BOOK REVIEW: Taran Matharu – The Novice (Summoner #1)

A dazzling RPG-like magical world with a healthy touch of politics, racism and self-actualization.

Title: The Novice (Summoner #1)
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publish Date: May 5, 2015

Goodreads: 4.2/5
Barnes and Noble: 4.7/5


When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.



The Magic and The Action.

I read this book for this purpose and it certainly did not disappoint! The magical rules aren’t completely new. If you are fond of playing RPG games, Summoners and their abilities should not be new to you. This is the type of book for gamers-slash-readers, people who like the balance of each.

The Characters were…so.

The characters aren’t amazing or significant for me. But not entirely annoying as well. If not for Ignatius, I would not even have liked Fletcher. I am looking forward to see more action from the Elven Princess and the Dwarfs but Matharu may have saved that for the next books though.

The Plot got me going.

After surviving the grueling first few chapters of heavy world-building, the plot finally rolls into a whirlwind of magic school lessons as well as worldly politics among royals. The short chapters helps in moving along the plot exactly at points where it becomes too long and boring.

The Lack of Romance.

Hooray! There isn’t even a bit of it. With all the politics and fighting in the world, I could not imagine Fletcher even looking for one or finding one. And that makes this book more genuine. It reminds me of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where it was all about friendship and adventure which should be the focus of people Fletcher’s age.



The Writing.

The first chapter is crap. Sorry. It was a much too lengthy chapter of simply one scene that had very minimal relation to the rest of the book. (Well, it had but I won’t spoil.)

The first few chapters are much too slow. Matharu surely took his time in building the world, however, the descriptions becomes too long and specific that there is no place for the reader’s imagination. The writing is much too technical and direct that I literally skimmed half of the book without missing any details.

The Annoying Nemeses.

Tarquin and Isadora are complete brats. You just hate them right off the bat and I think there is minimal characterization on their part as antagonists. As much as the protagonists develop towards the end of the book, the antagonists should have also. Instead Matharu has them as lazy and confident rich kids who got beaten in the exams. Not surprising.

The Almost Perfect Hero

Fletcher is fine as a main character. However, I find him uninteresting. Sure, his background is from an unknown village and struggled to survive and that he fought his way to win at the academy. I just find it unrealistic that he did not struggle with his powers and it all came naturally to him. And when he did struggle, the rest of the commoners suffered the same which made him completely insignificant. I just wish to see more development in the next books.


OVERALL: 4 stars

Stars 4.0

A good read. Fans of high fantasy should have a good time reading into this.




Hope you guys found my review entertaining and informative.

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