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.
Richly crafted and laced with wry humor and intriguing magic, Knightmare Arcanist is a fast page-turner…
In this first installment in Frith Chronicles series, Shami Stovall tells the story of Gravedigger Volke Savan who has seen just one dream: to be an arcanist—an individual capable of wielding magic, and leave his gravedigger’s life behind. Volke faces a multitude of hurdles and beats tremendous odds to bond with the mystical knightmare—a creature made of shadow and terror, and realizes his lifelong dream of becoming an arcanist. He can wield magic now, and he gets to train near Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma, his idol: the legendary magical swashbuckler. But knightmare has doubts about Ruma. Someone is spreading corrupted magic and killing thousands on the island nation, including mythical phoenixes, and knightmare suspects Ruma. To save lives, Volke has no other option than to confront Ruma. But he is mere trainee and Ruma is the master arcanist. Will Volke emerge triumphant? Knightmare Arcanist has an impressive premise, a solid plot, and great action. Stovall’s characterization shines as she takes a layered approach with her demonstrative portraits of Volke, other teens, and the mythical creatures. Volke with his doubts and sheer will instantly makes readers fall in love with him. Illia is likeable with her bravery and a wry punch of humor despite her insecurities about her looks. It’s heartening to see Zaxis with all his haughtiness possessing a heart at the end of the day. Nicholin is too cute with his fluffy, pompous talk, and the recluse Luthair is an absolute darling. The protagonists are in their late teens, but don’t let that put you off. The book will appeal to readers of all ages. The dialogue is razor sharp with a tinge of wry humor (Lyell’s exchange with Volke and Illia). The narrative shows Stovall’s convincing flair for creating engrossing content (the episode of Lyell getting into trouble with the white hart). A bit of background for Master Zelfree would have been nicer although by the end, the reader realizes Zelfree’s reason for turning to drinking. This swift and humorous adventure will leave readers eager to see the heroes grow into their considerable powers and make them wait anxiously for the next installment. A novel that is sure to enhance Stovall’s reputation as a solid author. Highly recommended to fantasy fans.