The Novice by Taran Matharu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I still feel like there's an overall dearth of solid, more mature fantasy for young adults that isn't couched in romance tropes. The Novice, while a little overlong and with a pretty significant runup, does a good job of balancing existing tropes with a different concept altogether. Sort of like if Hogwarts was at West Point, this ends up being a fun read.
The story, once we get there, is pretty cool. Fletcher learns, somewhat accidentally, that he has the ability to summon demons. He is quickly brought into what is basically a summoning school to train for a great war.
This works in part because, once it gets rolling, it largely cuts the fat a bit. We get the relationships, but it's more a lot of action and training, and it's impressive that it works as well as it does in that regard. This isn't Harry Potter, and it's probably closer to The Iron Trial in overall tone, and that's good - we need more fantasy like this that's both appropriate for a wider age range and ushers in a good introduction to the genre.
I'm looking forward to what comes next. Absolutely worth your time.
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