Monday, 27 April 2015

Book Review: Summoner: The Novice | Taran Matharu

I was sent this book by the lovely Katie Brown from 'Riot Communcations Ltd' on behalf of 'Hodder Children's Books' which is a division of 'Hachette Children's Books' for an honest review.

I love YA Fantasy books, I mean I really love them. I love to get lost in the magical worlds that authors create which captivate and entertain me for hours on end. The last fantasy YA series to get my this excited was the 'Iron Fey' series from Julia Kagawa. So believe me when I say that 'Summoner Book One: The Novice' by Taran Matharu is a sure fire hit and will lead to wonderful things for this talented new author.

Have you ever been ridiculously excited to read a book even before it comes out? Have you even been so excited to read a book before you pick it up and turn its pages? This is how I felt about reading this amazing new book. I had heard about this book a while ago on the literary grapevine and was intrigued by its premise and the potential the story was rumoured to have. 

It was November 2013 when Taran started writing what would be his first published novel and decided to post it on well known story sharing website 'Wattpad'. With this website alone he achieved a record of over 6 million views pre-publication, and it was then he decided to approach 6 agents for representation. Within 24 hours they had all contacted him saying they wanted him as a client. Now this book has been bought in 11 countries including 6 figure deals in the US and Brazil. His success so far is incredible and that's even before publication and before we've got to how amazing the story is.

Our hero is a humble yet talented blacksmith called Fletcher who is doing his best just to live his life and make something of himself. It is a little way into the book when is is gifted with a strange book that unlocks his ability to summon demons. This is unusual for Fletcher because it is said that only Nobles and the Aristocracy are the ones who are able to summon demons, so this offers up questions about Fletcher's lineage because we are unaware of Fletcher's biological parents are even where he really comes from, until later in the book.

He is then chased from the only place he has known as home for a crime he did not commit and he goes on the run, whilst trying to discover and come to terms with his new abilities. He is then signed up to join the Vocans academy which is a place where the truly gifted are trained in the art of summoning. It is here that the training is gruelling and constantly challenging which in turn shapes Fletcher into the summoner he is destined to be. Caught in a mighty battle he must train to become a powerful battle-mage so he can join his fellow summoners on the front lines in a raging war against the orcs.

Even within the academy Fletcher is not safe from enemies, the pretentious Forsyth twins plan and plot to further their families interests and power. Fletcher is lucky to find friends at the academy and this bunch of summoners are a wonderful cast of characters. We have Othello who is the first ever dwarf to be allowed to train at the academy, and his people have long been oppressed which causes tensions between some of the summoners he trains alongside. Then there is Sylva, a talented and elegant but tough elf who will do anything to see that her people gain the allegiance they deserve.

Along with his friends and his demon Ignatius, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie as the fate of an empire is in his hands.
I was very impressed with this book, there was never a dull moment and I felt like I was constantly gripped by the drama and the adventure. There were elements of Harry Potter, Pokemon and Final Fantasy in this novel but that is purely based on the fantasy element of this book. It's story is something that stands competently and proudly all on its own.

What also impressed me was the depth in which everything had been worked out, from the noble heritage and family trees, and the different types of nobles. The level system of the summoners and demons is also something I marveled at as well as the 'demonology' that was so detailed could have filled a book all on its own. The authors imagination is but on display with this book and his magical creations are nothing short of spectacular. There is so much potential with this series and even though it has temporarily been set out as a trilogy, I feel it could extend further than this into further books, novellas and a number of different spin offs. Can you imagine hearing about what the teachers from the academy got up to before many of the students were even born? The potential here is exciting.

I even had a discussion with the author via Twitter and we both thought it would be amazing if these stories got turned into films and then maybe RPGs so you could immerse yourself further into the adventure. This is a wonderful book so that level of success is something that could possible happen.

This is an epic read and it has to be one of my top books of 2015. The chapters are small and easily digestible, but that will only make it easier to fly through this magical book. This is the first in an anticipated trilogy and lucky for us Taran Matharu is already in the process of writing the second book.

A word of warning: brace yourself for the ending.

I gave this book a ridiculously amazing 10/10

This book is released on the 5th of May 2015. To Pre-order check out one of the following links:

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I highly recommend you pre-order this folks, so read it and let me know what you think.