• The Magic Engineer

  • Saga of Recluce Series, Book 3
  • By: L. E. Modesitt Jr.
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (776 ratings)

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The Magic Engineer  By  cover art

The Magic Engineer

By: L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
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Publisher's Summary

The chronicles of the magical island of Recluce continue as young Dorrin, fascinated by forbidden science, goes into exile in the lands of Chaos, where he unwillingly invents devices of war to save his land from the evil Chaos wizards.

©1994 L. E. Modesitt (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is uncompromising when it comes to the effects of magic, both on the natural world and on the human heart." (Robin Hobb)

What listeners say about The Magic Engineer

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ok, but basically a copy of the other books

If you liked the first two books in the series then you will enjoy this book. That being said, the story is almost exactly the story of the first book. The hero is sent away from recluse and has to figure out where he fits in the scheme of things by traveling the rest of the world. The names and some events change a bit, but ultimately all three books in this series so far are pretty repetitive. The story is engaging and well-written but I have to take away stars for lack of originality.

Once again the series skips around in time. This book takes place some time after the second book but well before the events in the first. This can be a bit confusing, but it is handled much better than in the second novel. The narrarator also did far less sound effects which is a great relief and hence a bit higher score.

This is a good book, but nothing spectacular. It's still worth a credit but don't expect to be surprised or wowed.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I'm a Modesitt fan, but I couln't finish this one.

What disappointed you about The Magic Engineer?

This is my first book review, but I just had to say something! I have enjoyed other Modesitt books, including the Soprano Sorcerer books, the two Imager books, and the first two Recluse books, including Magic of Recluse and Towers of Sunset. Unfortunately, I have completely lost interest in Recluse after trying to listen to this one. The book is long on detail, but short on anything interesting. There were details, details and more details about Dorin's every day actions, which might have been slightly interesting at first, but became incredibly boring as the book went on, and on, and on. I listened to most of the book, waiting for something exciting to happen, and I finally gave up, it just was too tortuous to keep listening to Kirby Heyborne drone on and on, with no emotion or variety in his tone. I figure Kirby Heyborne must have been so bored with the story that he couldn't bring himself to put any emotion into it. Other Modesitt books I've read have had a plot, and often a romance, and I like that he keeps it clean. However, there wasn't even a decent romance, just two people who eventually get together.

Has The Magic Engineer turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'm an avid Epic Fantasy Fiction fan, so I will continue to look for more books in this genre. I highly recommend anything by Brandon Sanderson, especially The Way of Kings and the Mistborn series, as well as the work he finished with Robert Jordan, the Wheel of Time series. Jim Butcher's Codex Alera books were excellent, and I've also greatly enjoyed Robin Hobbs books. Although the world that Modesitt created intrigued and interested me for a while, it is time for me move on.

Would you be willing to try another one of Kirby Heyborne’s performances?

Kirby Heyborne was not so bad in the first two books of this series (Magic of Recluse and Towers of Sunset), but after this, I don't think I can listen to another one of his performances.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No, other than rich detail.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very strong entry

O.K., after reading many other reviews, I feel the need to defend this novel a bit. There are certainly similarities, between this novel and the previous two, but it's not fair to call them identical. I think that this series is the story of Recluse more than it is the story of any particular person. On that regard we get treated to some great developments in this novel. We finally see how the steam engines we saw in the first novel became a part of Recluse and learn where the book on order comes from. I am excited to read the next novel where I hope to read of the destruction of Fair Haven and learn more about Justin. This was a great entry in this excellent series.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Please, Please stop hiring Kirby Heyborne

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kirby Heyborne?

Please use professional voice actors. William Dufris does a great job with other Modesitt books.

Heyborne seems to have no way of differentiating characters other than with accents that make no sense. You get a father with an American accent and a daughter with an Irish accent, even though both have lived in the same town their whole lives.

Great story, horrible performance.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well woven world

This story is part of such a well woven world and the story itself is so finely crafted that one can do naught but savor it's beauty. Buy this, you'll love it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story lines and detail

storyline had very slow parts with repetitive detail and then some parts towards the end with too fast and not enough detail to connect. ..I would have like the series to flow together better instead of trying to connect the 2 stories ...or rather 3... the basic stories are great but I like stories that flow from one to the next instead of jumping generations. the author likes to do that with his series sometimes. . but he is good at developing characters and I would like to see more of those charters flow into other books. I could have done with out some of the house sounds effects. ...

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I disagree with a previous reviewer

Where does The Magic Engineer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

it's in the upper 10%. I enjoyed that the author made sure that I understood what it meant to be a blacksmith, I learned a lot and appreciate it! It helped his story have good follow through. A previous reviewer got bored with it, but I certainly did not.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The main character of course - the author brought him out very well.

What three words best describe Kirby Heyborne’s performance?

Excellent, but stop making attempts at sound affects. In my opinion they are an interference with the reading. A horse does not whinny anywhere near what he insinuates and I bet that this sound affect is not a part of the true reading. Read, please, don't make up stuff along the way.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I would not do so. I don't like film - I like books.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wrong Narrator

How could the performance have been better?

The Narrator wiffed it bad on this one. As I regret to say he's doing with the rest of the Recluse books. He doesn't seem to get the characters he's reading and just isn't very good in general.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen.

I really enjoyed the thoughtful nature of Mr. Modisett’s world building skills. The narrator did a phenomenal job as well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

World building wonder

I believe Modesetts character archs follow so close from book to book so you can revel in the depth of the world. This one is in between the fist and second books and explains why Recluse's is fate, technology and philosophy in the first book is so different from Westwind beyond the gender roles thing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-25-22

A great third in the saga

It’s recommend to read/listen to the recluse saga in the order of when it was published and not chronological order and I couldn’t agree more. I read the magic of recluse as a teenager then a few more times over the years before finally getting into audible now I’m slowly making my way through the series and it’s great!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julius
  • 06-25-16

great book

i have always been a fan of l e modesitt. another great book from him