Book Review: The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

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Read between: 23rd May- 2nd June 2015
Number of pages: n/a
Genre: Fantasy
Format: ebook
Rating: 3-5-stars
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ynopsis: 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 …

Review: Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Hatchette Children’s for letting me read and review this book for free 🙂

I asked to review this book on Netgalley because I was interested in the themes, had heard many good things about it, and love fantasy. It’s main protagonist is male, and there is no romance which I think works especially well in a fantasy novel.

Fletcher is an orphan, working as a blacksmith in the town of Pelt, when, after obtaining a summoner’s book, discovers he is one of the many who are adept at summoning demons, when he summons his own- a Salamander demon who he names Ignatius. This discovery changes the rest of Fletcher’s life.

Without giving too much away, as I hate spoilers- it is different to much of the stuff I usually read, because not only is it written by a male author (yay!) but the premise is really interesting with a mix of sci-fi and fantasy.

However, there is clearly some inspiration from the king of high fantasy, Mr J.R.R Tolkein, and my lower rating reflects the fact that I thought that a few of the sections and characters etc, could have come straight from him, such as the albino orc, and elves that ride on top of elks (Thandruil for example), so although the focus this time was much more on the humans, there could have been a little bit more development in imagination. The focus on the human population did give this book a more realistic edge though.

I would love to find out more about the world, so would like to read the sequel when it is released, but I did love the way that the demons were named after the type of animals they represented, e.g. Canid’s are dog demons. This was a clever element to the book.

I would definitely recommend it to people who like fantasy but are looking for something a little different.

3.5/5 stars.
I really enjoyed it.

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One thought on “Book Review: The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

  1. I agree with your thoughts on this book! I read this back in April I think, and I really enjoyed it. I definitely noticed some LOTR inspiration in the book but it was totally unique and I’m excited to see where the book goes. It kept me hooked and interested!

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