SFF · YA and Teen

Review: The Novice: Summoner: Book One

TItle: The Novice: Summoner: Book One
Author: Taran Matharu
Page Count: 384
Publication: May 2015
Series: Summoner #1

[Amazon | IndieBound | BN | Find it at your local library]

(Other reviews: The Guardian, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly)

Reviewed by Natalie

Orphan boy? Check. Finds he has a hidden ability? Check. Two of my favorite tropes ever.

Fletcher is the apprentice to a blacksmith and a legitimately good kid. His life is a simple one and he enjoys it except for the local rich kid and his friends who constantly bully him. When he finds himself in possession of a Summoner’s Book, he uses it, thinking it won’t work. To his shock, it does and he becomes the new owner of a salamander-like demon. Once that happens, he’s off to Summoning school to learn all the spells needed (yes, the school is a big castle-like structure. What other kind would it be?) While at Vocans, Fletcher learns the art of summoning and makes some new friends. He’s not perfect, he makes mistakes, but he also feels horrible when he does. Not everything is wonderful at Vocans though. There are conspiracies to attempt to stop, nasty fellow students to deal with, and much more. The book ends on a cliff-hanger guaranteed to make you want to read book 2 (which of course I did).

As I was reading, I kept thinking, “how have I not read this book earlier?” Yes, it’s nothing new to the fantasy genre, but the storytelling is very well done and I truly liked Fletcher as a character. I couldn’t help but want to root for him from the first page. It’s a quick read, with just enough world-building and backstory to give the reader a sense of the place, but not too much that it bogs down the story. I definitely recommend reading Fletcher’s story.