The Novice (The Summoner #1)

22718814Author: Taran Matharu
Category: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 355
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Fifteen year old Fletcher was abandoned as a baby and taken in by a blacksmith in the small village of Pelt. After discovering that he has the ability to summon demons the same night that his rivalry with a local noble’s son comes to a head, Fletcher leaves home and ends up at the Adept Military Academy to learn to use his Summoner’s abilities and join in the war effort against the Orcs.

Greg’s Throughts

I did not know much about this book going in but surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. The creatures that they control are all interesting to say the least. Each one is special and fun to see the new ones. The whole thing reminds me of one of my favorite kids game, Pokemon. Though it is more of a dark ages style like most fantasy settings, it is cool to see it brought to life like this. The story can be fun as well though I wish it wasn’t a novel starting with an academy. It would have been better as an adventure tale, but it wasn’t terrible.

The characters were a low point. Besides the oppression of the dwarves, there was really nothing special about the characters. The rascism against dwarves was well done and gave more depth and problems to this world.

Good story and cool creatures make this book a good time. I am looking forward to the rest of the stories.

Rating:

7-liked it

Dani’s 2¢

The fact that this is a YA book but is missing many of the usual tropes in YA literature is a huge plus in my book. Unfortunately, I was still not that crazy about it.

It is kind of easy to see why a lot of reviewers are comparing this book to Harry Potter but not in an entirely good way. Several of the themes presented in this book are themes that Harry Potter gets a lot of credit for.

Kid with no parents ends up in a magic school.

Rich kid elitism – A lot of the tension in this book comes from rich kids being douches and I found this really cliché and kind of tiring. In my head, I just started referring to the twins at the Academy that liked to give Fletcher a hard time as “the Malfoy siblings.”

Discussion on racism and discrimination: While discussing these things is always a good talk to have in literature, it was more than a little blatant in this story and was another case of feeling like I was being beaten over the head.

I also was not a fan of the magic system. With all the talk of “levels” of this and that and “mana,” all that I could see was Yu-Gi-Oh or some other trading card game. Maybe a hint of World of Warcraft’s warlock class. Ignatius was adorable as hell, but that was probably my favorite part. Probably because all that I could think of when he was around was Pascal from Tangled.

Wrong color I suppose, but Pascal was a chameleon.

I was really into this book in the beginning. I liked the nobleman’s son’s bratty-ness and totally douch-baggery because I appreciated the author’s ability to write a truly despicable character. I was not able to appreciate this in similar characters later in the book when it seemed that the author thought that anyone of wealth had to be an asshole.

There was a lot going on in the village of Pelt and I was not crazy that we were torn away from it. It made total sense why Fletcher had to leave in such a hurry but I was hoping that we would go back to that. The rest of the book just did not stand up to that first section in my eyes.

The ending also seemed anti-climatic to me. The tournament that is talked about earlier in the book is the ending point of the story and supposed to be the climax but I really felt like the actual climax was a little earlier in the book with the discovery of a possible rebellion. Politics/ingtrigue > school tournament. Any day.

With the way that this book ended, I will certainly be reading the next one because it promised to take Fletcher back to Pelt. I think getting away from the Academy and the story structured around school life will do a lot for this story.

Rating:

5-okay

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