Publisher: Hodder Children’s
Release Date: 1st April 2015
The prequel to the explosive new fantasy trilogy, Summoner. Set in a time before The Novice, this prequel is the perfect introduction to the world of the Summoner.
Arcturus is just an orphaned stableboy when he discovers he has the ability to summon demons from another world. He is sent to Vocans Military Academy where the lost arts of summoning, spellcraft and demonology are taught to the noble children of the Empire. As the first commoner gifted with this ability, his discovery challenges the nobility and the powers that be. At the Academy Arcturus quickly makes enemies. With no one but his demon Sacharissa by his side, Arcturus must prove himself as a worthy Summoner …
This is a quick, easy to read prequel to The Novice, Book One in the series by Taran Mathuru that everyone seems to be talking about right now, which is easy to see why when it’s described as Harry Potter meets Pokémon.
I actually enjoyed this more than The Novice, which I read first. It’s interesting to see how Arcturus started out, especially as he has similar underdog qualities to the next book’s protagonist, Fletcher. It adds colour to some of the background things that we find out in The Novice, and I think you could read either first and be satisfied.
Arcturus is a well rounded character, brave and honest with a backstory you can sympathise with, and if you’ve read The Novice, you know what kind of man he turns into. To criticise, I’d say he was a little too similar to Fletcher: it felt I could have been reading about either of them, so I would have like a few more defining features.
As someone who has already read the first book, I found a little of the lesson stuff repetitive. I’d already read about the hows and whys and didn’t feel it offered anything new. It was sparing though, and didn’t go into as much depth as The Novice does. It was really great seeing some of the characters we know as adults in the next book, with Elaine and Valens being a personal highlight.
Overall, this is a great little story to flesh out some of the history of The Novice for those who’ve read it, and a good introduction to the world if you haven’t.