The Novice (Summoner, #1) – Taran Matharu

novice

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SYNOPSIS:

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…

REVIEW (Spoiler Free):

The Novice has been on my TBR for a very long time. It sounded interesting, but some new book or series always came up. That all changed when I attended the Fierce Reads Spring Tour which featured Taran Matharu as one of the guest authors. During the tour panel, Matharu described The Summoner Series as Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon. I was hooked immediately and I knew I had to read The Novice ASAP. And I am so glad I did! Matharu’s description of his series was spot on!

The Novice was a highly entertaining and original story. I don’t often read books with male protagonists as the only POV, but I really liked reading from Fletcher’s POV. I was very invested in his story and development. He is very mature despite his young age. I felt like I was with Fletcher during his journey. The other characters were also very well done, especially Othello. I enjoyed Fletcher’s and Othello’s friendship! It seemed so genuine.

The magic system of The Novice is so cool! Fletcher discovers that he is a summoner. This means that he is able to summon demons from a parallel world (the ether). These demons then become bonded to the summoner – both as their partner and a part of their consciousness. The bond between the summoner and demon is strong and allows the summoner to use magic, or “mana”. Fletcher’s demon is a rare salamander demon named Ignatius. Fletcher and Ignatius train together at the Academy and become adept at using mana and spells. The demons and magic system were fascinating. I would really like to have my own demon!

While The Novice mostly focuses on Fletcher and his training, we also discover a world filled with humans, elves, dwarves, and orcs. The war against the orcs, the nobles’ overreaching power, and the class divide between the humans and dwarves are the fundamental conflicts faced by this world. These conflicts are all addressed and contribute to Fletcher’s story. I feel like we only scratched the surface of the war against the orcs. Fletcher has not yet seen the war or been involved. I am looking forward to the next book to really delve into the war and how Fletcher responds.

The Novice ended on a big cliffhanger! I won’t give anything away! I am going to start the next book (The Inquisition) very soon because I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

  • Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon = very accurate description of The Novice. I highly recommend The Novice to fans of any of those fandoms.
  • Unique and extremely cool magic system!
  • Demons are awesome and I would like both a salamander demon and a griffin!
    • Make sure to check out the demon classification guide at the end of the book! Matharu definitely put a lot of thought and creativity into the demons.
  •  The first few pages were a tad slow, but as soon as Fletcher used the summoning scroll I was hooked! Matharu’s writing kept me interested and entertained throughout the entirety of The Novice.

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