Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall – A Review

Hi! It’s time for another The Write Reads tour review. Dave has been spoiling us with great books lately and this one was no different. Let’s just get into it.

Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall
  • Publication date: June 18th 2019
  • Publisher: Capital Station Books
  • Genre: Fantasy

Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.

I think the whole gang reached a consensus with this book – we all seemed to really enjoy it and it’s a rare sight. I haven’t heard of this series until Dave announced the tour and as a fantasy reader, I’m surprised why more people don’t talk about it, because it ticks all the boxes.

It took me no time to get into the story. Knightmare Arcanist doesn’t waste any time to introduce you to the world and plot – it throws you right in. Volke is hell bent on becoming an arcanist and making a name for himself. It’s not easy growing up on an island where your heritage is everything, and coming from a family of thieves and murderers. Being apprenticed by the gravedigger he’s not allowed to compete in order to bond with a phoenix, but he finds a way to bond with a mythical creature and becoming an arcanist anyway.

I really liked Volke as a main character. He was an interesting protagonist and narrator, and I really liked his determination. Actually, thinking about it, I didn’t hate any of the characters. Granted, I didn’t think all of them were fleshed out to the point I’d like them to be, but they were fun to follow, especially for the purpose of seeing different mythical creatures and the magic they could perform with them.

I think Knightmare Arcanist fits the younger end of YA and in many of those cases the author struggles to find the tone for the story, or takes heavy inspiration from other books. Stovall managed to make this one stand out in a line up. I found the story to be fast paced and engaging and the world rich and developed, without info dumpy paragraphs. It was a fresh story and it’s what made it so enjoyable for me. It’s not the shortest, yet if not this dreadful reading slump, I’d see myself reading it all in one sitting and that says something.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed thoroughly was Stovall’s writing. She managed to paint the world clearly with her words without using language that’s too flowery – seeing as the story is told from Volke’s point of view. I love a healthy balance between descriptive writing full of imagery and Tolkien’s 3 page long descriptions of grass, and I think Stovall managed it very well.

I am looking forward to continuing with the series as it pleasantly surprised me. If you like magical fantasies and mythical creatures, you should definitely give it a go.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you all for reading. Make sure to check out the hashtags and follow @ TheWriteReads on Twitter to find all the other fantastic reviewers taking part in this tour. I’ll talk to you all soon!

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