Review: ‘The Novice’ by Taran Matharu

I received this book for free from author review pitch in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘The Novice’ by Taran MatharuThe Novice by Taran Matharu
Series: Summoner #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on May 5th, 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: author review pitch
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

About Taran Matharu

Taran was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for reading at a very early age. His love for stories developed into a desire to create his own during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.

Thanks to and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.

After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.

Chapters/IndigoThe Book DepositoryAmazon CanadaGood Reads


I loved the beginning where we see how Fletcher lives and how he came to be. It gave me a sense of where he was coming from and what point in his life we’re about to take part in. The writing is excellently detailed especially when Taran describes a setting and scene. It felt like I was dropped into that world. Even though this is a young adult novel, I thought the setting and the experiences were more targeted towards a middle grade audience. He talks more like a twelve year old child than a teenager.

Tons of similarities to the Lord of the Rings, Golden Compass, Ender’s Game, and Pokemon, The Novice isn’t bringing anything new to the fantasy genre. I was hoping for a whole new world world filled with new creatures and races, but it felt too similar to other books I have read. Orcs, dwarves, elves, humans? Sound familiar? Also the Demon companionship was too similar to the Daemons in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The writing is good, but it’s also weakened by the modern dialogue and the lack of a central story.

I kept trying to wonder what the plot was..Was it Fletcher trying to prove himself to his adoptive father? Was it him beating the school bullies? Was it winning the tournaments? I liked it, but I had trouble getting into it and promptly stopped reading to pick up another book in the meantime. It doesn’t have that stickiness quality that other fantasy books bring. When you’re wanting to know what happens next and you definitely don’t want to stop reading but you have to because it’s so late into the night. This didn’t have it. I couldn’t remember how many times I stopped reading it so I extended my reading duration by a week when I can usually finish a book within two days or so. Maybe it had something to do with the tiny tiny font size?
What is the setting supposed to be? They have guns, but are also living in a renaissance like world? I didn’t understand it. Was it a modern setting or was it something earlier? There were too many holes and not enough story to fill it in.

Overall, I think this is a good start, but I needed something to keep me glued to the pages and the biggest thing that was lacking was a major story-line. Hopefully things will be answered in the next book if I’m still interested in it, I might still pick it up.


It is their will that I take life. If this is what they will, I can’t challenge it. (17)
People don’t forget what it is to be loved. (76)
Is it treason to fall in love with me? (188)
I’ve learned that being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. (311)

reading progress






  1. Natalie @ Browsing Bookshelves

    June 28, 2015 at 1:22 PM

    Darn! I was really excited about this one! I think I’ll still read it but I’ll go in with some lower expectations in mind.
    Natalie @ Browsing Bookshelves recently posted…Review: Finding AudreyMy Profile

  2. Carina Olsen

    June 24, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Yesss. I adore your review Giselle. <3 Thank you for sharing about this book 🙂 And hah, it was a two star for me too 😀 Though I regret not giving it a one star, ugh. I also had so many issues with it. Couldn't stand how much it was like all those other books :p Just so annoying, lol 🙂 But you are awesome for managing to finish it. <3 I will not be reading the sequel. Have traded away my print ARC of it already, lol, so it is far away from me now ;p Stunning review sweetie. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #193My Profile

  3. Linda

    June 22, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    This has a catching cover! I’m a sucker for fantasy and I’ll definitely be adding this to my TBR list. First books in a series tend to have that weak plot and characters to it, but maybe when you read the next book it’ll get better 🙂 Great review as always and I look forward to reading more from your blog soon! Happy reading!
    Linda recently posted…Want To Hunt For Free Ebooks???My Profile

    • giselle

      June 23, 2015 at 10:17 PM

      I hope you’re right Linda! It really has good bones to a wonderful story. I love the cover too. Hope you enjoy it more than I did

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