Title: The Novice (Summoner 1)
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: PanMacMillan / Hoddler Children's Books (2015)
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.
I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this title from PanMacMillan (THANK YOU!!!) and could not wait to get tucked in. I mean, just look at that cover. LOOK AT IIIIT!
This is the kind of book that reminds you of other books, but in a nice, warm familiar way. I was reminded of so many of my favorite books, games and films while reading this, but it somehow did not manage to be offensive like Eragon was. Remember Eragon? The most pointless, long-winded YA fantasy series ever?
Somehow, this book felt familiar and completely new all at the same time. I LOVED that. There were completely unique elements to the story that I had not read anywhere else.
The pacing of the story is excellent and sometimes even felt a little too fast, but at no time did I feel like I had no idea what was going on. Every part of the world Matharu introduces is done so tactfully that it never feels like a giant info-dump.
If you are looking for some great action, awesome characters and dialogue, you cannot go wrong with The Novice. I have no doubt this this is going to be one of the top YA reads of 2015 and it would make an excellent movie.
The magic system is very interestingly handled and adds to the appeal of this series as it is quite fascinating to read about.
Oh, and did I mention I want my own demon? Igantius is freaking awesome and so cute.
So if you are wanting a fun yet intelligent read or something to get your teens into reading fantasy, this is the book to buy. I cannot wait for book 2, which I suspect will only be published in 2016.
Oh, and do say hi to Taran Matharu on Twitter at @taranmatharu1. :)