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Old 06-14-2013, 02:36 PM
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Looking for modern fantasy books/stories including magical apprenticeship


Title says it all. I'm looking for works set in modern times that go into decent detail about the process of apprenticing as a mage (western/hermetic variety) and the relationship between mage and apprentice. Preferably not romantic. Anyone know any?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:44 PM
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How about:

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Night-Circu.../dp/0385671717

Edit: or better:

http://www.amazon.ca/Jonathan-Strang...and+mr+norrell

Last edited by Malthus; 06-14-2013 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:02 PM
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Interesting thought...I actually own that book, and have tried to read it before and never gotten very far. But isn't it set in the 1800s? I'm looking for something a bit more modern than that, like mages in our modern world.

I should probably give Jonathan Strange another go, though. Lots of people seem to be quite taken with it.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:27 PM
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Okay, what about this one:

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Magicians-L...=jthe+magician

Set in modern times. Has people learing magic.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:04 PM
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Okay, what about this one:

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Magicians-L...=jthe+magician

Set in modern times. Has people learing magic.
Oh, yeah! I'd forgotten about that one. Thanks! That one should be helpful.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
Interesting thought...I actually own that book, and have tried to read it before and never gotten very far. But isn't it set in the 1800s? I'm looking for something a bit more modern than that, like mages in our modern world.

I should probably give Jonathan Strange another go, though. Lots of people seem to be quite taken with it.
It's a good book, but if the 1800s is too early for you, Jonathan Strange isn't going to be what you're looking for.

Another great book involving magical apprenticeship, though it may not be modern enough for you, is Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:37 PM
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The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly. It's set within the past 20 years or so, but a couple of the characters cross over from our world into a parallel world, where magic works and various prehistoric critters are not extinct. There's some romance in the books, but not between mage and apprentice. One of the sequels, Mother of Winter, shows the second generation of apprenticeship, where the former apprentice takes on an apprentice of his own, and gets payback.

Also, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series has the main character take on an apprentice. The series is set in this world, in modern times. I slogged through the first book, and I think that Butcher's writing has become better.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:06 PM
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The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly. It's set within the past 20 years or so, but a couple of the characters cross over from our world into a parallel world, where magic works and various prehistoric critters are not extinct. There's some romance in the books, but not between mage and apprentice. One of the sequels, Mother of Winter, shows the second generation of apprenticeship, where the former apprentice takes on an apprentice of his own, and gets payback.

Also, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series has the main character take on an apprentice. The series is set in this world, in modern times. I slogged through the first book, and I think that Butcher's writing has become better.
Oh, cool. I didn't know Dresden took an apprentice. I too tried slogging through the first book and didn't get far (I suppose I should try again). Do you happen to remember the title of the book where he took the apprentice?

I'll check out the other ones and see if they're what I'm looking for too. Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:03 PM
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Oh, cool. I didn't know Dresden took an apprentice. I too tried slogging through the first book and didn't get far (I suppose I should try again). Do you happen to remember the title of the book where he took the apprentice?
Proven Guilty, book 8. But he doesn't really do any Yoda-ing until the next one, White Night.

The first two books of the series can be a bit of a slog, but Butcher really does hit a good stride through the rest. If you really like the non-romancy/porn urban fantasy, I'd highly recommend giving it a second chance.

As for the OP, there's this: http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Malice-M.../dp/156865684X It's set in Regency england, so it doesn't fit the OP exactly, but you might have a gander all the same.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:58 PM
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A certain J.K. Rowling did a whole 7 book series on this.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:07 PM
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A certain J.K. Rowling did a whole 7 book series on this.
Heehee! Yep, I've definitely read (or listened to, or watched movies of) the HP series more than I can count! But I'm specifically looking for a modern-day one on one mage/apprentice relationship rather than a magic school.

Thanks, though!
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:14 PM
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Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus books might qualify.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
Title says it all. I'm looking for works set in modern times that go into decent detail about the process of apprenticing as a mage (western/hermetic variety) and the relationship between mage and apprentice. Preferably not romantic. Anyone know any?

Thanks in advance!
I'll read it if you write it.

But if there's no romance you'll never get a movie deal.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:29 AM
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There Mort which is the fourth book in the Discworld series. Mort becomes one of Death's apprentices. There is some romance but none of it between Mort and Death.
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Old 06-15-2013, 02:05 AM
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Oh, and there's more from the Discworld series. The Tiffany Aching books are The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight.
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:51 AM
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I'll read it if you write it.

But if there's no romance you'll never get a movie deal.
I kinda already did. (At least I kind of explore the relationship in those two books, but I'm writing another one where I'd like to go into a bit more detail about what the teacher actually teaches the apprentice, since that wasn't the focus of the other two but it will be more the focus of this one).

No romance, though, sorry. The mage is a straight male and the two apprentices are a gay female and another straight male. I've never been much of a romance writer.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
Title says it all. I'm looking for works set in modern times that go into decent detail about the process of apprenticing as a mage (western/hermetic variety) and the relationship between mage and apprentice. Preferably not romantic. Anyone know any?

Thanks in advance!
Robert Lynn Asprin's Myth Adventures series is entirely about that trope, but not set on our Earth, let alone "in modern times".

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 06-15-2013 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:19 AM
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There's the manga and anime series Someday's Dreamers, set in present-day Tokyo.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:58 AM
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Ben Aaronovitch's "Peter Grant" series pretty much fills your bill.

The books are set in modern London: Peter Grant is a young Police Constable who is taken on as an apprentience by the last wizard in England. The books focus quite a bit on the process of learning magic and there's definitely not much romance (and none at all between Peter and his Master!).

The style reminded me a bit of the Dresden files, with a rather laconic first-person narrator full of dry one-liners and pop cultures references but I personally enjoyed these books more than the Harry Dresden books. YMMV of course... .
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:52 AM
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Ben Aaronovitch's "Peter Grant" series pretty much fills your bill.

The books are set in modern London: Peter Grant is a young Police Constable who is taken on as an apprentience by the last wizard in England. The books focus quite a bit on the process of learning magic and there's definitely not much romance (and none at all between Peter and his Master!).

The style reminded me a bit of the Dresden files, with a rather laconic first-person narrator full of dry one-liners and pop cultures references but I personally enjoyed these books more than the Harry Dresden books. YMMV of course... .
Ooh, those sound good, and right about what I'm looking for. Thanks! I'll check them out.
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:33 AM
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Oh, cool. I didn't know Dresden took an apprentice. I too tried slogging through the first book and didn't get far (I suppose I should try again). Do you happen to remember the title of the book where he took the apprentice?

I'll check out the other ones and see if they're what I'm looking for too. Thanks!
Proven Guilty. As noted, the man's writing skills have improved markedly over the course of the series. I found the first two books enjoyable because he follows both his genres, fantasy and film noir-style detective novels, so faithfully. I enjoyed the later books because his writing skills improved so drastically. But some of the books in between were almost unreadable because he begins to abandon the hard-boiled private eye thing in favor of his created world, but his writing skills haven't improved enough yet to make that work. In particular, I think that Grave Peril, Blood Rites, and Death Masks are pretty bad, and if my local library hadn't been out of them when I was picking up the series, I might not have kept reading. Death Masks in particular has a really terrible sex scene, something that Butcher has wisely refrained from repeating in later books.

Last edited by appleciders; 06-15-2013 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 06-15-2013, 02:38 PM
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With a Single Spell by Lawrence Watt Evans is an apprentice story, although an apprenticeship cut short.
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:20 PM
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Ah, missed the "set in modern times bit", since Ethshar isn't exactly Earth circa now.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:41 AM
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The Iron Druid series (author Kevin Hearne) has a master-apprentice relationship, but I've only read the first book, so I don't know if it gets sexual/relationshippy in the later ones.

The first book (Hounded) does have some nice detailed accounts of the apprenticeship training aspects, and the difficulty of learning to work magic, and as I said - no relationship yet.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:45 AM
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Well, came in to recommend the Dresden and Iron Druid series, but others already recommended them so I'll just second or third them. Both are excellent IMHO. I love the unabridged audio of the Iron Druid, as the dog is just hilarious.
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:57 PM
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The Iron Druid series (author Kevin Hearne) has a master-apprentice relationship, but I've only read the first book, so I don't know if it gets sexual/relationshippy in the later ones.

The first book (Hounded) does have some nice detailed accounts of the apprenticeship training aspects, and the difficulty of learning to work magic, and as I said - no relationship yet.
Can't believe I forgot that one And nope, not even a threat of any kissy-kissy for the protagonist and his apprentice throughout the rest of the series.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:05 PM
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Much of the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones (beginning with Charmed Life) is centered on magical apprenticeship. There's also a parallel worlds theme.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:21 PM
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Can't believe I forgot that one And nope, not even a threat of any kissy-kissy for the protagonist and his apprentice throughout the rest of the series.
While I wouldn't consider the Iron Druid Chronicles as romance by any means, I think "not even the threat of kissy-kissy" is going a bit far.

Last edited by JocoseBanter; 06-19-2013 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:03 AM
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Robert Rankin's "Brightonomicon".
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:16 PM
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Cool, thanks! I'm a little overloaded now (I picked up several of the Butcher books, "The Magicians," and two of the "Peter Grant" series) so once I work my way through those I'll check back and see about some of the others.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:34 PM
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Another book that might be good is The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (part of a series of the same name). It was written in the 70's but set in then-current times, and draws on a lot of celtic myth.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:38 PM
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Robert Lynn Asprin's Myth Adventures series is entirely about that trope, but not set on our Earth, let alone "in modern times".
I immediately thought of this series. It's definitely all about the magic apprenticeship. And arguably it's in modern times - clearly Aahz is familiar with modern Earth - it's just that it's set in other dimensions.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:57 AM
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The Bedlam's Bard series by Mercedes Lackey (and various co-writers) has some of this. The first book is about the protagonist discovering that magic exists and he's a Bard, then in later books he becomes an apprentice to a Master Bard, gains experience and eventually takes on an apprentice of his own. There's also a subplot with a Healer and her apprentice. There is some romance, but none between master and apprentice.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:32 AM
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The Bedlam's Bard series by Mercedes Lackey (and various co-writers) has some of this.
I say this in the nicest possible way, but those books are SOOOOOOO dated! I loved them when they first came out, and I re-read them recently, and still enjoyed them, but oh man... so very very dated.

But yes, enjoyable, good characters, good variety of relationships, and a decent bit of the "teaching/learning" process. Not all of the involved master/apprentice characters are HUMAN, if that makes a difference to the OP. (Some are elves)
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