Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Series: Summoner #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Enter an immersive fantasy world where one boy's ability to summon demons will change the fate of an empire ... Book 1 in the epic SUMMONER trilogy from Wattpad sensation Taran Matharu.
Fletcher was nothing more than a humble blacksmith's apprentice, when a chance encounter leads to the discovery that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, he must travel with his demon to the Vocans Academy, where the gifted are trained in the art of summoning.
The academy will put Fletcher through a gauntlet of gruelling lessons, training him as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire's war against the savage orcs. Rubbing shoulders with the children of the most powerful nobles in the land, Fletcher must tread carefully. The power hungry Forsyth twins lurk in the shadows, plotting to further their family's interests. Then there is Sylva, an elf who will do anything she can to forge an alliance between her people and Hominum, even if it means betraying her friends. Othello is the first ever dwarf at the academy, and his people have long been oppressed by Hominum's rulers, which provokes tension amongst those he studies alongside
Fletcher will find himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with nothing but his demon Ignatius to help him. As the pieces on the board manoeuvre for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands ...
When I first saw THE NOVICE on various people’s blogs I knew I had to read it, based just on the cover alone. Then I read the summary and wanted it even more. THE NOVICE ended up being exactly what I expected: a fun, short fantasy featuring elves, dwarves, magic, orcs, and DEMON COMPANIONS.
The writing of THE NOVICE is reminiscent of middle grade novels. Not terribly complicated sentences or descriptions that are very easy to understand. It’s simple but it flows really well and is so, so easy to read. It reminded me of THE FALSE PRINCE (but less twisty) or THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL (but the characters weren’t quite as well developed). Despite the writing style the characters are fifteen (I often thought they were younger) and there’s quite a bit of violence described in decent detail so I’m confused about the target audience for it (maybe young YA??).
A lot of the novel is spent following Fletcher as he studies at the Vocans Academy to become a battlemage. There’s a fight here and there but overall THE NOVICE isn’t terribly fast paced. I didn’t mind this though. I was more than happy enough to learn about the demons and the world. There are themes of oppression and the fight for equality (the dwarves and elves are thought of as sub human) which weren’t explored as fully or as well as in some other books I’ve read. Things picked up in the last part, when the tournament was held, but that’s about it. I am hoping for some more action and suspense in the sequel.
Another thing that could have been developed further was the characters. They’re interesting enough, but still felt like cardboard cut outs that didn’t really go through much development. I had issues with the nobles in particular. Every single one is written to be snobby and a horrible person, and the couple that seemed somewhat decent were only mentioned once or twice which was a big shame. It would have been nice to see some of them be different and prove to the commoners that they weren’t all terrible people.
Overall, THE NOVICE was a really nice, fun fantasy. The writing style was simple and easy to read. Everything flowed fairly well and the story progressed quickly. I loved reading about the demons and the world, but wasn’t such a fan of the bland characters. Even so I definitely plan on picking up the sequel when it comes out because I have a feeling a lot of the things I wanted in THE NOVICE might start developing then. I’d recommend THE NOVICE to people looking for a nice, short, simple fantasy to pass the time.