Summoner: The Novice

Summoner: The Novice

By Author / Illustrator

Taran Matharu



Age range(s)



Hachette Children's Group








Demons, magic and epic adventure - introducing the first book in the New York Times bestselling Summoner Trilogy...Fletcher was nothing more than a humble blacksmith's apprentice, when a chance encounter leads to the discovery that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. Chased from his village for a crime he did not commit, he must travel with his demon to the Vocans Academy, where the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. The academy will put Fletcher through a gauntlet of gruelling lessons, training him as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire's war against the savage orcs. Rubbing shoulders with the children of the most powerful nobles in the land, Fletcher must tread carefully. The power hungry Forsyth twins lurk in the shadows, plotting to further their family's interests. Then there is Sylva, an elf who will do anything she can to forge an alliance between her people and Hominum, even if it means betraying her friends. Othello is the first ever dwarf at the academy, and his people have long been oppressed by Hominum's rulers, which provokes tension amongst those he studies alongside.Fletcher will find himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with nothing but his demon Ignatius to help him. As the pieces on the board manoeuvre for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands ...'Friendship, loyalty, magic and political intrigue beckon ...' The Bookseller



This debut fantasy novel takes us on a journey to the distant village of Pelt where Fletcher lives with his adoptive father, the Blacksmith. Undercurrants run through the village with the mainly poor community struggling to avoid problems with the guards or visiting Pinkertons - lawmakers from the city. A chance encounter with a passing soldier selling his wares enables Fletcher to summon a rare demon and he realises he has magical powers. Without time to think he has to flee the village for a crime he did not commit and travels to Corcillum, the city. He soon encounters trouble and is saved by a passing soldier, Arcturus, who takes him to the Vocans Academy to be trained as a summoner for the forthcoming war with the Orcs.
From the outset this book is fraught with danger and Fletcher has to fight not only for his survival but also against prejudice from all sides. It is a true fantasy novel with Summoners, Elves, Dwarves and Orcs as well as class issues between the arrogant Nobles and the Commoners. The different races all view one another with suspicion whilst trying to win a war together against the Orcs.
Whilst I quickly fell in love with Ignatius, Fletcher's rare salamander demon, I found the detailed explanations of the various magical laws, history, spells and Ether world confusing and lengthy at times. The author has tried to cram so much into one book that it does falter a little along the way. That said it is a riveting read for the most part and because of the well written characters you find yourself rooting for the underdogs, willing them to succeed.
The book is left on a cliffhanger with I'm sure a whole series planned. I can also imagine this would make an amazing film with comparisons to The Lord of the Rings. The book does not really touch on the fighting with the Orcs but that will surely follow in future books. I would certainly read a sequel and would recommend this to all lovers of fantasy. 400 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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