Book Reviews

The Novice by Taran Matharu



After having this book and its sequel on my shelf for sometime I thought I would give them both a read and see what they are like. After finishing The Novice I don’t know why I left it so long to start this series because its brilliant. Its full of adventure, magic and demons, as well as interesting and well developed characters. This is a must read for all fans of fantasy and magic novels.

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.

Fletcher was a brilliant main character to have with this book, he is intriguing, hardworking and smart. He also had his flaws and knows that he wont get things right the first time round. I liked that he didn’t just wake up one day and find out that he was the ‘chosen one’. He did actually have to train and become more powerful throughout the book, rather than the full grown power suddenly appear. It was a new way to see the main character train and learn skills, and it goes to show that hard work does pay off. Other characters such as Sylva, Othello and Seraph are interesting characters who aren’t left in the background. As you read the book you learn more about them as much as you do Fletcher.

I liked the demons and how there are many different creatures and types. The idea of having a demon sound great and as I was reading the book I wished that I was part of it just so I could have my very own demon. If I had one improvement and that would for them to be able to communicate and bit more. You could only really judge what they were feeling from what Fletcher was saying. Perhaps they would become more relatable if they could talk or communicate some other way. But they are still a new and different to the story, I haven’t read many books involving demons and I think that The Novice definitely used them in an original way.

From the very first chapter where Fletcher is hunting, you start to visualise the world and the characters. Taran Matharu is a master of words because he is able to be descriptive when it comes to world building, without being too language heavy that it becomes confusing. You always have a clear imagine of the world and the character, which is a pleasure to read. Once I started the book the world and the characters where always on my mind. I tried to read at any available free time, just so I could jump back into the story.

One thing I did notice was how similar somethings are in the story to other books. I think though as you continue reading on these similarities do develop into something new and different. Taran Matharu manages to put his own stamp on to make the story still interesting and not read like it had been copied straight out of another book.

I would recommend this book to all lovers of fantasy, adventure and magic books. The Novice is a brilliant read for anyone that wants a new refreshing story with well developed characters set in a beautifully developed world. I will be reading the sequel very soon.


I rate this book 5/5 stars


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