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Spellwright (The Spellwright Trilogy) Hardcover – March 2, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: The Spellwright Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317278
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Debut novelist Charlton creates a complex world in which magical abilities depend on the ability to handle words. Apprentice wizard Nicodemus Weal was once thought to be the prophesied Halcyon, but his inability to control spells sends him to the bottom of the pecking order. When murders and strange activities coincide with the Convocation at Starhaven, visiting wizards and druids begin to wonder whether Nicodemus might in fact be the anti-Halcyon. While the magic system is intriguing and carefully described, the setting is never fully realized, and Nicodemus's interactions with other teachers and students seem to take place in a world bereft of supporting characters. Charlton's baroque prose perfectly mirrors the central role of language and the byzantine politics surrounding the Convocation and the potential prophecy, and the innovative spell craft will please fantasy readers weary of more traditional magics. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Charlton’s first novel superbly tells the story of a young man searching for his place in the world. Would-be spellwright (i.e., wizard) Nicodemus Weal may be the only person able to prevent a magical apocalypse. Or maybe he’ll bring about the end of magic. He desperately wants to become a wizard but has a big problem: he’s a cacographer. In his world, magic can be written in many languages, but rather than on paper, spells are recorded in the casters’ muscles and released into reality with a flick of the wrist. For Nico, anything he touches is instantly misspelled, and when this happens with magical texts, the consequences can be deadly. From the very start, Charlton draws us into Nico’s world. The character is eminently believable, and his difficulty with spelling will strike a chord with many. Charlton’s unique take on how magic is cast will tickle magic fans despite, or because of, its bearing very little resemblance to magic à la Harry Potter. The title of the book is a play on words, of course, since Nico must learn to spell right to become a true spellwright. At story’s end, he is at last credibly preparing for what he believes is his destiny, leaving readers anxiously expecting the next batch of his adventures. --Rebecca Gerber

More About the Author

Debut novelist and medical student, Blake Charlton is a new face in both fields working to establish a dual career in fiction and medicine.

Currently, Blake is writing fantasy novels, science fiction short stories, and academic essays on medical education and biomedical ethics. Wander over to www.blakecharlton.com for a blog, free reads, and more.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this wonderful, innovative book and highly recommend it to others.
J. Lesley
Nicodemus is a sympathetic character, although I would have liked him to have a bit more depth.
The book felt overly long and dragged in many places, yet not really much happened.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Blake Charlton has done the extraordinary with Spellright. He has managed to use all the tired tropes of classic Epic Fantasy (magical books, dragons, a school for wizards, and a boy who didn't fulfill his destiny) and make them all feel fresh and engaging. Plus he does it with a main character, Nicodemus Weal, who you can't help but to root for.

The dragons, although they happen off screen, are quite inventive as are the various animated helpers that swarm the keeps and grounds of Starhaven, which is the school in question. Nicodemus is an apprentice spellwright also known as authors who suffers from a form of magical dyslexia known as Cacography, which is based off the authors own battles with it. Of course the story also involves prophecies about a special Wizard who could be a a great hope to the land or harbinger of the demons of the past who wish to control the world.

There are a few bumps in the road, but most are forgivable in the name of fun escapist Fantasy. The pacing was a little stop and go, especially in the first third. The magic systems while also the strongest and most original part of the book are initially a bit confusing, but about 100 pages in a much clearer explanation is given. This could have come a tad sooner, but it probably would have slowed down the pacing of the story if it had. Also, at one point the main villain comes off a a little too much like a bad Bond nemesis by over explaining himself and the plot, which was on the excessive side. More than one soliloquy happens like this. This problem may stem from the author trying not to drag things out. Lastly, the fight at the end of the story was worth waiting for, but the very last section felt a little tacked on and Eragon-like.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Makepeace Clan on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm one of those readers that doesn't want to feel as if I'm journeying through The Lord of Rings again, only with different costumes and names. These concerns left me when I began reading Spellwright. Blake Charlton has managed to write something new and original within the accepted framework of Epic Fantasy, and he does it flawlessly. I was enthralled with the magical world he created; its history, cultures, gods and demons. The intricacies of the different magical languages was like nothing I'd encountered before.

Not only is this novel filled with magic, action and adventure--but it leaves you second guessing every character's motives. I experienced several OMG! moments throughout the book. Nothing is fully revealed till the end! I did feel a pang of disappointment for the main character, Nicodemus, but I know his journey has only just begun, and now I can't wait to read more!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nicodemus Weal is a student at the magical academy of Starhaven, where students are taught how to use magical languages to forge spells of great power. However, his grasp of magic is uncertain due to his cacography, which corrupts his spellwriting and distorts sorcery. When a powerful magician is murdered, suspicion falls on Nico and his mentor, Agwu Shannon, a former radical. As the authorities continue to question Nico and Shannon's loyalties, they in turn learn of a threat stalking the corridors of Starhaven...

Spellwright by Blake Charlton is the opening volume in a trilogy which is based heavily around the use of magic. Many fantasy novels use spellbooks and sorcerers muttering incantations in mystical tongues, but few go deep into the languages and techniques used. Here it is a central theme of the novel and Charlton's use of cacography (a real term, referring to deliberate misspelling for comic effect) as a sort of magical dyslexia is inspired. Certainly this magic system, with its use of spelling and English Lit. terms to describe how it works, is the book's greatest triumph. I can certainly picture Brandon Sanderson reading this book and thinking, "Damn! I should have thought of that!"

Elsewhere, the book is more of a mixed bag. At its heart the book is an attempt to subvert standard fantasy tropes about prophecies and chosen ones, with the introduction of counter-prophecies and some musings on the reliability of prophecies in the first place. None of this is particularly new, but some of the ideas are well-presented and followed up on.

The book's biggest problems focus on pacing and characterisation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brett on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Spellwright", the first novel by Blake Charlton, is a fun and often inventive read that will remind many extensive fantasy readers of writers such as Brandon Sanderson and Raymond Feist. Charlton combines a unique magical system with an interesting cast of characters to create a story that, while sometimes afflicted with "new writer" issues (like some troubles with pacing), is still an entertaining addition to the fantasy genre.

Charlton sets his novel in a fictional world where words have power, and spellwrights (the wizards of this world) can use magical languages to change their environment and even imbue inanimate matter with life and thought. In the world, he sets his main character, Nicodemus, a boy once thought to be a prophesied savior until it was discovered that he is plagued by a condition familiar to Charlton and one that is utterly devastating for magic based on the written languages - dyslexia (called "cacography" in the novel). However, there is more than meets the eye regarding his condition, and as other forces converge on his home (the academy of Starhaven), Nicodemus uncovers truths about himself and the rest of the world that will change his life and that of others forever.

As mentioned above, this is Charlton's first novel, and it shows at times. The beginning of the book has some issues with pacing and structure - chapters end a little awkwardly, the characterization varies a bit in quality, events don't entirely seem to flow. It's not bad, but it is noticeable. That said, the book noticeably improves in quality as you continue reading it, until by the end of the book the prose and characters are a match for more established fantasy writers like Brandon Sanderson (who shares a similar style of prose in his "Mistborn" trilogy).
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