Guest Post: The Summoner Series so Far by Hayden Smith (My husband!)

The Novice ‘When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through gruelling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while 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 Inquisition ‘A year has passed since the Tournament. Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt’s dungeons, but now they must face a trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher’s downfall. The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher’s origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen’.

The Battlemage ‘One boy's ability to summon demons will change the fate of an empire ... The epic conclusion to the fantasy trilogy described as 'Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets Pokémon'. After the thrilling cliff-hanger at the end of book two, we re-join Fletcher and his friends in the ether, where they must undertake a mortally dangerous quest, all the while avoiding capture by enemies and facing foes more terrifying than anything they have yet encountered. But this is nothing compared to what truly lies ahead for Fletcher, as his nemesis, albino orc Khan, is on a mission to destroy Hominum and everything and everyone that Fletcher loves’.

Let me start with a small warning, if you’re anything like me and saw this advertised as Pokémon/Digimon/Lord of the Rings, believe the hype. That is exactly what this series is like, and quite frankly, they are incredible.

I can admit that I hadn’t heard of these books until YALC 2016, where me and Zoe saw the author (Taran Matharu, awesome guy) as part of a panel on magical systems within their books. Taran really sold the books to me and I bought the first two then and there. Flash forwards a day and I had read the first one and immediately gone and got them both signed by Taran. He was lovely and we had a small chat about our favourite game, which just made me love his books even more.

Every book in this series is brilliant. The first book in the series enters you into a fantasy that you will quickly grow to love. From the races featured in it, the magical system, the demons you encounter and the mythology behind these creatures, and the different cultures and races of characters, it all sells itself to me and fans of fantasy completely. There is also a strong commentary on racial issues within these books, with both the elves and dwarfs both being treated as beneath the humans within the series. I think it was a stroke of genius by Taran to include these themes, they not only make the book exciting, but also encourage all young readers not to behave in the way that many of the villainous characters in the books do, without being too in your face and topical about it.

Each book gets better than the previous as well. I read the first one as soon as I bought it, then the second book straight after that, then had the painful wait of a year for the third book. The third book however was most certainly worth the wait, there is no denying that. And now there is a fourth book to wait for, frustrating. I’m trying to write this review without ruining anything, so I’m trying not to get to excited and spoil parts for anyone that hasn’t read it. But I can assure you, there is so many moments to be excited, happy and sad about.

When I first started reading the series, it felt a lot like the Inheritance cycle and those books. However, as you read more of the book and series, you quickly realise that these books are far beyond the Eragon books and their story. There are so many more twists, so many more likeable characters and creatures, so many more engaging themes.

These books are certainly YA books, I feel that they could be read and enjoyed by anyone from about 10 and above. I struggle to think of anyone that wouldn’t enjoy them and not want to fan girl/boy about them. Taran has done an incredible job of creating a fantasy world that anyone could enjoy, but also making it different enough to still feel exciting and not like you are walking down the same well-trodden fantasy path. This series is definitely a 5/5 for me and I think should certainly be considered an important book series in the fantasy YA genre.

If anyone wants to hear from Taran, he has actually written an article for the 24 Hour Readathon, so head over and read it.

BIO: This is my gorgeous husband Hayden, who offered to write something for my readathon and I'm so bloody happy that he's a part of something so special to me.

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