Publisher's Note:  

He can summon demons. But can he win a war?

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

by Taran Matharu

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

If this book's cover doesn't scream "Read me!" to everyone who sees it, then it is unclear what cover will.  This eye-catching cover has particularly high guy-appeal.  The novel starts off with a Ranger's Apprentice/Eragon-feel and some solid intensity.  It then shifts its tone and narrative to a school for summoners where the students are learning to control demons and magic.  At this point the reader will be strongly reminded of the Harry Potter books--both in setting, group dynamics, and teachers. A nice touch of this book is its strong, classic fantasy-feel created through the incorporation of elves and dwarves. 

More sophisticated readers may not be as captured with the novel because so much of it feels like territory already covered before in other books.  However, a generous, young reader will enjoy the action, the protagonist Fletcher, his demon, and his comrades.  A word of warning: readers should be prepared for a cliff-hanger and the accompanying wait until book two in the series is published.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 33 mild obscenities; 6 religious profanities; 12 derogatory names; 1 scatological word; 2 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore:  Animal is shot with arrow for food, head is cut off and thrown with splattering of blood; reference to wars and fighting; story is told about a battle; tales of demons killing is told; bar fight involving hitting, punching, etc. with mention of blood; magical writings are found on a piece of human skin; threats; brief fight between characters involving biting, scratching, fire and possibly resulting in a death; character is choked and threatened; characters spar to train; report of mythical creatures slaughtering a family, tying bodies to tries, slitting bellies open, etc.; authority figures rough up a young character and break his rib; evidence of mistreatment (scars) are seen on a character; 2 page fight with cudgels, kicking, breaking ribs, fire, magic, weapons, etc. resulting in injury and unconsciousness; mythical creature attacks another mythical creature and a human; tapestry shows a battle scene; extended scene in which a character experiences the memory of another in which there is a battle, a character has been tortured and his skin removed from his back to make parchment, blood, arrows, swords, etc.; brothers fight/grapple each other; magical battle/challenge using mythical creatures to fight each other, resulting in injuries; challenge in which human characters fight with swords, resulting in injuries; challenge in which human characters battle with magic, mythical creatures, and physical means; character is slapped.

Sex/Nudity:  Moderate-length discussion regarding courtesans and mistresses of nobility, nobility's infidelities, and the resulting illegitimate children--some characters are known to be the result of these liaisons and some characters are suspected/accused.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Bullying, race prejudices, politics, political and governmental corruption, war, illegitimate children, death, child abandonment.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters of varying ages (teen to adult) drink in a tavern; teenage character has a hang-over from drinking at tavern the night before.

Reviewed By Cindy
No image available