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Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1)
Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1)
Shami Stovall | 2019 | Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)
10.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall
Knightmare Arcanist is the first book in the Frith Chronicles, and not only will it have you engrossed from the first sentence, but it will definitely leave you wanting more. This is described as Flintlock Fantasy, and I think that is perfect.

Ms. Stovall starts with the world-building immediately, as our two main characters are both apprentice grave-diggers. You find out just what this entails, and how it affects their 'standing' with the community. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about their world, and the capabilities; what was normal, and what was not.

The pacing is sharp and completely on-point, with no 'spare' moments. The storyline is enthralling and smooth. The characters are all fantastic, and I certainly hope to see more of them, as they grow into their powers and become more confident as people.

With corrupt white harts, magical ferrets, and a school on the back of a giant turtle, this held my attention all the way through. A fantastical read that I highly recommend. Absolutely brilliant.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

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Ross (1570 KP) rated Smoke and Summons in Books

Mar 18, 2019 (Updated Mar 18, 2019)  
Smoke and Summons
Smoke and Summons
Charlie N. Holmberg | 2019 | Science Fiction/Fantasy
8.0 (3 Ratings)
Book Rating
Flintlock Tangled
It took me a while to realise, but this book is basically a re-telling of Tangled, the Rapunzel Disney film.
We have the young girl with magical powers who is held prisoner (though she has been trained to appreciate her captor's benevolence) by someone wanting to benefit from her powers. She meets a ne'er-do-well thief looking for that one last score before he can move and settle down. They travel together trying to find somewhere safe for her to go but are tracked down at all stops, until finally the male protagonist is persuaded to hand her in and reap the rewards, before the inevitable emotional rescue.
Rather than magical healing hair, however, Sandis has the ability to act as a vessel to demons, and is linked to a specific one (a fire horse). Her captor, Kazen, uses her abilities to bolster his gangster crew and lead the city's underworld. Upon sensing Kazen's desire to summon a more powerful demon (which is likely to kill her) she escapes and becomes embroiled with Rone, a young thief.
Together they try to track down a family member Sandis has become aware of, who may be able to help save her.
The story flows quite well, with enough strength in the main characters to engage the reader. Their travails, and Kazen's crew's neverending chase, are enjoyable and thrilling.
The narrative is good, swapping between Sandis' and Rone's perspectives and telling of their increasing tiredness and running out of options. At times, the author's American tone slips in (words like "Mom", "they were a ways from their lodgings" etc), which would normally be fine, I'm not that big of a snob, but it really comes at odds with the majority of the narrative and does stand out.
The setting is more early industrial revolution than more medieval, so there is the use of firearms to spice up the action.
A few times, events become a little hard to accept - quite how quickly and persistently Kazen's goons catch up with them, and how easily Rone manages to accomplish his rescue seem quite hard to believe.
Overall, the story is good and while the format of "lets go here, oh they've somehow found us again" becomes a little tiring, the book is short enough for this not to be too much of an issue.