Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Summoner series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
I was first drawn to this book by the awesome cover and then hooked when I read the synopsis. This was a fun middle grade/YA fantasy book with a lot of adventure and magic.
Fletcher is a blacksmith in a small town until he acquires a special scroll from a traveler. Fletcher finds that upon reading the scroll he is able to summon a demon and circumstances surrounding the summoning force him to flee town. He ends up at the Adept Military Academy and after a startling set of circumstances finds himself enrolled as a student there. However the Academy is a pretty grueling place because of the endless war the Hominum Empire is fighting with the orcs. The Hominum Empire needs Battlemages on the frontlines ASAP, so Fletcher’s training is incredibly short and incredibly competitive.
This book was an interesting blend of fantasy tropes. Some of it reminds of Pokemon (the demons that are summoned) and some of it reminds a bit of Harry Potter (the academy and the quirky teachers that dwell there). There is also a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons feel to it all with the ongoing battle with the orcs and the treaty with the elves. Additionally you have the suppression of the dwarven race thrown in there as well.
There are some subjects in here that are a bit old for middle grade readers (discussion of courtesans as parents…which I wouldn’t really want to explain to my 9 year old). However, the book is very middle grade in tone aside from that. So this one is kind of in a grey area as far as reading audience. Besides the courtesan discussion I think this is something my 9 year old would really love, but I am not comfortable with him reading about that topic quite yet. That being said I think the characters are a bit young and immature for most YA readers…of course I enjoyed the book as an adult so…
I really enjoyed Fletcher as a character; he has that whole noble and determined underdog thing going on. I also really enjoyed his “sidekicks” aka the friends he meets at the academy. The demons were also very entertaining and cute.
There is the smaller plot of Fletcher and his struggle to train as a Battlemage but there is also a much broader plot involving all the different races (elves, dwarves, orcs, humans). The world building was well done and I am very interested to see how this broader plot of war will develop over the next few books.
The book isn’t completely original (it seems to pull from a variety of fantasy materials already out there) and it was fairly predictable…I could have probably recited what was going to happen from cover to cover after reading the first couple chapters. However, it was still a very fun and entertaining read and was very well written. There is some humor in here too which I loved and the writing flowed nicely.
Overall this was a fun fantasy read. I enjoyed the humor, the characters, the demons, and the world-building. I will most likely continue this series. Although the book wasn’t completely original and was pretty predictable; it was still a fun read and I enjoyed it.