by Taran Matharu
Pages: 416 paperback
Publication Date: January 2016 (First published May 5th 2015)
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.
Okay so confession time, I am guilty of judging a book by its cover and when Hachette sent me an early copy of the final book in this series, The Battlemage, I kind just ignored it because it didn't look like the kind of book I would enjoy. HOWEVER, when I was putting in away I decided I might as well read the back and honestly? I went straight out and bought the first two books. I wasn't expecting to like this book but the characters and the story are so well thought out and polished that I fell right into the pages and didn't want to leave.
The Novice is the story of Fletcher, a fifteen year old boy from a little village where he isn't regarded as anything special. However, when his little mountain town of Pelt opens its gates to trade one day the town plays host to a most unsuspecting guest. Rotter is an old army man and from his days in the military he has a whole arsenal of unique things to sell, one of these things being the diary of a late Battlemage. It is this diary that opens Fletchers eyes to what he could truly be and when one thing leads to another he finds himself enrolling at Vocans Academy, a school for those with the ability to summon demons. From this point Fletcher is thrust into a world he never imagined he would be a part of and in the middle of a war between the races no less. With dwarves, elves, humans and orcs all at each others throats it is make or break time for Fletcher and his new friends. Can Fletcher be anything other than a blacksmith from a small town?
There is something about this book that hooks you in from page one! With strong Middle Earth vibes and Hogwarts feels The Novice has easily become one of my all time favourite fantasy books. It is filled to the brim with twists and turns, characters that make you smile and others than make you want to slap them. You get to see Fletcher become something he never thought he could be, important. It is one of those books that I don't want to say too much about in fear of spoiling it for those of you who haven't read it yet but here is what I will say. I haven't loved a friendship like this since Hermione, Ron and Harry and the story kept me guessing from the very beginning. The world of demons Taran creates in enthralling and kept me hooked from the first page right up until the last in book 3.
Overall this book in beautifully crafted and unique. There isn't a moment throughout the whole book where you aren't cheering Fletcher and his misfit group of friend on and the relationship between Ignatius and Fletcher made me smile from start to finish. I adored this book and if you haven't read this series yet what are you waiting for? Be gone with you and read The Novice!!