• The Magic of Recluce

  • Saga of Recluce, Book 1
  • By: L. E. Modesitt Jr.
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (2,161 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circumstances means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or braving the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce, with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. Lerris chooses the dangergeld.

When Lerris is sent into intensive training for his quest, it soon becomes clear that he has a natural talent for magic. And he will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked. Though it goes against all of his instincts, Lerris must learn to use his powers in an orderly way before his wanderjahr, or fall prey to Chaos.

©1992 L. E. Modesitt (P)2013 Tantor

What listeners say about The Magic of Recluce

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

Epic Fantasy

I read the first L. E. Modesitt's Recluse series when it first came out in the early 1990's since then15 additional titles have been added to the series.

If you enjoy Epic Fantasy over many long novels, then this series is for you (this novel alone is over 19 hours long).

The book is Narrated by Kirby Heyborne who does an excellent job of trying to read an difficult novel. Anyone who has listened to Lynsay Sands Argeneau vampire series will be recognise his name.

The audio issue is that the book has many written "sound effects" which when read one can partially ignore, but the narrator cannot do this in an unabbridged version. Although Kirby does a reasonable job with the "sound effects" they tend to destroy the flow a bit in the Audio version. The ideal audio version should have actual sound effects, but that would have mad it too costly to produce.

L. E. Modesitt's world and character building is excellent. The main character wears on you a bit as he seems fixed in his "eveything is boring" mode and his need to be spoon fed information at least at first . . . but slowly he learns and grows.

Even with the comments above i would highly recommend this book and the Recluse series.

I gave Kirby Heyborne's perforce 5 because i did not feel it was fair to lower his score because of the authors tendency to throw in sound effects every where eg clop, clop clop for horses. If i remember correctly sound effects were in italics in the printed version.

In the book the White (Chaos) wizards are the "bad guys" and the Island of Recluce is the home of the Black (Order) wizards. Anyone on Recluce that does not embrace Order is exiled or give a chance to learn to embrace Order by receiving a little training and then going on a dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden quest in the lands beyond Recluce . . . but all is not that cut and dry . . .

The Magic of Recluce follows the adventures of Lerris and several of the dangergeld group he trained with, trying to complete the dangergeld or at least come to terms with their exile

58 people found this helpful

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

A First Exceptional Work In This Fantasy Series!

If you follow my reviews, you already KNOW I focus my reviews primarily on scifi and fantasy works. I began building my library of favorite books when I was twelve, for God's sake. And my audiobook library? Let's just say that I have a one terabyte server dedicated to my current and future audiobooks, and it's about 35% full. Do the math. That's either awesome or very, very weird, depending on your viewpoint. Boil all this down, and it says one thing:

Once you find a great scifi or fantasy read, especially a series, you have to have it, and you want to keep it.

You become possessive. Obsessive. You find yourself talking about it, both live and online. Don't lie. You've done it, and confession's good for the soul. Especially when it comes to this first audiobook, and the subsequent books, in the Recluce series by Modesitt,

I began reading this series when it first appeared, and thought back then, "This is awesome, and it's going to make a great audiobook." When this finally DID arrive, I was wonderfully pulled back into Modesitt's rich, detailed magical world.

So, let's get to the real reason you should get into this audio series, outside of my saying, "It's good!"

You liked the rich magical system of Jordan's "Wheel Of Time" series? Good. Take that, and refine it just a bit, and add Terry Brook's descriptive fantasy writing. Hmmm. Better. Now let's throw in Saberhagen's strong world-building. Nice. Let's not forget a dash of Butcher's solid character interaction. Perfect.

The Recluce series begins this way, and although it starts out the gate just a bit slow, it truly sets into place a great premise and storyline that makes for a great listen, and definitely more than once. Modesitt's unique take on the fantasy genre is a welcome change to a fair number of fantasy writers who take tired plots and lame magic systems and crank out tome after boring tome of forgettable efforts. Or lack of effort. Modesitt has created a series that you'll listen to, talk about, write about, and as I said earlier, you'll listen to again. I already have. That's why it took so long to do this review.

The book's just that darn good.

Modesitt has created, in this first of the series, a WONDERFUL listen that pulls you in, sets you on its path, and creates a unique fantasy world you'll not want to end.

Thankfully, it doesn't have to - The second in the series is already available here at Audible, and I already have it. And yes, it's equally as good!

And on a final note, Modesitt's "Imager" series is already here at Audible, eight audiobooks strong, and yes, I'll be writing a review on them, as well. The man can write.

So, this is a keeper. It's on a shelf in my library, and now, it's a great listen on my audio server. It's going to STAY there.

Enjoy.

35 people found this helpful

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

Sound effects drove me nuts!

What did you like best about The Magic of Recluce? What did you like least?

Thwack! Clank! Aiyeeee! Thud! The fight was over in moments. I'd rather get a description of the fight than sound effects. The bell tolled ominously is better than BONG...BONG...BONG! I gave it three stars across the board because I didn't like Modesitt's sound effects.

Would you recommend The Magic of Recluce to your friends? Why or why not?

I didn't get far enough to make a recommendation.

What three words best describe Kirby Heyborne’s voice?

Young-adult, monotone, adolescent

23 people found this helpful

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

Crafting a world.

What made the experience of listening to The Magic of Recluce the most enjoyable?

The fact I could finally listen to it with my wife. Honestly, this was the series I was most bummed not to see when I signed up for Audible.

What did you like best about this story?

This is more about the series as a whole. Recluce is very much a world where the extraordinary deeds of heroes are broken down and shown to be ordinary. Almost every book is a different time in the planets history and you meet the characters others books talked about being powerhouses and learn the real stories of how things were. Because these people are in their own ways ordinary sometimes it doesn't seem as flashy as other popular books in the main stream right now, but something is just special to me.

If you ever wish the crafters could be the heroes instead of the warriors this might be for you.

What about Kirby Heyborne’s performance did you like?

I like the way Kirby voices how Lerris is bored with the world. It made for a great drinking game.

Any additional comments?

It might not make you want to run to your friends screaming omg!!!, this is crazy action filled goodness, lets sell it to HBO!!!

But it is a world I think you will be satisfied in knowing the history and people of.

19 people found this helpful

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

Slow....not quite epic

I found this book really slow and almost void of adventure. It was a good listen, but largely because I was always thinking, 'OK, now it is going to get interesting'. Being the first in a series, it is often tough for an author to lay down all of the ground work for the world, the history and the characters and then throw in a few things to make it interesting. I found this novel to be a good foundation to build on, but just didn't capture me enough to go onto the second book in the series. But, I do like a good Orc bashing, and there are no Orcs.

18 people found this helpful

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

Fine Story; Ok Narration

My Mom is a huge Modesitt fan and owns and has read almost all of his works. Therefore it helped a lot when she told this isn't the first series in Recluce world. It did explain why the opening 4 hours nobody is really explaining anything. If unlike Lerris you hold on and think for yourself some it does start to clear up. If you have heard the Imager books then the first Imager set of 3 explain stuff which isn't re-explained in the Scholar but Scholar shows you different rules. Same problem here without the advantage of just buying the other books.

Background:
Neither Order or Chaos is inherent good or evil. In the 13 or 14th books some are set on each side. The black staff Lerris is issued is the mark of low level learner Order Mage.
Black = Order (later explain the absence of light)
White = Choas (mix of all light and therefore not orded)
Recluse wasn't always the prudish place depicted.

It's a story of a young man growing up. Apparently in the series written before this one was about the founding of the island of Recluce a few hundred years prev. and therefore the rather dull first couple of hours are a contract between society that the reader last saw and what it became. I'm ensured the effect was very good. Finally (~4hr) Lerris get off Recluce and things pick up as the meat of the story get going.

My problem with Kirby is rather simple: he can't do an onomatopoeia and not jar me out of the story. Modesitt work at exciting moments seems full of Howlling, Naaaing of the horses etc. I don't believe Kirb Heyborne is a bad reader just not one who should ever try to make howling wind sounds.

I REALLY hope that Tor release the rest of the Recluce books.

12 people found this helpful

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

Annoying sound effects by narrator

Would you try another book from L. E. Modesitt Jr. and/or Kirby Heyborne?

The story is good but the sound effects the narrator makes are very annoying. The sound effects should've been left on the editors floor when the book was written or left out in narration. Other than that the book is good and I will probably give the next book a try.

What aspect of Kirby Heyborne’s performance would you have changed?

NO SOUND EFFECTS!!!

11 people found this helpful

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

Finally, available on audiobook!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Magic of Recluce to be better than the print version?

I was a little disappointed with the audio version of this book because of the verbal sound effects made by the narrator. Things like a horse whinnying, explosions and such were a bit distracting. It's been a long time since I read the print book, but more than likely I paid little attention to those sentences when reading. The narrator's voice seemed too soft and quiet at first, but I got used to it, especially when realizing the character of Lerris is still in his teens.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Magic of Recluce?

The most memorable part of the book was when Lerris was fighting the White wizard.

What about Kirby Heyborne’s performance did you like?

Kirby Heyborne did a good job of distinguishing characters vocally. His voice is pleasant to listen to for a long story.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book didn't spark any extreme reactions, but it is one I've read often and really enjoyed because of the characters and the well defined magic system.

Any additional comments?

I am so glad this series is finally available on audiobook. I've read through almost the whole series, and often wished I could listen to it, as I've listened to The Wheel of Time series, The Song of Ice and Fire, and many other sci-fi series. Thanks to audible for making this happen!

11 people found this helpful

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

Great Story and Storing Telling, Bad Sound Effects

If you liked Imager, you'll like this and whilst I am waiting on the 8th Imager book, I will continue with this series. Just as good and just as compelling, in a quiet sophisticated style rather than grandiose and pretentious. Great character and development, excellent story, good basis for Magic Chaos and Order.

As alluded in the headline, the narrators 'sound effects' really work against the story telling. If they want 'Sound Effects' do REAL Sound Effects. At times, especially in one of the final scenes the amount of irritating 'sound effect' really almost spoilt the final chapters.

Yet...... I am purchasing books 2 and 3 right after this review is posted!!

9 people found this helpful

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

Sound effects?

What would have made The Magic of Recluce better?

The other would describe an action and then use an onomatopeia to represent the sound. It was childish and incredibly annoying.

What did you like best about this story?

The story line was pretty good.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was just relieved to be done with it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dumarest
  • 12-01-17

Could not listen :(

unfortunately for me, the narrator was terrible, very poor with different characters and hopeless with female voices.

what I heard I felt the story is good so I have bought the book to read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Derek
  • 12-18-18

unputadownable

very entertaining from start to finish, I loved all the character's and fell in love with the ladies.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ValidGoblin
  • 07-12-18

in liked the book

I really liked the book, but after doing a little research of all the series only 2 are abouts Lerris or include him.

I don't like bouncing around protagonists in a series much, so I don't think I'll listen to any of the others. but that's just me.

the world is interesting and though I was a little list at some points I enjoyed it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kiz
  • 05-06-17

Excellent narrator

I have loved this story for years - it's a novel take on the standard quest/coming of age high fantasy trope,with a very different magical structure - and thought that Kirby Heyborne did an excellent job of narrating it.

Unfortunately, listening to, rather than reading the story I realised that I have outgrown it slightly. Lerris is arrogant, immature, and his attitude towards women is a horrible mix of boob-obsessed adolescent male and smugly patriarchal elder. His internal monologue veers between self-pity and taking the weight of the world upon himself. The supporting characters are well done, though, with Justen and Krista being favourites of mine.

L.E Modesitt Jr has a horrible habit of referring to people as 'the redhead', 'the grey wizard', etc., which grated. There's also places where a good editor may have made the prose less clunkily ponderous and repetitive. He also uses sound effects...these were okay if weird to read, but poor Kirby Heyborne got stuck impersonating horses, birds, creaky floorboards, swords clashing and more.

All that aside, its still an entertaining story with flashes of excellence, you just need to make allowances for an immature, self-obsessed hero, a LOT of woodwork, and some truly odd authorial quirks.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Verity
  • 03-29-17

Immerse yourself in this world

Lovely writing, good story but not very action based. Strong Canadian accent will make hard to hear at first.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Caz in Maspalomas
  • 11-30-16

Interesting

The most annoying animal andbird noises you can imagine, stupid and childish actually and stops the reader from enjoying the story.

The story trundles along as fast as an old woman with a walking stick that is too short for her and the performer reads to you as if he is quite bired by the entire experience, however and there is a however which is why I gave it 4 stars there is an interesting story running through the book and if you can manage to remain awake long enough without passing out and finding yourself in another kingdom and short adventure where nothing is the same then you will enjoy it.

It took a while for me to get into the character but by the end I began to oike him and it is worth the trudge through if only they would get rid of those daxxed noises.

If you like this kind of escapism then buy it but it is not fast reading or filled with excitement though that last bit might be the performer. The performer does read beautifully but without the excitement to turn a page.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr J Redmond
  • 06-24-15

horrendous sound effects

Everytime I heard a vulcrow I winced. And the excessive use of the word boring was also nerve wracking. The story was much better in the second half of the book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kawie1
  • 09-25-14

The Magic of Fine Wood Craft

The Magic of Recluce or The Magic of woodwork. Yup, this book felt like 64 chapters of wood crafting and 2 chapters of stuff happening! And, in case you're wondering, those are the last 2 chapters. During which he stops to comment on the wood work, the joinery and the type of wood used in everything!!
Now I normally don't write negative reviews but this book looked so promising that I bought it off Amazon and then payed for the Audible companion audio and settled in for a good listen. Audible, I want my 15hrs (or eternity, felt like eternity) back.
So, if you want to know what it takes to craft chairs and breadboards and boxes in a fantasy setting then please, read this book. If you'd prefer adventure, magic and a plot lacking in wood references then don't! I mean it, truly awful!

Fans of the series, sorry! It just didn't do it for me

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jon
  • 09-19-14

Good read but horrible sound affects!

Would you listen to The Magic of Recluce again? Why?

No, because once listened to I cannot listen again as I know what's coming. Will be getting the rest of the series though

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Magic of Recluce?

The first sound effect!

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Well read - All the sound effects

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

??

Any additional comments?

The plot is standard fair but well written with the main character and plot good enough to keep me listening at every available opportunity. The only annoying part of the book is the sound effects, bad enough to read but cringe worthy to listen to the poor narrator trying to reproduce them. Would have been better off without them & letting the reader use their imagination.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Roger
  • 05-04-14

Enthralling Story

When I first listened to the first chapter, I wasn't sure if I liked the narrator. However, I soon got fully into the storyline and found the narrative very suited to the character in the book.

I enjoy fantasy stories and this had me looking forward to listening as often as possible to find out what happened next. If you like fantasy then I can recommend this, and I went on to the next book, so that should tell you everything.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gabrielle
  • 05-02-22

Terrible sound effects

The horse whinnying is the worst. Constant, high pitched, cartoonish. Detracts from tension building. I think the narrator got a bit carried away with all the sound effects, overly emphasising them instead of keeping them background asides. The more serious the storyline, the more annoying the narrators interpretation.

.