Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

Hello TBF Readers,

Welcome back to the TBF Blog! From now until the 13th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival, which is May 19, 2018, expect a ton of posts from all of us here at the TBF Blog. This year is a super exciting year because TBF will be a TEEN just like you!

To start off the TBF Blog, I have for you the first TBF Book Review. I recently read THE NOVICE by Taran Matharu, the first book in The Summoner series, and I loved every bit of it. Take a look:

Fletcher is working as a blacksmith's apprentice when he discovers he has the rare ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must travel with his demon, Ignatius, to an academy for adepts, where the gifted are taught the art of summoning.

Along with nobles and commoners, Fletcher endures grueling lessons that will prepare him to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire's war against the savage Orcs. But sinister forces infect new friendships and rivalries grow. With no one but Ignatius by his side, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of the Empire is in his hands. . . .

THE NOVICE is unlike anything I have ever read before. The world-building of The Summoner series is fantastic and completely original--I am super jealous of our heroes, Fletcher, Othello, and Sylva who get to live in this world, Hominum, every day. The best way to describe it is that it is a mixture of The Lord of the Rings and Pokémon (Trust me on this). The Summoner series is centered around an age-old battle between humans and orcs. One advantage to the human race is that there are special humans called summoners who can call, command, and train demons from the ether world. These summoners eventually become battlemages who then enter the hard and bloody war. Of course, these summoners try to collect the most powerful demons to battle the orcs--gotta catch 'em all! This concept is so cool--like I want a sidekick demon buddy! It screams to my love for fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, and Pikachu (Who doesn't love Pikachu?).

The other aspect I love about THE NOVICE is that it deals with real-life problems such as racial tensions and the divide between the social classes. In The Summoner series, there are humans, elves, and dwarves. Much like The Lord of the Rings, these three races do no get along until Frodo unites respective leaders (Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli) and they become The Fellowship of the Ring. What I love about THE NOVICE is that there is no Frodo and no one really wants to ally themselves with elves and dwarves and fight the greater good. There are only a handful of dreamers--our heroes--who do believe that they can live in a peaceful co-existence and defeat the orcs. We, the readers, experience their strained relationship (humans vs. the elves and dwarves) through character interaction and background stories--a rare factor in fantasy novels. In addition, THE NOVICE addresses the issue of inequality between social classes. The students who are training to become summoners are divided between the royals and the commoners. The royals believe they should get the best position in the army and the best demons just because their families have power, influence, and money. They hate the idea of commoners, and recently dwarves and elves, becoming summoners and taking away the royals' "rightful" place in the world. This startling parallel to our own reality makes this novel even more compelling to read.

I highly recommend THE NOVICE for fans of The Lord of the Rings and Pokémon. You will love the incredible world-building, sympathetic characters, and the fast-pace of the novel. I am definitely checking out the next two books in The Summoner series, THE INQUISITION and THE BATTLEMAGE, both out now!

Check out The Summoner series by Taran Matharu at the Monroe County Library System, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

That is all for today! Be sure to check the TBF Blog this Friday for our brand-new blog posts called "TBF Friday Fun Posts". Your TBF Bloggers will share with you all of our excitement for our TBF authors and books.

Happy reading!

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