Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ARC Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

The Novice
Author: Taran Matharu
Series: The Summoner Trilogy
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (May 5, 2015)

Description: When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this fast paced beginning to a new fantasy series. Fletcher is an orphan who was abandoned at birth outside the town of Pelt. He was taken in by the blacksmith. As an orphan, Fletcher has become the target for the local bully who happens to be the son a rich man. When he is given a book that contains a scroll, the bully wants it. Fletcher discovers that the scroll lets him call a demon. When he is ganged up on by the bully and his stooges, Fletcher has to run away from the town.

Fletcher and his demon make their way to a larger town where he tries to find work. However, that town has its share of bullies too. When he is cornered by some, he is rescued by Arcturus who sees his demon and decides to sponsor him to the Adept Military Academy. Students are trained there to summon demons and to use their demons in the on-going war with the Orcs.

There is all kinds of prejudice at the academy. Not only do the nobles look down on the commoners but most of the humans look down on the dwarves and the elves. Fletcher befriends Othello who is the first dwarf summoner admitted to the academy and he also befriends Sylva who is the first elf to enroll and who is an ambassador for her people.

The kids have to learn quickly because an upcoming tournament will seal there places in the war effort. Outside of school, Fletcher gets caught up in a plot by nobles who want to start a war with the elves and corner the market on firearms.

There was lots of adventure in this story. I really liked Fletcher and his relationship with his demon Ignatius. I look forward to reading the rest of this trilogy.

Favorite Quote:
Before the other man could interfere, Fletcher ran in. As the cudgel swung at him, he blasted a flash of wyrdlight from his hand, blinding the man with a beam of blue light. He kicked the man in the fork of his legs, then kneed him in the nose as he doubled over. Rotherham had been right; gentlemen's fighting was for gentlemen.
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