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the-novice-taran-matharuThe Novice by Taran Matharu
Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Number of Pages: Hardcover, 368 pages

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Synopsis & Review:
One thing that is so awesome and captivating about fantasy reads is that the worlds built by the authors are insanely different. There are magicians, warlocks, demon hunters and new creatures in the YA world and they all operate under the unique rules set by the authors.

However, The Novice is back with the basic creatures that are found first in fantasy fictions – demons, dwarves, elves and orcs. It does not introduce any new creatures to the readers but Taran Matharu surely does have a knack for cleverly adapting such creatures into his own fascinating world.

The Novice follows Fletcher as he realizes his ability to summon demons from another world and thus begins his journey as summoner-in-training at Adept Military Academy with humans, dwarves and elves alike. As time passes, readers will find out that this seemingly simple matter is complicated by the politics surrounding him, the underlying tension between nobles and plebeians and the wavering lines between friends and foes.

People often say they enjoy fantasy books because of the new characters that they are introduced to and the thrill of entering a world with lots of new rules and settings. Taran Matharu’s book certainly does not fulfill these needs as it talks about the tension between the elven kind, the dwarves and humans, which has been featured in other books before. However, the author has surely displayed his creativity and originality by his concept of summoning demons. Instead of hunting demons, the summoners are using the demons to aid their responsibilities. The dynamics between the summoners and their demons are also wonderfully portrayed, which adds to the overall appeal of the book.

The themes of politics and people’s lust for power are also executed perfectly and I am certain that readers will appreciate it as well. The tensions between the races and tribes are portrayed brilliantly with enough descriptions to paint a vivid imagery in readers’ minds. Moreover, aside from the wars and the fights, the tension due to hunger for power is also shown from the anecdotes that are tied together cleverly in The Novice.

Regarding the plot of this title, the main focus of The Novice is on the life of Fletcher as a student and thus people searching for epic battles and confrontations might be slightly disappointed. However, the school life and Fletcher’s life prior to that are certainly worth reading about. The excitement also builds up greatly in the later sections of the book, with the training that the novices receive for the school’s tournaments.

Overall, this title is a great introduction to an exciting fantasy series. It is definitely something that readers who enjoy Harry Potter’s school life, Lord of the Ring’s creatures and Game of Thrones’ political mess will look forward to.

Disclaimer: ARC provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for honest review. All opinions are my own.

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