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I've just finished the first book of the Riftwar Saga: Magician. I found the book ok, only. My biggest issue was that the book did not make me feel connected with the characters; Pug and Tomas seemed to easily overcome all obstacles. I did not empathize with them at all. This was a disappointment as the main story arc is very good and had great potential.

Having looked at the summary of the next two books, it looks like book two (Silverthorn) is of no interest to me while book three (A Darkness at Sethanon) might be decent.

Can I skip straight to book three?

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No, you should not do that. The original three books are like many trilogies, in that the first book can stand alone, but the second and third books work together to tell a larger story.

If you read A Darkness at Sethanon without having read Silverthorn, there will be several key characters that you don't know, and very important plot points that aren't explained as well as they should be.

If you want to continue exploring the Riftwar books (for what it's worth, Magician is in my opinion the best of all the Riftwar books) then I suggest you move to Prince of the Blood (Pug and Tomas are not particularly involved; it's fairly standalone) or even to Shadow of a Dark Queen (set a while later, a new set of characters for the most part, a decent introduction to the larger story that comes later).

Alternatively, if you are interested in the setting but not necessarily in Raymond E. Feist's books, then the books set in Kelewan (the Empire trilogy) are very good and separate from the others.

Any of these should help you decide whether you want to read more of the Saga or not. If you find the same problems as you did with Magician, then you are unlikely to enjoy any of this particular saga.

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  • By the way, I know Feist cowrote the Empire books, and the various things he's said about that makes it sound as if it really was cowriting rather than just a credit. But they read to me like Wurts stories, not Feist ones.
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 11:55
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Can I skip straight to book three?

Better not.

Without going into too many spoilers, the main antagonist character for most of book three also played a major role in book two, and the lead characters in book two take a long time to really find out about him, who he is and what he wants. His plot arc straddles both books, and his story would probably feel incomplete (maybe even incomprehensible) if you skipped book two.

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