Title: The Novice (Summoner #1)
Author: Taran Matharu
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 355 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: May 5, 2015
I definitely liked the premise of this novel, although I honestly forgot what drew me to read this in the first place. I’m definitely not regretting it, because I enjoyed it for the most part.
I’m not sure of the world that Tolkien created all those years ago served as inspiration for this novel, but I definitely felt it. This was another book that had different races of creatures, specifically elves, dwarves, men and orcs. In addition, there are elements of demons in this world, where some lucky men, orc shamans, elves and dwarves are able to summon demons from the “ether” which definitely has to be another world where demons reside, and can control them to do battle.
In this world, we have our main protagonist Fletcher, who is an orphan and blacksmiths apprentice. He comes across a battle worn soldier who has found a summoner’s book, and from there, the magic begins.
I think one of the things I liked most about this book was that Fletcher learned that the prejudices that he may have grown up with were wrong, and learned how to be friends with dwarves and an elf. He was one of the few humans that actually hated seeing the injustices that both races suffered at the hands of humans, and wanted to change the system from within. He became a true friend to the dwarves and the only elf he had ever met in his lifetime, and didn’t let his race dictate how he should treat others. That was one of the redeeming qualities of this novel, and what made me like it and push through.
I’m curious to know what happens in the rest of the trilogy, especially since the way that the first novel ended was a total cliff hanger. I mean, after all of what Fletcher and his friends went through in the span of a year – which when you’re reading it, you don’t realize there are months that have gone by until it’s mentioned – only for it to end like that? The horror. I will also say that the monthly time jumps were a little much, but I get that the story needed to continue. I think it worked out since there probably wasn’t much happening during those months, but from the way the chapters run together, you wouldn’t know that months had past until it’s explicitly mentioned. Time just went by super fast, almost like a montage.
Other than that, it was enjoyable. Ignatius was the cutest Salamander demon I’ve ever met, and I think the name fits perfectly. The relationship between the summoners and their demons reminded me a little bit of The Golden Compass, but not too much that it felt like a copy of it. There were key differences, especially in that summoners can control more than one demon at a time depending on their fulfillment level. But that’s all I’ll say on that. It was a good book. Give it a try 🙂