My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Published: July 17th, 2018
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, War Setting
Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…
You know how you often read about these characters that have incredible powers offered to them on a silver platter so that they can save the world and become the heroes and heroines not only of their own stories, but of everyone else’s as well?
That’s not Kellen.
He’s no hero. In a world where magic is praised and valued more than anything else, this kiddo really doesn’t fit in, especially considering how his father, mother and sister can wield magic like it’s nobody’s business… and he can’t.
If Kellen doesn’t find a way to successfully complete the four trials, he’s never going to become a mage… and will end up a servant instead, bound to serve his own family members until his hair falls off.
You know, I’m a tiny bit annoyed right now. While this is written wonderfully and has a strong main character, the summary gives the impression that Ferius, the mysterious female traveler he meets, will become his sidekick or mentor or anything extremely important to the story.
And that’s not exactly the case. She does help – in the beginning – but her character is overshadowed by another character’s appearance, Reichis’, who, by the way, has yet to win my heart.
But since Kellen is ever-present and a really entertaining fellow, I just couldn’t not enjoy this story, even if I had tried – and why would I do that? He finds ways of laughing at himself to dismiss depressing thoughts, and he’s quite the clever bastard at times. I was rooting for him the whole time, and still am.
The world-building requires some more tinkering, and the book itself a glossary for the particular vocabulary the author decided to use and the names of the multiple characters I sometimes found myself struggling to place in the story.
I’m not sure that this series requires six books, but I’m curious to see where the author takes things and I have a feeling I will grow so attached to Kellen along the way that I won’t want to leave him.
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