Author: Sebastien de Castell
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published: 4th May 2017 (UK)
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Acquired: Received as a Christmas present
(years ago oops)
Rating: ★★★★★ [4.5]
Book Blurb:: 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.
Wow, my first review of 2019 and it’s for a book I read in May 2018! I’d like to say slow and steady wins the race but this is a tad embarrassing… #procrasinationqueen
However, Spellslinger was such a great book I think I have been putting off this review as I worry I wont do it justice. I decided enough was enough, so let’s just get into this one.
Spellslinger focuses on Kellen, son of the most powerful mage in his clan, yet he can’t access any magic. The trials to make a boy into a mage take place once they are 16; Kellen’s is fast approaching but until now he has used tricks and cunning instead of magic to get what he wants.
In a world of magic Kellen feels like a failure, but an encounter with an Argosi called Farius Parfax and a squirrel cat gives Kellen a new perspective on life, and his future.
Okay, so I always knew I wanted to own this series. I loved De Castell’s tone in one of his other books- Traitor’s Blade, and so I presumed I would love this one just as much. Plus, and let’s face it probably the main reason why I wanted this book, was the cover. I mean look at it- doesn’t it look amazing!?! ❤
I love the design, and the artwork looks super cool too 🙂 With such a pretty cover I really couldn’t resist- and thankfully the story itself is as amazing as the design~
As mentioned above, I love the writing tone of Sebastien De Castell’s other series, and thankfully Spellslinger did not disappoint! ❤ You can definitely tell that this series is aimed at a younger audience than the Greatcoats books (no swearing at all, haha), but I enjoyed the pacing and humour of this one all the same.
In fact, the whole story flowed really nicely. I loved the world and couldn’t wait to dive back in and keep reading. The plot was interesting and I was hooked on Kellen’s storyline, especially in such a harsh society such as the Jan’Tep. I also thoroughly enjoyed the concept of magic being ignited in metal bands on one’s body; it was different and worked really well. The Shadowblack was also an interesting idea- I do like seeing angst and pain with a character so I’m excited to see how this all pans out in the rest of the series! 🙂
All the characters were unique and worked really well together, but I especially loved Kellen. I mean he is a typical cocky 15-year old boy and a bit of an idiot, yet combined with his intelligence and cunning I actually really enjoyed his personality 🙂 His thoughts and actions definitely left me grinning throughout this book. Also- I swear he gets beaten up in every scene?! Poor baby. Always struggling to find some elusive magic and earn his place in the world. I loved his journey and can’t wait to read more about him in the rest of the series.
The one character that pissed me off was Shalla. I get that things are tough for her in society, but she was so silly and ignorant of everything, including her brother’s feelings! I feel like a lot of things could have been avoided if she simply decided not to get involved.
All in all I flipping loved this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the magical struggles in the society, combined with the witty humour and Kellen’s cunning intelligence. I think my only personal critique is that the writing has been toned down a bit too much for the YA market. It feels overly ‘clean’ to read- but honestly this is just for my own personal preference (and I know I’m no longer the YA target audience so you can ignore me haha!). But overall I really can’t sing this book’s praises enough. ❤ ❤
One trait of De Castell’s work is that everything gets wrapped up nicely in each book so, although this is part of a series, everything reaches a fitting conclusion and you don’t end a book feeling a bit short-changed. I loved it, and I will definitely be continuing with book 2 🙂
Have you read Spellslinger? What about the rest of the series so far? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!