Rebecka 's Reviews > Charmcaster

Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2018-reading-challenge, rebecka-recommends

Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell is the third book in his Spellslinger series of young adult fantasy novels. As such, this review will likely contain spoilers for the previous two books, Spellslinger, and Shadowblack. As with these, Charmcaster follows Kellen, a Jan’Tep spellslinger, cast out by his people, with a price on his head. It is narrated in first person, entirely from his perspective. As such, we get to learn how he sees the world, himself, and the people he cares about.

Charmcaster begins approximately six months after Shadowblack concluded. Kellen is seventeen now, a traitor to his people, and has been on the run for a year. He has spent the last six months, along with Ferius, the wise yet impulsive Argosi wanderer, and Reichis, the foul-mouthed and sticky-pawed squirrel cat, tracking down all those made victims of the onyx worms in the previous novel, and attempting to help them. Only one remains on his list. It is this, as well as the desires of a familiar ally, and the concerning discordance card slipped to Ferius, that brings the group to Gitabria, a nation of inventors and explorers. Here, Kellen once again learns that there are always secrets and betrayals to uncover, and even a peace-loving people can be dangerous. Kellen’s purpose becomes even more complicated, as he is forced to once again question who and what he is, and where his path with take him. This notion of paths, and of a person’s place in the world, is brought up a great deal throughout the story, and is an engaging theme, as it is one that everyone, at some point (or multiple points) in their lives, ponders.

Charmcaster is an excellent entry into the series. I feel that it is on par with, or maybe even better than, Spellslinger. The plot is strong, and the character dynamics realistic and multifaceted. In Charmcaster, Kellen, Ferius, and Reichis are all more familiar with each other, and how they work separately and together, which is enjoyable to witness, and the reason I think I enjoyed it slightly more than Spellslinger. On the subject of characters, I am happy to see some of Ferius’s backstory coming to light, and I am hopeful that we will get to see more of this in the future (Ferius is my favourite, so I can’t help but feel a little biased toward her). I also believe that Charmcaster was a more solid entry than Shadowblack for these reasons.

We learned more about the world in this novel, discovering it alongside Kellen, as we are inside his head the whole time. He is quite naïve and new to the world, especially compared to his mentor, Ferius. The book would be a very different experience if we were to follow along with her, and as much as she is my favourite, I feel like this series benefits from Kellen’s naivety and inexperience; I feel like we get to grow alongside him. Sometimes, being that I’m older and hopefully wiser than him, I did come to accurate conclusions about several reveals before Kellen did. I don’t feel that was a problem however, and rather than feeling frustrated that I was correct in my conclusions, I felt a certain amount of satisfaction.

I will definitely be continuing this series (in fact, I am anxiously awaiting the next entry… as soon as any announcements are made, I will be preordering it for my Kindle). I have also moved the first novel in de Castell’s adult fantasy series, Greatcoats, into my ‘needs-to-sort-out-her-priorities’ shelf (essentially, the shelf of books I want to read in the immediate future). His writing style, engaging and infused with humour (though perhaps the Greatcoats will have a different tone- I’m sure I’ll still love it), suits me perfectly. His character dialogue is natural and believable, and his world building is sprinkled in without feeling overwhelming yet is still present enough for me to have a grasp on the surroundings of the characters. Unrelated to the book itself, I love the way de Castell set up his acknowledgements at the end of Charmcaster. It was interesting to read through some of the development of the novel, and heartwarming to see how much he appreciates all the people involved. I am good at separating the artist from the art, but in this case, I will gladly keep them together.

If you are a fan of young adult, fantasy, and magic, then I would absolutely recommend this book, and this series. If you aren’t a fan of first person perspectives, or younger narrators, then you may find it irksome, but I would still recommend giving a sample a read or borrowing it from a library. You never know if it will be the exception to the rule.

I gave Charmcaster a 5/5. Stylistically, structurally, and enjoyment wise, I had a fantastic time with this book, and I already miss the characters and world (see you again soon Kellen, I hope).
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Reading Progress

December 30, 2017 – Shelved
December 30, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
June 1, 2018 – Started Reading
June 1, 2018 –
20.0% "I am loving this so far. Totally worth the wait. We are learning more about the world, along with Kellen. Reichis is as funny and adorable as ever (though don't tell him I said that). And Ferius is even more amazing, and I didn't think it were possible for her to out amazing herself. I wish I could keep reading tonight, but I really should try to get some sleep. Wow, this is longer than I thought it would be."
June 7, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-reading-challenge
June 7, 2018 – Shelved as: rebecka-recommends
June 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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