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The Novice: Summoner: Book One (The Summoner Trilogy)

Review

The Novice: Summoner: Book One (The Summoner Trilogy)

I found NOVICE by Taran Matharu to be a breath fresh air. The book is about a boy named Fletcher who runs away from his hometown because of a crime he committed. Along the way, he discovers he has magical powers and can summon a demon. He is then gets sent to an academy for summoners where he learns how to control his abilities. The plotline is somewhat slow moving, but there is still lots of action and political intrigue.
 
War is a huge theme in NOVICE, and it’s done so well --- it’s clear that the author knows what he’s trying to achieve. Because so much of the book takes place at the academy, which is attended by elf, dwarf noble and commoner alike, as long as they have a sense of “mana” (the magic system), we get to see the war from many different perspectives. This is great because war doesn’t just affect one people or one country --- it’s like Matharu is enacting the expression “there are two sides to every story.”
 
NOVICE tackled many topics that are prominent in today's society, including racial, gender, cultural and status issues. It was really refreshing to read a book that didn't just stick to one idea but went for all of the hard-hitting topics. I commend the author for doing so because that was a very risky decision that I believe paid off well.
 
The world building in this novel is to die for, and it’s clear that the author knows the world inside and out.  There were histories of places and wars in NOVICE, and each setting description was on point. I really felt like I was there. There is a bit of a Lord of the Rings Vibe to NOVICE and the book could have fit into that world, but it has a wonderful world of its own. I'm so excited to see where the series goes because I honestly cannot wait to have the characters explore even more surroundings.
 
This leads me to Fletcher, who is by far the best male protagonist I have ever read (and I have read a lot of books.) Fletcher comes from humble beginnings but does not take advantage of his new summoner status; he is so welcoming towards others no matter their background. He sees the good in people and accepts others even if they might not accept him at first; he literally fights for people who don't like him.
 
Fletcher is a really selfless character. In the beginning of the book, he leaves his "father" so only Fletcher will get in trouble. He is also a curious person who naturally gets into trouble a lot, is witty and is full of ideas. In many young adult novels, the main character knows what to do right away, but in NOVICE, Fletcher gets to face actual problems and sometimes he does screw up…a lot of the time, actually. It's great to see a main character that's not "all powerful."
 
The other characters in the book were great as well; I think that Othello could easily be my best friend in real life.
 
Fletcher…is by far the best male protagonist I have ever read (and I have read a lot of books.)
 
The writing style is what really sewed this novel together. It brought a darker tone to the novel and made it more interesting. The imagery made me feel like I was in the book, and I found many of the analogies funny. I think the unique writing style is what made the story so great and different for me; everything about it was refreshing.
 
It was gruesome and graphic. I definitely wouldn't recommend reading this book if you're opposed to graphic violence. The writing brought a darker tone to the novel, but it also made it more interesting. The imagery going on really helped make it feel like I was in the book. The author used different analogies that I thought was funny. It had a unique writing style. I think that is why the novel was so great and different to me. Everything was refreshing.
 
Overall, I loved NOVICE and I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out. Everyone needs to read this book, especially fans of The Lord of the Rings, the Shadow and Bone series and the Sabriel trilogy. There’s no romance, so anyone who’s anti-romance will love it. However, younger teens might want to wait, since there is some graphic violence. With high fantasy, a great magic system and great characters, NOVICE is a fantastic book that I cannot stop praising.

Reviewed by Christa O. on May 11, 2015

The Novice: Summoner: Book One (The Summoner Trilogy)
(The Summoner Trilogy #1)
by Taran Matharu

  • Publication Date: May 5, 2015
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • ISBN-10: 125006712X
  • ISBN-13: 9781250067128