Title: Knightmare Arcanist
Author: Shami Stovall
Year of Publication: 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Number of Pages: 338
Summary: From Goodreads: “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.”
Review: Thank you, Dave, at The Write Reads for organizing and inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this book!
Volke Savan has spent his entire life working towards becoming an arcanist, someone who can use magic and is bonded with a mystical creature. He’s spent years studying everything he could get his hands on so he can one day be like his hero, Gregory Ruma, the person his island is named after. Since tradition says that Volke can’t become an arcanist the usual way, he and his adopted sister Illia go looking for rumoured mystical creatures in the endless mire. Illia bonds with a Rizzel named Nicholin and Volke bonds with a Knightmare named Luthair. Unfortunately, just when Volke thinks he’s on the path to becoming like his hero, Luthair informs him that Ruma is the man who killed his first arcanist and that Ruma is a murderer. What follows is an amazing adventure full of magic, friendship, and tough decisions.
My favourite thing about this book was all of the mystical creatures. I loved reading about all of their powers and learning new things about them. I loved Nicholin, the Rizzel, and his sass and confidence made me laugh a few times while I was reading. I think phoenixes are majestic in general, and I absolutely loved reading about them in this book. I was fascinated by Luthair, the Knightmare, and I loved how multidimensional he was. I thought Luthair’s powers were super unique, and I can’t wait to see Volke become more powerful as the series goes on. I also liked the other mystical creatures mentioned in this book, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series so that I can learn more about them.
I was also a big fan of the characters in this book. Volke was a bit impulsive, but his heart was in the right place. I loved how determined he was, even though almost the entire island didn’t want him to succeed. I thought Illia balanced Volke out well, and I loved their sibling relationship. I liked that they supported each other, and even though they had their disagreements, they always stuck by each other’s side. I wasn’t a huge fan of Zaxis and Atty (the two new phoenix arcanists from Ruma) at the beginning, but I ended up liking them a lot once everyone started to work together.
I found the story itself to be intriguing, and once I got into it, I had a hard time putting the book down. I liked that you really didn’t know who the bad guy was until almost the very end of the book because the two likely culprits kept on doing suspicious things. I liked the training sequences, and I felt joy when the arcanists started to get better with their magic. I loved watching all of the arcanists slowly start to become friends with each other, and I loved it when they all started to work together to figure out what was going on, even though they were clearly all in over their heads.
Overall, I thought this book was fantastic. If you like mystical creatures, magical, or stories that take place on the high seas, this is the book for you. The characters are great, and the story will have you hooked. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this series because there’s so much potential for character development and world-building, and I want to know what happens next!
Rating: 4.5 Stars!