Author: Sebastien De Castell
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: E-ARC via Netgalley
Publication Date: 4th May 2017
Rating: 5/5 Stars
MAGIC IS A CON GAME.
Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone.
As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path.
Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…
This book was kindly provided to me for honest review by the Publisher via Netgalley. This has not impacted on the content of this review, which it my own honest opinion.
I must confess that Spellslinger did take me a little while to get into. Not too long though, this book takes off right as the main character, Kellen, is about to take part in a magical duel. Instead of lengthy exposition, the author favours showing how things work, if you give it a chance, this works well, keeping the story moving.
Kellen is an interesting main character, more skilled in trickery than actual magic, which is unfortunate since he lives in a society where magic is viewed as the most important thing. Those who cannot wield enough magic are treated as a lesser class. He is at the age where he must undertake a number of trials to earn his mages name, or fail and join those without magic. Since he has not yet managed to spark his magic, he decides to use trickery to win his duel, the first trial.
Kellen’s upbringing has been very sheltered, with the ideals of his people firmly instilled. Things start to take an interesting turn when Kellen meets a mysterious traveller, Ferius Parfax. She is an outsider, whose observations open Kellen’s eyes to the issues of his society. The way that those without magic are oppressed and mistreated for example. The story develops from there, with some interesting twists and turns. With Kellen becoming increasingly aware of the problems within his society, learning and growing.
The magic system is complicated, but it’s also unique. There are seven types of magic, with hand gestures and incantations used, and tattooed bands which help channel the magics. I loved how detailed the system was, but I also really loved that Kellen made up for his weak magical ability with clever trickery.
There is some excellent world building here, with a thought out history and political structure. I loved what I saw here, and can’t wait to see and discover more in the sequel, which I will certainly be reading. I don’t want to give too much away about this book, because to be honest, one of the things I really enjoyed about this book was being pleasantly surprised by its development. I will say that there is a fantastically funny talking animal character, who was an incredibly entertaining addition and regularly put a smile on my face while I was reading. On top of that, this book boasts really good character development, especially for Kellen.
Spellslinger is fantastically written, the further you read the more layers you uncover. I found that my overall enjoyment of this book grew and grew the more I read on. I was really impressed with the character growth and the direction the story took and I am definitely excited for the sequel, Shadowblack, which comes out this October. This book made me smile so much that I can’t give it less than 5 stars.
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