Friday, April 28, 2017

Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell

Title: Spellslinger
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Allen & Unwin/Hot Key Books

"There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is surviving your fourteenth year. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things."

Kellen’s dreams of becoming a powerful mage like his father are shattered after a failed magical duel results in the complete loss of his abilities. When other young mages begin to suffer the same fate, Kellen is accused of unleashing a magical curse on his own clan and is forced to flee with the help of a mysterious foreign woman who may in fact be a spy in service to an enemy country. Unsure of who to trust, Kellen struggles to learn how to survive in a dangerous world without his magic even as he seeks out the true source of the curse. But when Kellen uncovers a conspiracy hatched by members of his own clan seeking to take power, he races back to his city in a desperate bid to outwit the mages arrayed against him before they can destroy his family.

Spellslinger is heroic fantasy with a western flavour.
Review by Nara

After loving and enjoying Sebastien de Castell's epic fantasy series, the Greatcoats, I was surprised and excited to see that he was releasing a young adult series.

One of the things I loved most about de Castell's writing was the irreverent humour and excellent banter. This was nicely carried through to Spellslinger but also feels like it's been passed through a profanity filter (which makes sense because YA vs adult fantasy haha). It's still pretty hilarious, and there were certainly moments to laugh out loud at (most of these moments involved a certain animal sidekick, sorry, "business partner").

The magic system is quite well defined, which is exactly what I like to see in a high fantasy. Basically, there are different types of magic which people have differing degrees of control over depending on whether they're able to "spark" the tattooed arm bands that they have. The only aspect of the magic system that wasn't explained is what a particular character's powers are (Ferius), but I suspect that's only because it's book one and this will later be properly revealed.

So apparently this is the first book in a six book series! I actually had no idea I was locking myself into such a long series, but I suppose I can't complain because the books are actually pretty well written. I'll be interested to see what is to come for Kellen and his adventures.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5