Editorial Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall
In a fantasy filled with adventure and allegory, we join Volke Savan on his journey to outwit his past, train his power, and unveil a murderer everyone thinks is the greatest hero of all time.
Despite being told by everyone (and by the traditions that span history) that he would never be anything more than a gravedigger and the son of criminals, Volke is determined to join the ranks of the Arcanists and do great things. Arcanists and the mythical creatures they have bonded with wield great – and sometimes terrible – magic. Desperate to get off his small island, Volke will bond with any mythical creature that will have him. His original plan doesn’t play out and he finds himself on the outskirts of town begging any mythical creature he can find for help. In a frantic turn of events, Volke finds himself bonded with a knightmare, a mythical creature of shadow and fear -- and this one had already lost his first Arcanist.
The knightmare knows that the great Gregory Ruma, the most famous and well-loved Master Arcanist, is spreading a plague of corrupted magic and murder. To keep his island nation and Illia - his adopted sister – safe, Volke must prove himself worthy again and again. But before Volke and the knightmare can confront the murderous Ruma they must learn, train, and grow together.
The Frith Guild is Volke and Illia’s new home where they become apprentices of a Master Arcanist, though he isn’t exactly what they were expecting. Arcanists from all over the world are gathered at the Guild Headquarters. Volke must balance these evolving friendships with the mission he has taken on. Despite their disadvantage, their youth, and their enemy’s immense power Volke and his friends will fight for what they know to be right.
The characters in this engrossing story are fantastically written, even the arrogant and ridiculing Zaxis is a multi-layered character that can surprise the reader. With well thought out relationships Stovall examines class, friendship, and loyalty in a way that younger readers will understand but older readers will appreciate. The characters are in their teens, but the themes and sheer quality of the writing will entertain and inspire readers of all ages.
Shami Stovall has created a complex and multifaceted world, one that invites readers in and holds them in its spell. The traditions and history of this world are interesting, and as this is the first book in the Frith Chronicles, we can look forward to learning much more about this intriguing world.
A spellbinding first instalment of what promises to be an addictive series, Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerising story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.