceptional. The writing is serviceable but not elegant. It certainly isn't beautiful. There are few, if any, instances of clever word play or poetic imagery, and there is no attempt at humor. The characters are stiff, formal, and their dialog is comparable to that in the old TV series `Dragnet.'

There are also no grand ideas floating beneath the surface. The book conveys no deep, philosophical insights and little by way of social commentary. Quaeryt is portrayed as being less prejudiced, more considerate, and more intelligent than most other characters in the book, which places him on the moral high ground and which is why the reader cares about him and his success.

I would not call this a great book, but it is engaging enough to keep you entertained for a few evenings. If you've read the others, you'll want to read this one. I did, and I'll probably read the next.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Feels like a textbook, not a novel 27 juin 2013
Par J. Hulet - Publié sur
THE IMAGER PORTFOLIO has covered two eras and two separate characters and tied them together with a theme of great power and great responsibility. L.E. Modesitt Jr. has taken the time to show the evolution of magic (imaging) in a low-tech world and has given us some pretty amazing world-building. The challenge for readers, however, is that it has been at times dreadfully boring, endlessly repetitive and so heavy-handed in its statements about the social conditions and the inherent prejudices that exist in that world that even the most stalwart fan gets... tired.

Imager's Battalion covers the war between Telaryn, the more moderate, socially progressive nation, and Bovaria, the more conservative, aggressive and socially repressive nation. Quaeryt, recently recovered from the typical almost deadly over-exertion of a Modesitt hero, is called back to lead his formation of Imagers to be that decisive edge between stalemate and victory.

I have to give Modesitt credit for not candy-coating the road to war. For soldiers and even officers who are on the long march between battles, it's an unpleasant experience. Modesitt uses this time to make a number of different points. Through Quaeryt's choices to continually train his Imagers, to develop and instill respect amongst the ethnically diverse group, and when presented with opportunities to interact with the locals, he's always very, very good. It never even feels like Quaeryt is tempted to lash out in anger, or that his long separation from his wife is even a temptation to dally with some of the lovely local women who are the beneficiaries of Quaeryt's socially progressive attitudes. This perfection makes Quaeryt... boring.

The inevitable battles happen and, per the Modesitt recipe, Quaeryt and the imagers achieve success against impossible odds. It's not just the overwhelming numbers of enemy forces arrayed against them, but the consistent manipulations by self-serving officers and nobility who manipulate circumstances to force Quaeryt to lead his troops to miraculous success or die trying. Even his close relationship with Lord Bhayar, the ruler of Telaryn, seems to only increase the danger that he has to face instead of providing the normally expected top cover in the case of failure.

Imager's Battalion was not a fun read. There are interesting aspects to the story and it fills in great blanks between the different eras. Imagers in Rhennthyl's time (the first three books in the series, set later in the chronology) have the special, respected position that they do because of Quaeryt's efforts. After reading the first five books I am glad to have finished Imager's Battalion, but unlike most of the other books in the series, I have no desire to read this one again. It felt like a textbook, not a fantasy novel.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Awesome! 24 janvier 2013
Par NHN - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This book does not have as much intrigue as the previous books in the series. In fact, the focus of the book tends wholly upon battle and conquest. I began reading this series because of the heavy intrigue going on, and really, that was what got me hooked on Modesitt's work.

For those of you who have been waiting for more of the intrigue, well you probably might find yourself a bit disappointed. But this book is still worth reading, just to read the finale! The concluding battle is splendid. Intrigue is well and good but a little solid Imager power is always welcome. And in this case, a whole of a lot of power is welcome!
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