‘The Novice’ by Taran Matharu [Book Review]

Today, after dipping in and out of the audiobook, I finished The Novice by Taran Matharu for the 2017 Reading Challenge. This book had been on my TBR for a couple of years, since BookTuber Benjaminoftomes positively reviewed it. I subsequently met the author at YALC in 2016 and 2017, and I knew that it was time to finally read it (being on my sunbed in France certainly helped!)

Title: The Novice
Author: Taran Matharu
Released: 2015
Pages: 400
Category: #52 A book based on mythology
Rating: 6/10

“But the men and women who rise to greatness are the risk takers, the gamblers. Those who take all or nothing.”

Pitched as Harry Potter meets Pokémon, this novel follows poor orphan Fletcher who discovers a mysterious summoning book. Taking a chance, he casts a spell and unexpectedly summons a demon. When his guardian learns of his new-found ability, he sends Fletcher to a special school to develop his talent.

Set in a world where war is raging, the summoners must train with elves and dwarves ready to do battle against evil. As far as fantasy fiction goes, this is incredibly fast-paced and action-based; the world-building is wonderful and detailed; and the characters are well-developed.

Whilst I did honestly enjoy this book, I was a little underwhelmed by the audiobook: I think the novel is almost too fast-paced to work well in that particular format, as I often found myself struggling to recall why certain characters found themselves in specific situations. That being said, it was a fun read, and I’m hoping that it has dragged me out of my anti-fantasy reading slump, and I will definitely continue with the series – on paper this time!

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