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(Spellwright #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  4,176 ratings  ·  455 reviews
Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text... but he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation.

Yet he has always felt that he is destined
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,176 ratings  ·  455 reviews

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Robin Hobb
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What if magic demands absolute accuracy in how your spell out the spells? What if the wizard is dyslexic? An absolutely brilliant debut novel!
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
5 Stars

I just finished this amazing book and need a bit of time to digest all that I took in. This was one of those rare gems that slowed me down to take my time and read each and every word.

Sure this book plays out a coming of age story that has been done so many times before, but it found a way to be fresh, to be literate. It is really funny that a book that is called Spellwright, is about a young man that misspells, yet it is written in a way that makes everything about the books' words seem
Ben Babcock
This could be the poster-child for a book that needs more editing. Spellwright is equal parts complex yet confounding, intriguing yet boring. It simultaneously stokes that fire for fantasy that first launched me into writing my own stories waaay back when I was a wee pre-teen, reminding me of those halcyon days of lying crosswise in an armchair, reading the Belgariad or chunky 600-page Recluce hardbacks, not a care in the world because there was no school and I didn’t have a job. Ahhhh, youth. F ...more
The Captain
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! So this book is a bit of a conundrum. Ye see I normally write me reviews immediately after finishing a tome. I like to put me thoughts in me log right away as it helps me process what I read. And yet this novel was read months ago and I am still struggling with pinning this one down. Me rule be to review every book I read so I figured come hell or high water, today be the day.

The Good:

- extremely fun magic system. magic spells are written out in luminous text using parts of
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I wrote a nice pithy review of this... in my head last night, right before I went to sleep. I might have had a dose (or two!) of Dayquil in me, and we all know how a little of the good stuff enhances creativity!

Sadly, the entire review stayed in Dreamland, so you're stuck with the usual not-entirely-relevant kind.

This book was good. I liked it.

Just kidding. That's not my real review. GOTCHA! {--- might still be the Dayquil. Apologies.

Spellwright got off to a bit of a slow start for me. The fi
A dyslexic student struggles with linguistic magic. Nice idea, huh? Main protagonist Nicodemus is haunted by nightmares, finds the source of his disability, wins the cure and looses it again - all of that in the area of his magic school.

It is very unusual for me to pick up a novel classified as Young Adult. It may sound a bit arrogant, but I'm not in the mood to endure the typical tropes around those novels any more - immaturity, predictable plots, and simple characters. Two reasons motivated me
Jonathan Terrington
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
It's very rarely now that an original fantasy novel arrives and this is what Spellwright is. It's an incredibly original story focusing on a world where all magery is controlled by the casting of runes and language. Throughout the story the magical power of language is explored and the idea that various forms of magical languages exist proved fascinating. I hope the sequel proves as interesting as the debut in this series because if it does it will prove a worthwhile read. And while I lack the t ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
I tried so hard to like this one. Charlton has built a unique world on the back of novel magic system, and by the time I got to the end I was actually ready to dive into the next one. However, a host of mundane problems with the pacing made it a bit of a slog for me.

Spellwright introduces Nicodemus Weal, a student in a far-flung magical academy called Starhaven. The arcane runes studied at Starhaven are not just the means to casting spells; they are the spells, themselves. Magical words are pain
Ok, Blake? Don't read this review. You're not supposed to be reading reviews on your stuff anyhow or something. I read that in a Book For People Who Want To Grow Up To Be Writers so...just don't do it.

Alrighty! Here's some backstory (this is going to be a long-ass review so if you're reading for any reason other than boredom, you'd be better off finding another 4-star review)
I had no idea who this Blake Charlton character was prior to June, 2012. He was at our big, ol' library conference, on a p
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upon finding Spellbound in the university second-hand bookstore, I knew I needed in on the Spellwright series. Unfortunately, book one was not to be found meaning I could not pick up the series there and then. Never fear, however, I was pulled in enough by the notion of the series that it didn’t take long for books one and two to be sitting at my bedside.

A magical world based upon words. A dyslexic protagonist. What’s not to love? Of course, I was going to be pulled in.

As soon as I could, I star
Jacob Proffitt
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Nicodemus is dyslexic, a real problem when wielding magic requires meticulous spelling (at least, in most of the spell traditions). Besides this one limitation, however, he's also quite capable and really pretty powerful.

Here's the thing: I had a hard time putting this book down. You really feel for Nico and his friends and the threat to their home. There's intrigue and betrayal and trying to chart a moral path amidst impossible choices. All good stuff. So the story was excellent and it would ha
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed with this book. The premise had great potential - I always look forward to books that branch out to new ways of handling magic. However, it seemed to me like the author did not fully consider how his magic system would work. It alternated between being just another version of old role-playing style spell casting and being almost an analog to coding (ala Wizard's Bane).

The plot line was interesting, and the world intriguing, but the characters were never fully fleshed out
This one was moderately enjoyable but not enough to convince me to read the sequel.

It's an intriguing idea but it moved a little slow for me, and from what I recall it all came together kind of haphazardly at the end all at once.

Okay characters but no one particularly memorable.

An average kind of fantasy read. Not total rubbish, but not enough to hook me into the series, either.
Cris Pender
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Finally a book written a dyslexic person for dyslexic people with a dyslexic hero.

Spellwright is an amazing book about overcoming the hero's disability and struggling to accept and fight against a world that thinks he is destined for only one thing.

Yet Nicodemus Weal stands above the rest and fights convention just like the author of Spellwright...
Dec 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Sometimes when I’m having a more daydreamy day than normal, I imagine that I can fling my magic at someone who frustrates me like water out of a squirt gun. In Charlton’s debut novel, you really can fling magic at your enemies.

In the fantasy-appropriately named academy of Starhaven, great wizards conduct magical research, and apprentice wizards train in the magical languages. Wizards trained in magical languages can forge spells in their arm muscles and propel them out into the world to serve th
Ashley Schroeder
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really liked this book. Lame, Fourth-Grade-Book-Report opening, I know, but I really DID like it. I think I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did because a lot of it was derivative (as most fantasy tends to be in some way, like I have said in the past). This whole Magical Institution of Higher Learning thing is getting kind of old to me. And Nicodemus? Really? COME ON, that is an old rat from NIMH and sounds like a name the guy from Gentlemen Broncos would've made up. Plus, the plot s ...more
Ryan Burt
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
1) Rating - 4 out of 5 stars. I was going to give it a 3 and 1/2 but then the author actually twittered me when I said I was reading his book. That’s worth a half of star right?

2) Genre - Fantasy

3) Synopsis - Spells are cast using words. What happens if you can't spell? There is no way you can be the child of prophesy right?

4) Feelings - I heard about this book and it sounded interesting. The author suffered from severe dyslexia and this book seems to be a fantasy version of that scenario. My pr
Sandra (I don't read, I devour.)
You remember those books you read as a kid that truly excited you, made your imagination fly and made you believe that anything, no matter how unlikely was possible? This book is like that. I got this on a loan from a friend... AKA my library lol. Not only is this an astoundingly good first novel, it's the first one in a long time that makes me feel better about the human race in general. The imagery of this book is absolutely beautiful. Imagine taking words OFF the page as glowing glyphs and us ...more
Mary Robinette Kowal
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a strong opening to a new fantasy series which takes the power of language literally. One of the things I most enjoyed was how complete the worldbuilding is and the many different cultures that populate the novel. Nicodemus is a deeply sympathetic character whose cacography (think of dyslexia but with magical ramifications) not only keeps him from being able to cast spells but also makes it difficult for him to even handle magical artifacts. Too often a character is given a disability wh ...more
Mar 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sff, arc
People talking talking talking about their magic involving words words words that are cast by talking talking talking which requires more talking talking talking and explaining As You Know Bob-style every exhaustive aspect of wordified magic ever to the people who don't know, a surprisingly high number of people among this supposedly wizardly bunch. This requires more talking talking talking. By the time the Big Bad gets around to gloating about the evil plan by explaining it in detail, I was al ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books
This is an excerpt, for the full review please visit my blog, A Dribble of Ink:

It’s obvious from the very early pages of Spellwright that Blake Charlton is a child of late-eighties and early-ninties Fantasy. It’s full of dastardly villains, righteous youths and hidden destinies. Like contemporaries Brandon Sanderson and Peter V. Brett, Charlton is doing his damnedest to bring back the type of fantasy where the good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad (barring a few genuinely surprising twist
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I completely enjoyed this book! usually, when the author is setting up the new universe and getting things rolling, the momentum takes a while to pick up... To say this was untrue for this work would be a euphemism. I got completely bowled over by the premise... and the nouns are completely fantastic - as is the language and vocabulary. Maybe I found the sudden dynamism of Nicodemus' character toward the end a bit abrupt - but that would be asking for perfection :) I totally loved this book and ...more

Sometimes a book's title says it all. Spellwright. Spell means to write in order the letters constituting a word. It also means a verbal formula considered as having magical force. Spell in these two cases is considered a homonym because they share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings. Wright or write or right or rite all mean something different but sound the same. They're called homophones. A wright is a person that co
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a fascinating but difficult book to read. The magic in this world is generated by words and spells that are generated in the muscles of humans and exist in the world much as computer programs do in ours. It is a difficult concept to grasp, at least for me. The idea is that words change the world around them. If you are up for a venture into a very different world, this is the book for you.
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy
Probably I should not be so frank, but the first thing that caught my attention in the description of “Spellwright” (besides the cover art – majestic!) prior to actually reading it was, quite unexpectedly, the author’s biography. It is a rare feat to successfully combine writing fantasy fiction with the demanding life of a medical student (seriously, how does Blake Charlton manage?), and even more so to overcome dyslexia.

In fact, it should not be surprising that the main character himself suffe
Alejandro Mariñez
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wao, this book has utterly surpassed my expectations. I'd give it a 4 stars review, but the tackle on language and magic took me by surprise. 4 years this book was on my reading list. Glad I finally picked it up. I'd have to thank Robin Hobb whose review pushed me to finally read it.
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys YA fantasy
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: Cara Powers
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

An epic young adult fantasy with a modern and creative twist. A humorous and mildly scary hero’s journey, this book is perfect for smart youngsters from tween-age into ancient adulthood.

About: In a fantastical world where spells are created from magical languages, the main character Nicodermis is a trainee in the skills needed to create these spells. He believes himself to be an insignificant part of a bigger picture. There is a big problem with his sp
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I wish Goodreads had half stars, I would give the book 3 stars.

I wanted to love it but I couldn’t quite get there. I understand that it’s the author’s first novel, as well as being the first in a trilogy. The book got better as it went along so maybe the following books will be better. I did like this one well enough to know that I’m going to find the next one and read it.

Nicodemus Weal is a student at the magical academy of Starhaven, where students are taught how to use magical languages to
Jo Anne B
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I couldn't believe that this was the author's first novel when I read the afterword. His biography is a phenomenal success story. Having overcome dyslexia and to graduate summa cum laude from Yale is fabulous. Now he is a third-year medical student teaching creative writing to medical students? Nico, is that you? I didn't even know there was a class like this in med school. It seems like Blake Charlton is living his fantasy.

The magic in this book was one of the most creative that I have ever rea
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Blake Charlton is novelist, physician, scientist, and proud dyslexic. He is currently a clinical fellow in interventional cardiology at the University of California San Francisco.

His science fiction short stories have appeared in the Seeds of Change and the Unfettered anthologies. Blake's three novels Spellwright, Spellbound, and Spellbreaker are published by Tor Books in the US and Harper Voyager

Other books in the series

Spellwright (3 books)
  • Spellbound (Spellwright, #2)
  • Spellbreaker (Spellwright, #3)