Book Review: The Novice (Summoner #1) – Taran Matharu

3 stars

title: The Novice
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release date: May 5th 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


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.


This was such a cool story. This story is a very unique look on a story that has been told many times before. It’s a standard Young Adult fantasy book, featuring a teenage nobody who figures out he has super cool abilities and goes on being a slightly less nobody (he’ll probably become an important person  in the next books, like always). But, there are some very cool features that made this book really interesting. The feeling this book gave me was a bit like coming home on a Friday evening; it’s a lovely feeling and it’s a good and comfortable feeling, but sadly it’s not going to get me extremely excited.


This felt like a mix between Eragon and Pokemon. From the very first page I got serious Eragon vibes. It started with the first chapter where Fletcher (the main character) was shooting a deer with his bow. Hmmmm were did I read that before? Oh, right only 50 other Young Adult high fantasy novels start in the exact same way! I’m glad that it got a bit more original pretty fast.
This book felt like coming home to me, good old YA fantasy.


In this story a young boy finds out he has a rare ability, he can summon demons, a gift that gives him as much problems as it helps him. I really liked the demons, I really imagined them as those really cute little beasts that get ferocious and gain 100 teeth in no time. Basically my spirit animal.

mad teeth GIF

There were quite a few info dumps throughout the story and it made everything very complicated at times. It was a good thing that Fletcher was a student himself and it made it very easy for my to understand everything while the people around him explained it to him. Sadly, I’m not the biggest fan of info dumping and it became a bit too much at times.

The last 20% ruined the book for me…
Around the 80% mark the story, sadly, started to deteriorate very quickly. It felt like the author of this book wanted to get to a certain point at the end of the book and at 80% he suddenly noticed that his story hadn’t reached the point he wanted to get too at all and now, there was only 20% left for him to fix things and get all the characters and plot lines were he wanted them.

The problem was that 20% wasn’t enough time to realistically get to that point. Certain characters suddenly became friends or enemies, new discoveries were made over night, knowledge came out of nowhere. Student who weren’t capable 2 pages before suddenly could win difficult battles. It ruined the book a bit for me and it was quite disappointing. I’m still very curious for the next books in this series. It looks like this story could be a very epic one and it certainly has a lot of potential.



Tell me what you think!