Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall was rollicking good fun! It’s Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series for YA readers. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for. I’ve read a few of her other works, and she’s great at adjusting genres!
We follow Volke, an orphan on the Isle of Ruma, who wants nothing more than to be an Arcanist. Though prohibited from formally participating in the isle’s Phoenix Trials to bond with a phoenix, Volke crashes the ceremony. Waiting for the right moment, he jumps into the trial area, a place from where he cannot be turned away from participating. It doesn’t go well (imagine that), and he is rejected. Then he and his sister travel to the Endless Mire, where Ilia has heard that a ship carrying unbonded creatures has crashed. That doesn’t go well either, but the pair each end up bonded — Illia to the rizzel Nicholin, and Volke to the knightmare Luthair.
But there’s more to Luithair than anyone realizes. Volke is not his first partner. Second-bonded eldrin have already conformed to their first Arcanist, and it is difficult for a new Arcanist to harness their magic. As a price for bonding with Volke, Luthair insists that they eventually seek out the rogue Arcanist who killed his last partner. Illia and Volke travel with the two new Phoenix arcanists to Fortuna, where they are accepted into the Frith Guild. Soon, the guild is off to fight pirates, and investigate reports of the magical plague that corrupts mystical beings. Things get crazy when the rogue Arcanist shows up. Is Volke ready to keep his promise?
I fell right into this story! Volke is determined to become an Arcanist, and he won’t let anything get in his way. He’s young and impulsive, but that was a good counter-balance with his sister Ilia. She tends to be the thinker, good at planning. I like that Zaxis and Atty, the two new Phoenix Arcanists didn’t remain antagonists. I really disliked Zaxis in the beginning, but liked him by the end. I think there’s a lot in his history that shaped him to be gruff and prickly. His family is quite overbearing.
Speaking of mystical creatures, these guys were awesome! Besides well-known beasties, like Phoenixes and dragons, there are unusual beings, like an Atlas Turtle, pixies, and leviathan, and more unusual critters, too, such as an ethereal whelk, a rizzel, and a knightmare. Magic in this world is granted through the bond with a mystical being, which are then called eldrin. Arcanists’ magic are attuned to that of the eldrin, so Phoenix arcanists can heal and manipulate fire. Leviathan arcanists control wind and water.
This was such a fun read! Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the /Homas Wildus series and the Harry Potter series.
|Capital Station Books
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|Science Fiction & Fantasy