Editorial Review: Dread Pirate Arcanist by Shami Stovall
Eagerly awaited by fans, the second book in The Frith Chronicles: Dread Pirate Arcanist delves deeper into the world of arcane magic, mythical creatures, and the history of fan-favorites.
In Book II we continue the adventure with Volke and his guild of arcanists as they continue to fight the arcane plague -- though this time against a very different villain. While on the Isle of Landin, the Frith Guild is employed to protect the baby griffins during the islands bonding ceremony, but it will not be smooth sailing.
Intrigued by the Trials of Worth of other communities; every arcanist wants to win the prize set by Master Zelfree – a moment alone with the griffins. During their assignment, Volke and Illia encounter the Dread Pirate Calisto – the cutthroat dastard who murdered Illia’s family and disfigured her face as a child. Not only this, but an unknown pirate is bent on revenge against Luthair. Illia wants to avenge her lost family and her injuries, but she’s chasing a powerful and cruel manticore arcanist and will need all the support she can get.
Though they have already fought terrible beasts infected with the plague, an arcanist gone mad and a leviathan, these apprentices are still just that – apprentices. Book II reveals much more in-world lore and history, elaborating many of the things we learned in the first installation of The Frith Chronicles. The charm of this series is somewhat thanks to the feeling that the reader is learning alongside the characters, the content is developing and maturing over time.
The overall story is thoroughly engaging with thrills and action, while maintaining enough light moments and human interest to push the story along emotionally as well. With a thoroughly satisfying ending that hints at an incredible future for the series, Dread Pirate Arcanist is an unequivocal triumph.
Stovall writes with heart, she creates a human relatability in her story that pushes the reader from being simply entertained by the plot, to being genuinely invested in the fate of the characters. Through this type of in-depth character development and remarkable world building, The Frith Chronicles is carving out a well-deserved place in flintlock fantasy.
While enough of the back story is explained to enjoy Book II without having read Knightmare Arcanist, it would be a more complete experience to read them in order. Anyone who is interested in fantasy, flintlock, or adventure will find something to love here.
Shami Stovall has absolutely knocked it out of the park with the second installation of The Frith Chronicles.