Spellslinger, Sebastien de Castell Book Review

(What’s this? Judith reviewing a series in the right order? This cannot be? Pinch me I’m dreaming! Ouch!)

Hello Humans, no you haven’t misread I am actually about to review two books from the same series in the correct order! I got approved to review Shadowblack on Netgalley and I thought it would be a good idea to buy my own copy of Spellslinger so I could appreciate the sequel properly. So what did I think of it?

Goodreads Summary:

Magic is a con game.

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…

A welcome change from YA tropes Kellen is a main character who doesn’t have special powers! And another male main character who isn’t (always) a massive pain. I actually think the ‘failure’ element of Kellen’s character is what endeared him to me. There’s something very relatable about feeling like you can’t do the things that everyone around you is doing. In my case it’s rarely magic (rarely) but I appreciate the sentiment and I think a lot of other people could.

This book is written for the characters. Surely. It must have been. We’ve got the amazing Ferius who I will definitely be adding to my posse of ‘fictional female characters I want to be friends with but would probably actually be a little scared of in real life’ and then there is Reichis who is the most amazingly irreverent familiar (sorry, business partner) a character could ask for. The dialogue throughout this book is sharp, snappy and oftentimes filled with humour. It’s that element of humour that, for me, drove this book and made it super readable.

That being said, this book does have a well thought out and well-rounded plot. The author has said he likes writing books that, though they may be part of a series, are finished in themselves and that shows. I appreciate that in a book, as someone who often reads series out of order.

If this book is so good why did I only give it four stars? Literally one thing. Pointless romance. I’m sorry. I love romance, you know I do but when it’s barely in the book apart from a little bit of mooning over a girl and then a couple of pages near the end it just isn’t worth having and the plot would have been virtually identical without it. It does a disservice to the female characters you do have as it reduces one of them to a sexy lamp and nobody wants to have a sexy lamp.

But besides that element this is a great book and, if you haven’t got round to it yet, you should definitely check it out.

My rating: 4/5 stars

All opinions are my own.

What say you? Are you equally averse to pointless romance? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow for part 2 of this review!


6 thoughts on “Spellslinger, Sebastien de Castell Book Review

Add yours

  1. I really enjoyed Spellslinger – and while I’m normally really irritated by romance in general, the crush didn’t bother me at all. Kellen is a hormonal teenager, it seemed about right that he’d be obsessing about this girl and not sure if she liked him – I guess I was just happy that it was obvious this wouldn’t be a big focus in book 2 🙂

    …but let’s revisit this chat when you’ve read Shadowblack. I had far more thoughts about romance by that point 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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