The Novice by Taran Matharu

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I first started reading this book about two weeks ago. It started very slowly and I couldn’t seem to get into it, so I put it down and didn’t think about it for a while. I picked it up again today and decided to try again and after struggling past the beginning again, I was hooked. Fletcher is an engaging young character who always seems to be in the thick of things when stuff goes wrong. Along with his friends, Seraph; a human, Othello; a dwarf, and Sylva; an Elf, he finds himself in the world’s academy for demon summoning youngsters. He and his demon, Ignatius struggle to show the nobles that a Commoner can be just as powerful as them.

The book gives off a sort of Harry Potter vibe, with Fletcher being a commoner that discovers he can summon demons comparable to Harry discovering he’s a wizard and both boys going off to school to learn magic. I’ve even seen some people compare it slightly to Pokemon, which I suppose is the demon being a sort of sidekick thing, with the ability to catch more.

The world seems pretty basic, there’s the Elves in the north and the orcs in the south with the humans in the middle and a desert to the west (This was where the humans originally came from). The humans are fighting a real war in the south against the Orcs and a “fake war” in the north with the Elves. Fletcher’s story starts after an old soldier gifts him a book written by a deceased summoner as return for allowing him to stay the night.

Unlike the first few Harry Potter books, this book is aimed at the older end of young adults rather than children. There are some themes such as assault, abandonment and death that may turn parents off of reading it to 10-13 year olds or even turn them off allowing their children to read it.

I think my biggest gripe with this book though is the chapter length, they’re just so short, it’s a little jarring to be getting into a chapter and then have to start a new one. It would be ok if this was one of those books you pick up and put down a lot but it’s not.

I'm glad I read this book

I’m glad I read this book

You can find Taran Matharu on Twitter here.

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