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.
Knightmare Arcanist is the first book in The Frith Chronicles, a fast-paced, magical YA fantasy series. The first book follows Volke Savan, who dreams of nothing more than becoming an arcanist, which requires bonding with a magical, mythical creature, just like his hero, Gregory Ruma. Yet the problem with having a hero is that they’re not always the person you paint a picture of in your own head, a lesson Volke learns the hard way.
Worldbuilding is hands down one of my favourite aspects of a fantasy book. Tell me everything about the world. Shami Stovall did not disappoint! Straight away the book opens strong with an insight into the world that hooked me right in. However, worldbuilding can be let down by the quality of the writing. Except that was not the case here. I was thoroughly impressed with the writing. The worldbuilding and writing combined together makes a winning combination.
When it comes to the characters there is someone for everyone. Volke is intense. He knows what he wants and is determined to succeed, no matter the cost. He’s impulsive, as demonstrated in the beginning. Yet, while these can be seen as weaknesses, they’re also his strengths. His sister, Illia, is brave and badass. Two of my favourites were Luthair and Nicholin, both of who injected plenty of sarcasm and humour into this story. However, I did find the characters fell into stereotypes and I would have liked to have seen a little more development.
YA fantasy can often fall victim to predictable plots and uninspiring characters. While Knightmare Arcanist was predictable in places, it makes up for it with fantastic worldbuiding, compelling writing, and interesting and entertaining characters that leave you wanting more. I’ve always said that even predictable books can be thoroughly enjoyable to read and Knightmare Arcanist is no exception to that.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced, full of action, magical fantasy to sink your teeth into, especially if you’re not traditionally a fantasy reader, then this is a book for you.
Thank you to Dave at The Write Reads for organising this blog tour and providing me with a free copy of the book. All opinions are my own.