Knightmare Arcanist was a joy to read, and went by as fast as any of the novels I’ve read over these last few months.
Shami Stovall has created a readable and endearing world in the setting of her Frith Chronicles, full of magic and mystical beasts, but also countless dangers. …Okay, I can only come up with two right now, but they’re pretty pirates and the plague.
At least one of those is topical to the current clime, I say.
Volke has been disliked all his life, for crimes committed by the parents he hardly knew. A gravekeeper’s apprentice, and with only his adopted sister Illia and their foster father William for company, Volke has dreamed of becoming someone important, someone with the power to help folks and show the world he is better than his parents. Despite plenty of difficulties early on, Volke shows he possesses the heart of a true hero. That, or a really kickass best friend/foster sister in the face of the aforementioned Illia, who is such a great, fun character–and she’s far from the only one. The whole cast was exemplary, and I quite enjoyed following their individual relationships with Volke shift and change.
It’s not much of a spoiler to say that Volke succeeds in finding a magical beast to bond with; the book isn’t called Knightmare Gravekeeper, awesome as that title is. Volke and his sister, as well as a pair of other young arcanists from the same island as our ex-gravediggers all join in the guild of Volke’s childhood hero, Gregory Ruma.
More than anything, this book reminded me of an anime, an old favourite of mine by the name of Fairy Tail. What called that comparison to mind are the guilds full of
magicians arcanists who go out adventuring into the world.
My single issue is, the climax is a little too fast, a little too neat. Considering the danger Volke and his fellow arcanist apprentices face, I would’ve hoped for a slightly longer action scene–which is not to say the one we got wasn’t entertaining.
A few threads are left very much left open and to be resolved in the sequel — a few budding relationships, a few hints at romance, the future of all six of our promising arcanists. I might be annoyed in another novel, but any sequel baiting Knightmare Arcanist engages in is wholly successful. I want to read on — I’m eager to, in fact!