DNF Review of The Novice by Taran Matharu

TheNoviceThe Novice
By: Taran Matharu
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

Made it to page 148

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:
First, I absolutely love the cover of The Novice. That was what drew me in and I’ll admit I requested it based on that alone. I figured it leaned towards fantasy and so had really high hopes. I also hadn’t noticed the little lizard on the guy’s shoulder until I was about 20% into the book!

I enjoyed some aspects of what I read. The beginning started fairly strong (if not a tad slow paced) and I thought it would be a great read for me. I didn’t love any of the characters but I saw potential. Once Fletcher made it to the Academy things sort of started to fall apart for me. It felt typical of other middle grade fantasy I’d read but I enjoyed the addition of the demons the students had as their battle partner/pet. I’ve not done much with Pokémon but it did bring it to mind.

I think I would have been okay with the story pulling from some typical fantasy tropes if the writing would have gripped me a bit more. I felt that a lot of the story and dialog was just telling me and not showing me. I had very little emotional connection to the story progression.

I’m not opposed to picking this one back up at a later date because it did have elements that I enjoyed.

Have you read The Novice? And had you noticed the little critter on his shoulder?