Monday, 9 March 2015

The Novice by Taran Matharu Review

The Novice by Taran Matharu

“That’s the difference between a good warrior and a great one. Don’t fight hard.  Fight smart.”

Fletcher is a blacksmith’s adopted son and lives a plain and simple life until the day an old solider comes to Fletcher’s village, with him he brings a book. This book is special and in a tricky situation Fletcher uses it and summons a demon – he’s a summoner. Summoners are incredibly rare especially in commoners. But things turn bad when he almost causes a death and suddenly he’s on the run. That’s when he goes to the Adept Military Academy.

Fletcher is the orphan hero of this story and he’s a likeable character. He learns a lot on his journey and from his experiences which shows his character growth from this naïve village boy to this boy who’s got more knowledge on war, differences races and demons. The friendship of this book starts off weirdly as there’s this information dump of different characters at the same time and the people you assume will be his friends aren’t. But his friendship between Othello and Sylva was built up well as they all changed in a way to bond over a certain matter. However the fourth member of the group, Seraph was just pushed into the group way too late and you couldn't feel their friendship was whole as you don’t really get to know Seraph.

Othello is a dwarf and Sylva is an elf, the world in which the book is set is at war with Orcs and so different races are joining together to defeat their enemy. The book also dives into the issues with racism especially with the dwarves and their constant hounding even when they are in a respectable position.

With a lot of fantasy books the main character is always a ‘special’ person. Fletcher is special because of how he became a summoner and his demon but the other two main characters, Othello and Sylva are also special in a way. This is interesting as mainly the main character has traits that make him/her superior than the other characters especially their friends.

The story starts of really well with good pace and interesting start and slowly starts to quicken the pace as the school and other main themes occur. The writing style is good however I found there wasn’t enough world building but maybe that’s more for the sequel when we get more into the war (hopefully).

There was the typical competition/hatred between the classes – neither the nobles nor the commoners seemed to get along which at first seems like such a stereotype but near the end of the book you realise it’s important to the story.

The ending was just way too fast compared to the rest of the book and it seemed as if the author was rushing to fit everything in. However the ending was going on this typical route and I guessed what I thought to be the ending but then something happens which I didn’t expect.

Plus that cover is so nice and kickass!


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