Title : The Novice
Author : Taran Matharu
Pages : 368
Published : 5th May 2015
Publisher : Hodder Children's Books
Source : Netgalley
Purchase : Amazon/ Book Depository
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.
My Thoughts :
Okay, this was full of awesomesauce!! Absolutely amazing. Let us stare at the beauty that is the cover. I mean, how awesome is it?? The cover initially drew me to the book but the blurb is what sold me. I couldn't wait to read it and, boy, when I got the chance, I jumped right in. I devoured this book in 2 days and was like, OK, I need the next now!
Fletcher was such a great hero. He is so humble and nice but yet he was brave and strong. I admired him so much and rooted for him even more. When he gets to the Academy, he is thrown into a world where he is out of his depth, yet he thrives. I loved that he befriend the Dwarf and Elf, both of whom are the outcasts and in all honesty, treated like dirt by so many. He sees past that to who they are.
The world building was amazing as well. We have Demons, Dwarfs, Elves, Magic, Battles, Action and Adventure galore, add all that together and we get the amazing world that is The Hominum Empire. The war against the Orcs has been raging for years and it's only lately that Dwarfs and Elves are on the side of humanity. Any child that shows any magical ability is sent to the Academy. All nobles have magic automatically and the lower classes are tested regularly. Those who have magic are thought to become Battlemages and sent to the front line. Fletcher doesn't realise he has magic till a scroll comes into his possession and he calls fort a Demon. Because of an accident at home, Fletcher leaves quickly and only dreams of becoming a Battlemage, he doesn't have the money to go to the Academy. By a chance encounter he meets a teacher from there that sponsors him. From then on, Fletcher is thrown head first into studying and trying to catch up with everyone.
The setting of the Academy was perfect too. I love a Boarding School setting and this has such a Harry Potter feel but more grown up.
The Demons were awesome. Ignatius is a fire Demon and belongs to Fletcher but there is such a wide variety of them, like a mite, a Golem, A Hydra and a Minotar. They are graded on their magical abilities, so a mite is a Level 1 and a Minotar is a Level 11. The higher the level the harder to control the Demon. Fletcher has a Salamander which is a Level 5. I'm also glad the author put a Demon Glossary at the back because with the wide variety of them, it could get confusing.
Now there are so so many unanswered questions in this book that reading book 2 is a must. Who is Fletcher? Who really are his parents? Why the weird dreams? Can Ignatius do more? etc. Even with the unanswered questions, you don't feel like you missed anything. The plot is fast paced and well done. The characters, of which there are many, are all well developed and well described. I fell in love with some of the Demons and can't wait to read more about them in the next book. We don't see much of the Orcs in this one but you just know that its coming!! I can't wait to find out more about them.
Anyways, if you can make sense of my rambling, I think you can see that I loved this. I loved the plot, the setting, the characters, the Demons, the writing and pretty much everything about it. Its a fast paced and adventurous read and one that I know I'll reread time and time again. I can not wait for book 2!!!