The online sensation, The Novice, has already reached the dizzy heights of 6 million reads so far. The story, a project that was started during the National Novel Writing Month, was shared on the website Wattpad. This in turn has also become a massive success in it's own right with over 35 million subscribers. If you ever get chance to take a look, you can find some fantastic stories on the site, which currently has more than 75 million stories.
I'll start this review by first mentioning the book cover, I really love it! It gives a good reflection to the story inside and makes you want to pick it up and read it. It's brilliantly done by Malgorzata Gruszka and the Hodder Team and really stands out on the physical hardback copy.
After the frantic sales rights this book has received, is it worth a read? In my opinion, most definitely. My expectations were high and I believe that this is a great platform to a great series. I really enjoyed every page of this epic action fantasy. Stories like this give me hope for the future in finding a new voice in a genre that's become a little subdued at the moment. The first three or so chapters of the book are slow going, due to a lot of world and character building which is needed, as it sets up a good plot. After that the book has wings as you fly through a dramatic escapade of adventure, magic and brutal mayhem.
This style of writing reminded me of some of my favourite authors, a blend between Jonathan Stroud's amazing ability to bring good characters to life and Trudi Canavan's fantastic fantasy vision. This book infuses these strengths to make a memorable and creative bubble. It's a journey of hope, violence and humble beginnings as the reader follows the main character Fletcher.
Fletcher is put through gruelling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully whilst 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.
The characters are well written although somewhat stereotypical of this genre. Nevertheless, they are very engaging as you follow them on a stark journey of class and race division. Underpinning this are the themes of the importance of friendship, loyalty and overcoming adversity. I loved this aspect.
The story contains many clever plotlines that will keep you immersed. The fantastical action battle scenes are all delivered in a film-like quality. The ending is very impressive and leaves you on an inquisitive cliffhanger; it will make you yearn for the next book. A great solid young adult fantasy which is a classic example of this genre.
Published by Hodder Children's Books out 5th May 2015.