Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Book Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Read: November 30 - December 1    Verdict: 5 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

The Novice is a fantastic new fantasy debut that contains lovable demons, amazing magic and war that consists of elves, humans and dwarves facing off against terrifying orcs. The unlikely hero is Fletcher who, after being gifted a strange book. discovers he has the ability to summon demons and perform magic, meaning he is a vital member of the war effort against the orcs.

This book contains a school of magic which means it's already on the road of being loved by me. Fletcher was a pretty usual character in such a novel. He had no idea who his real family were, lived a modest life but was tough and friendly, meaning he could easily make friends but also make all the wrong kind of enemies. I really loved that the demons in this book weren't the type of demons you automatically think of. They were more like lovable monsters, bonding with the people who summoned them and becoming like pets that you don't want to cross. Ignatius reminded me of a mini Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon and I really loved him and his bond with Fletcher.

I loved all of the characters though there were the typical tropes regarding the relationships between the nobles and the commoners. The way the nobles treated both the commoners and the elves and dwarves reminded me of how the slum people were treated by magicians and nobility in Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy.

The story was paced really well and I got a great feeling for both Fletcher's life in Pelt and then his new life in the Voltans. The last few months towards the tournament were pretty rushed, squashed in one paragraph but other than that I was happy with the pacing of the story and how the lessons went. I really felt the unfairness in the way the noble novices were treated compared to the commoners and i did wonder how it could be so obvious yet it could be brushed away. I also felt that squeezing four years of studying into one year was pretty far-fetched, though with the circumstances in the war, I guess it could be forgiven. Most of the novices aren't completely trained, and they were pushed aside a lot so the nobles could get an advantage, so how can they be expected to survive on a battlefield?

At the end of the day, I loved pretty much everything about this book from the characters, to the magic, to the world (also, there was great world-building though I would have loved more, which I think we'll get in the next book). I can't wait for the second book!

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