Date added: 20.4.2015
This is book 4 of the Saga of Recluce. The internal chronology of the series looks to be pretty whacked, since this is apparently ranked as book 9, with the first published book (Magic of Recluce) ranked as book 10, according to some. Anyway, confusion aside, the book works perfectly well as a standalone, although it took me a while to get up to speed on the back story and the history of the world.If you’ve read Modesitt, you’ll know how he loves long and detailed depictions of the mundane. Who else can spend pages and pages on simple acts such as the drinking of beer or the cutting of cheese? This was the only real gripe I had with this novel, although some people are sticklers for detail and will likely appreciate this kind of thing. The Orbit edition, which is the one I own, does not have a map, and considering the geographical displacement of the characters in this novel, this was a bit of a bummer.In all truth, though, this is a really good book. Its main strength is, arguably, the world-building. And this is where Modesitt’s penchant for detail really comes into its own. The system of magic, based on Order and Chaos, is really interesting and I’ll especially recommend this book to people who like to lose themselves in the details and discuss the technical aspects of world building and magic systems.As a coming of age fantasy novel leaning heavily towards magic use, this was not an entirely new idea when it was published in the 1990s. However, it’s pulled off with a reasonable amount of panache. I understand that the other novels in the Saga of Recluce follow much the same pattern. I am tempted to seek them out, especially The Magic of Recluce.So, four stars, because I really enjoyed it, but with a single reservation: it gets a bit long in the tooth at times. The Order War (The Saga of Recluce, #4) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.