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With a Single Spell (Ethshar, #2)
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With a Single Spell

(Ethshar #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,841 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Tobas had been lucky to find a wizard to take him on as apprentice. But then the wizard died suddenly and unexpectedly after teaching Tobas only a solitary spell, and the youth was too old to find a new master. How could he earn a living when all the magic he could do was light fires?
ebook, 206 pages
Published September 19th 2013 by Wildside Press (first published 1987)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,841 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Classic fantasy is the best label for this book. Young, apprentice wizard is forced to leave his home to discover his destiny, not to mention some more spells since one fire spell won't a career make. Along the way, he stumbles from one misadventure to another until finally being drawn into a quest to slay a dragon, so he can marry a princess and become wealthy beyond his dreams. However, the quest doesn't go exactly as intended, and more misadventures occur until finally our young wizard and a ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
I discovered Lawrence Watt-Evans when i picked up the The Misenchanted Sword. I read it fairly close to the time it was published and I didn't realise that there was to be a whole series of stories set in the same world.

As the time 'The Misenchanted Sword' was one of the most original, funny (without being a parody) and interesting fantasy novels i had read. That is probably becuase at the time i was reading lots of epic fantasy series which were Tolkein inspired so this was a real palete cleans
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is one the Magic of Ethshar series of books. I recorded most of them, including this one, in 50-55 minute installments for my local Golden Hours radio service for blind or reading-impaired listeners. I also made CD copies for myself.

This one of the more lighthearted entries in the series, and I'm looking forward to the sequel The Spriggan Mirror; especially as the mischeiveous spriggan's appear in several other books in the series.

My favorite book in the series is The Missenchanted Sword, c
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a unique and creative take on a classic fantasy genre! I don't know if the book was supposed to be humorous, but I was constantly entertained by the misfortunate life experiences of this one wizard! ...more
Stefan Yates
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
While not quite as good as The Misenchanted Sword, With a Single Spell is still a well-written entertaining novel. Set in the same world, Ethshar, as the Misenchanted Sword, this tale takes the reader on an adventure with a young wizard-in-training whose master dies after he has only learned one spell. Considered too old for another wizard to concern themselves with taking him on as an apprentice, Tobas must figure out what to do with his life and his one spell. At least that spell is a fairly u ...more
Bridgina Molloy
This was another one of my dads books, an oldie, but surprisingly ok one. The plot was ok in so much that it held my attention and I didn't want to throw it out the window which says a lot. ...more
John Loyd
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a Single Spell (1987) 194 pages by Lawrence Watt-Evans

Tobas was lazy, he hadn't trained for anything when his father died and took all his wealth with him to the bottom of the sea. An old wizard took pity on him and started took him on as an apprentice, but died having only imparted one spell to him. He had nothing, no family, no prospects, and too old to apprentice for anything else. He left the pirate town, Telven, and needed to get far enough away where his accent wouldn't prejudice peop
Scott Shjefte
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ethshar is an amazing place with many interesting people whose character is investigated by a talented author.
Neal Kristopher
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviews Of Unusual Size

Re: Tobas the wizard's apprentice knows one spell. He can light fires. That was all he learned before his master died, he accidentally blew up the house he lived in and he found himself wandering Ethshar. Without many options left, he joins up with a band headed to the Small Kingdoms to slay a dragon. If successful, he stands to gain a fat purse and a princess as his bride. Tobas is a clever young fellow, witty and fairly brave, but he's pretty unlucky. In the depths of th
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it took a while to really get into this (it seemed like Tobas was wandering all over the place for a long time), it finally got off the ground when the dragon showed up. The rest is delightful. I was really glad that Tobas didn't go the whole book with just a single spell and that his bad luck didn't last. After all, continued bad luck is just something one has if one is not willing to learn from one's mistakes. Another word for it might be experience, the hard way. Tobas does learn and ...more
Kyo Young
More interesting than I expected it to be, but I found the ending to be very unsatisfying. It seemed to cut off at what would otherwise have been the most interesting part. Also, the author has a tendency to indulge in over-description of the setting - if you even halved the amount of description in each sentence, the book would be less than a third as long as it is. There's more description than plot. It kept me busy for a few hours, but I doubt I'd pick up anything else in this series. ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Ethshar novel, this one about a wizard's apprentice whose master dies after teaching him only one spell. Unable to find another master, he sets off on a princess-saving/dragon slaying mission and discovers that one spell plus ingenuity can get you somewhere. Never quite what you expect. ...more
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite fantasy books.
Danii Goldstein
A good simple yarn that kept me entertained the whole time. If you're looking for a good summer fantasy read that doesn't demand too much brainpower, this is a great place to start. ...more
Though beyond the age most would consider acceptable, Tobas manages to convice the local wizard to take him on as his apprentice. But after teaching him only one spell the wizard goes and dies on him. And to make matters worse, after the funeral Tobas attempts to open the wizards spell book only to find it booby trapped against prying eyes. The book explodes in a blast of fire, burning down the only home Tobas had. Now what? His village doesn’t want him. He has nowhere to live. He only knows a s ...more
Allen McDonnell
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
True Ethshar at its best!

Though this is only the second of the currently 14 Ethshar novels it remans one of my most loved. Young Tobas gives little thought to his future expecting to inherit his fathers wealth some day, that s until his father is killed when he is 15, two full years past the age of becoming an apprentice in almost every trade. In desperation he convinces the village wizard to take him on despite being too old by lying about his age. Unfortunately the elderly wizard only has time
Brian Rogers
As with my review of the first Ethshar novel, these are stories of young men striving tooth and claw to live ordinary, boring lives in a fantasy world that has lots of places for people to do just that, but our protagonists have to have some unusual things happen to them first.

This second volume is a little more cynical than the first (and I supposed I should have mentioned that lack of faith in humanity as being part of Watt-Evans' Mundane Fantasy tales), and not quite as pleasant, but it does
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'With a Single Spell' was maybe the third ever Lawrence Watt-Evans novel I have read. As a teenager, I read his excellent Misenchanted Sword (when everything was fresh and exciting to me) and maybe 20 years later The Cyborg And The Sorcerer, also pretty decent.

So to this one. As with my previous experience of his writing, it is uncomplicated and easily read. This doesn't mean bad, just that you can read it quickly enough. Some aspects of it I found pedestrian, some of it was extremely clever - t
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
Tobas starts off at a low point of his life - and wanders around, hoping to get a better position. He felt like a joe everyman down on his luck - the only thing promising for him being his ability with one spell as a wizard.

This is the second book in a series of standalone novels, and is set 200+ years after the first book. This book touches on the lack of a safety net available to Tobas - not that he complains about it.

I left feeling that Tobas was just lucky - although his level head did seem
Sean Helms
3 and a half stars really.
Follows the mishap adventures of a mostly down-on-his-luck apprentice wizard who had been taught only a single spell before his master up and died on him. Without a clue, Tobas set out on a mission to earn his fortune with the least effort possible.
I remember reading this one when still in high school; it was worth the reread, though it did lose something since I'm far from the teenager I once was!
George Shirer
A decent read. The main character, Tobas, is kind of unlikeable, but the more you read of his adventures, the more you come to empathize with him. I still can't say that I liked him by the end of the book, but I didn't actively dislike him either.
Altogether, I thought 'With a Single Spell' was an okay read. Not stellar. Just okay.
Nicolas Knight
Oct 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's not the writing which was good.
It's not the premise which... was....
Oh wait. it was the premise.


Jim Butcher school of writing once more.
Not so much a story as a laundry list of how to piss on a guys karma loosely stringed into a more or less (less) cohesive story.

Give it a wide berth.
Quinn Wolfert
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am in love with the World of Ethshar. I am also looking forward to a cameo in future books of Tobas of Telven.

Honestly, I did not like Tobas in the beginning. I love how he became a character I rooted for by the end. The book is playful, witty, and unpredictable. On to book 3!
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever played Dungeons & Dragons or like that kind of fantasy, this is a fun little book. I would say the ending is a bit too neat, but hey. Whatever the opposite of grimdark is, this is kind of it.
Plot: fun
Characters: likeable
Style: nice
Setting: interesting
Kevin Barnes
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed. Funny and yet was not a comedy. What a world to live in, off to see it with only one spell. If at first if he did not have bad luck he would not have had any luck at all. Look forward to the next dip into this world of Esthshar.
François Carrière
There is always a bit of room for improvement. The ending of this story could have easily began another?
Dale Douglas
Honestly, I found it kind of boring. The part I liked the best was opening a jar.
Kelsey M
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice one and done adventure.
Rebecca (Medusa's Rock Garden)
Super easy to read and quick to get through. It's good, light, fun reading, nothing too serious, nothing world shattering, nice small scale fantasy with a touch of humour thrown in, and a bit of obligatory romance of course. Not quite as good as The Misenchanted Sword, but still pretty great. Perfect palate cleanser or reading slump preventer. ...more
Vitaliy Hristyuk
Good and warm

I like Etshar books. In modern grimdark world they're so warm and nice... No, I don't mean it is all easy for heroes in them... But still.
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Also publishes as Nathan Archer ...more

Other books in the series

Ethshar (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Misenchanted Sword (Ethshar, #1)
  • The Unwilling Warlord (Ethshar, #3)
  • The Blood of a Dragon (Ethshar, #4)
  • Taking Flight (Ethshar, #5)
  • The Spell of the Black Dagger (Ethshar, #6)
  • Night of Madness (Ethshar, #7)
  • Ithanalin's Restoration (Ethshar, #8)
  • The Spriggan Mirror (Ethshar, #9)
  • The Vondish Ambassador (Ethshar, #10)
  • The Unwelcome Warlock (Ethshar, #11)

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