My dear readers, this is probably the most excited I’ve been about a book in a long time.
I feel like a lot of books I read leave me feeling okay. I’m usually not too upset by them but I’m usually not jumping off the walls in excitement.
Knightmare Arcanist is the exception to that.
It took me no time at all to get through it, and I almost immediately bought the rest of the series, but managed to control myself…for now!.
Title: Knightmare Archanist
Author: Shami Stovall
Buy it here
Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.
Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.
So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.
In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.
A Nice Take on Magic
Magic systems are an important part to telling a story. There are ways to explore a magic system while exploring the world at the same time, but too often an author does it wrong.
They rush in their storytelling and they get caught in one aspect or the other, forgetting to properly develop them at the same time.
Stovall finds a great balance for Knightmare Arcanist. We follow a young character just as they are exploring magic for the first times. As the story develops, so too does our character’s understanding of how magic works.
Stovall’s magic system is a nice change to the normal magic systems I read about. Usually the magic system is along the lines of controlling an element or using their willpower to do something amazing.
We see that in Knightmare Arcanist, but we get a new way of exploring that world.
Instead of just being automatically able to control your genre of magic, it is completely reliant on the type of magical creature you bond with.
It puts a limiter on each character, but allows them to explore themselves on a deeper level.
It adds some well-written character development as the story goes on, which was a lot more than I was expecting for a fast-paced YA novel.
Fun and Fast
I often find myself disappointed with YA novels. They’re too carefree and things happen too quickly.
Characters are too quick to trust, too quick to act, too quick to do. There is never any pause to the story. There’s never any time for the characters to have a moment of doubt.
This is why I can’t give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Though I loved so many aspects of it, it was too fast paced in a few aspects. Some characters were too quick to trust someone, and immediately my mind wandered to imagining what would happen to them if they trusted blindly.
This wasn’t the case for every character, but some key moments were built on an absolute trust that could very easily have caused them to be betrayed.
A Movie Series in the Making?
This might be me being too much of a fan of this book, but I could honestly see this series as a book series or TV show.
I think Stovall does a great job of not only keeping the story focused on one central plot, but also keeping the world open and vague enough that we know we are only scratching the surface.
I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but trust me I will soon. Thinking back on all the other YA series I have read, this one has been the most enjoyable. It has great character development, which is too often a rare feature in YA, a great magic system, and a cast of characters that remind me of being a kid again.
Knightmare Arcanist is an absolute blast to read. It’s short, fast-paced, and is a fantastic pre-cursor to a world I can’t wait to explore more.
I’m not a big YA reader, but I enjoy it now and then. Sometimes it is just a nice break from reading heavy fantasy books all the time.
Knightmare Arcanist is just scratching the surface of Stovall’s world, and I think that the more you continue with this series, the more engrossed in the world you will become.
It is definitely worth the read, and honestly I would be disappointed if you didn’t want to read it.