Thanks to Netgalley and Hachette Children’s Group for giving me this book to review.
When Fletcher, a blacksmith’s apprentice, discovers that he has the ability to summon demons he has to flee from the only home he has known and travel to the Adapt Military Academy, after his demon attacks another boy. When he gets there he meets lots of new people and races. He has a gruelling training to become a battle mage and fight in the war, but he has to catch up with the children from the noble houses. As Fletcher finds himself in the middle of powerful forces with only his demon, Ignatius, that he is able to fully rely on. With the fate of an empire in his hands, Fletcher has to decide where his loyalty lies.
The Novice is an enjoyable YA or younger fantasy novel which deals with big issues such as racism and elitism. I found it was a slow read (however, this could be because I had a cold while reading it) and a bit predictable. I would have liked to have seen more of Fletcher’s training, as we did not read much about it in the book.
Fletcher is loyal, ingenious and looks out for his friends, and I am glad he was not written as though he is the chosen one and is not good at everything. Ignatius is a very sweet demon, and I felt the demons in this book reminded me of the His Dark Material’s Daemons. Two of Fletcher’s friends are Othello, who is friendly and want to change dwarf rights, and Sylva, an elf who I feel has lot more to give in the next book.
I liked this book and I look forward to reading the next book, The Inquisition. I would recommend The Novice to fans of Harry Potter and The Iron Trial.