Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell
Please note: This review does not contain spoilers for Charmcaster. However, it will contain spoilers for the first two books in the Spellslinger series, so if you haven’t read them yet, don’t continue reading unless you want spoilers.
From Goodreads: ‘I was getting almost as good at running away from enemies as I was at making them in the first place. Turns out, I wasn’t running nearly fast enough.’
Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster . . .
Thanks Hot Key Books for sending me a FC [Finished Copy] of this book to read and review 😀
I haven’t yet found another YA series quite like the Spellslinger series. It’s a very sarcastic and witty series of books, and the characters are always doing something hilarious or charging into danger. So I was very excited when Charmcaster arrived in the post. It is absolutely, positively stuffed to the seams with action and it seems as though there are enemies on all sides at this point. It was very entertaining to read, with so many things going on and so many intricate twists and turns in the storyline. Each book in this series usually takes me several days to get through, simply because it is so action packed that I sometimes feel a bit worn out. If you’re like me, and a fight scene or big plot twist in a book just as you’re about to try and go to sleep is apt to keep you up at night, then it might not be the best book for you to pick up late at night. Still. there’s so much going on that it is really hard to put it down, even for a moment. And those twists towards the end… man, those just weren’t fair. I’m still reeling a bit to be honest.
The worldbuilding was also a big draw for me. Charmcaster extends the magical world de Castell has created, showing us some tasty glimpses of new cities, cultures and societies. What works really well is how the magic system and traditions are woven in so excellently. Each new area we arrive at looks so different, that it is a genuine pleasure to explore them.
If there’s anything that holds the book back from gaining full stars, it is the magic system. As much as I like the creativity which gleams through in every line of this book, I do sometimes struggle to understand or picture the magic in this series. There’s a lot of magical jargon, and because there seems to be lots of different types of magic and fake magics, then it seems a bit impossible to keep up with at times.
Overall, I’m giving Charmcaster an 8/10. It’s a very funny and thrilling book, and there’s a whole heaping extra portion of action packed into this one, but the magic did make me feel a bit flummoxed at times. Still, I’m very excited at the prospect of book four coming out later this year.