A would-be mage with no magic of his own has to defeat powerful enemies with only cunning and deception in the first book of an exciting adventure fantasy series from Sebastien de Castell.
Kellen is moments away from facing his first duel and proving his worth as a spellcaster. There's just one problem: his magic is fading.
Facing exile unless he can pass the mage trials, Kellen is willing to risk everything - even his own life - in search of a way to restore his magic. But when the enigmatic Ferius Parfax arrives in town, she challenges him to take a different path.
One of the elusive Argosi, Ferius is a traveller who lives by her wits and the cards she carries. Daring, unpredictable, and wielding magic Kellen has never seen before, she may be his only hope.
The first novel in a compelling six-book series, bursting with tricks, humor, and a whole new way to look at magic.
For more from Sebastien de Castell, check out:
The Greatcoats Quartet
About the Author
Sebastien de Castell is the author of the acclaimed swashbuckling fantasy series, The Greatcoats and the Carnegie Medal-nominated Spellslinger. His debut novel, Traitor's Blade, was shortlisted for both the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fantasy and the Gemmell Morningstar Award, the Prix Imaginales for Best Foreign Work, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He spends his time writing, travelling, and going on adventures. Visit him at www.decastell.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
ENJOYABLE READ This book reflects the excellent characterization, humor and imagination found in de Castell’s Greatcoat series. The protagonist, Kellen is a member of a powerful family of the Jan’ Tep people. The Jan’ Tep people are made up of two classes – those that can employ magic which is based in part from the power to be found in their habitat and those that cannot (the Sha’ Tep). The Sha’ Tep that cannot “spark” one or more of six bands of magic become servants that are little better than slaves. Kellen is desperately trying to avoid that fate against hostile members of the Jan Tep jealous of his family as well as from his own family. Some reviewers indicated this book might be intended for a younger audience as Kellen is young (sixteen years old) and associated with an exotic pet. However, Reichis, the ferocious, cynical squirrel cat, adds to the appeal of the story as did Monster, the sentient, mighty and fierce horse in the Greatcoat series. The youth of Kellen is off-set by Ferius Parfax, a worldly apparent Argosi gypsy, who becomes his protector and mentor.
Ahoy there me mateys! The crew has been readin’ and reviewin’ this series like crazy. I have been meaning to check out both it and the author’s work for a while. So when I couldn’t think of what to read, I thought I would use samples to find me next book. I picked a sample of this as me first choice and liked it so much that I immediately bought it and read it. This story follows Kellen, a young man whose magic hasn’t manifested yet. But his 16 birthday is fast approaching and he must find a way to spark his magic or join the servant caste. So when Kellen tries to win his first of four duels with a con, he sets in motion a mess that changes the very understanding of his society and his place in it. I loved the magic system. I adored the traveler, Ferius Parfax (isn’t that a great name?). I loved the snarky “demons.” I liked many of the crazy plot twists. While I don’t think this book has a ton of reread potential, this was an outright fun read. And I will be picking up more of the series. Arrr!
Kellen is on the threshold of perhaps the most important milestone in the life of a young Jan'Tep. A few days from his 16th Birthday he is due to start his Mage Trials; once through this rite of passage he will receive his Mage name and begin more formal Mage training. There's only one problem and it is rather a large problem - Kellen doesn't really have any magic to speak of. He knows that failing these tests he will let down the whole of the Ke clan and will become a virtual slave as part of the Sha'Tep. Just as things start to get interesting at the first Mage Trial Ferius Parfax seemingly appears from nowhere. Is she a Draoman Spy? Maybe she is an Argosi. Nobody seems able to decide but the Lord Magi definitely don't trust her. Spellslinger is full of rich characters and right form the outset we know so much about the characters of Panahsi, Tennat, Shalla and Nephania and can juxtapose them very easily against Kellen. With a few broad strokes the author has conjured up a living, breathing fantasy world that it is so easy to fall full length in to it. Although I would say this is really more for a teen audience I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed this descent into the glorious fantasy realm created by Sebastian De Castell. This is clearly the pre-cursor to a series of novels and I am hopeful that we will learn more about the other nations inhabiting this realm just as we have learnt so much about the Jan'Tep and the Sha'Tep. Away from the fantasy story there are clear parables being told about family life, societal pressures and the revisionist nature of history. These could prove great ways of opening up dialogue for younger readers or simply just let them enjoy a rip-roaring read. If you are aged outside the target demographic but love fantasy tales then this is a great book so please don't dismiss it because you feel you are too old.