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Spellwright (The Spellwright Trilogy) Hardcover – March 2, 2010
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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.)
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*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
Top customer reviews
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A new and refreshing, if confusing, magic system
Spellwright isn't set in a world where there are wizards who wield vast amounts of arcane magic like many other fantasy epics of the past and present. The ability to write words and have them be transformed into power is one that I think everyone finds exciting - if only we had that ability. I praise Mr. Charlton for how inventive he was with his magic system, because it truly was refreshing. There were times, however, that I felt like I needed an English degree to understand some of the ways that the Spellwrights wielded their magic, but by the end of the book I understood nearly everything, so at least it is explained.
A hero you can't help but root for
Nicodemus Weal is someone who's at the center of all of our hearts: he's an underdog who's had to go through a lot in life and has been pushed around and frowned upon by his peers and teachers because of his disability. His mentor, Agwu Shannon, has helped him along throughout his life, but he still has a hard time because of his disability. He longs for the chance to be more than what he is now, and he will do nearly anything to get it.
Prophecies and legends galore
Normally, when I pick up a book and hear the word `prophecy', I immediately put it down. They're overdone, overused and far too typical for fantasy epics. However, I decided to give Spellwright a shot because of the magic system, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that while yes, there is a prophecy (multiple prophecies, in fact), it doesn't play a huge role in this book until later on, which is something that I enjoyed. The prophecy itself is rather confusing, and I had to re-read the passage twice to figure out what exactly was going on, but when I figured it out it was rather breathtaking.
I also enjoy the fact that there are many Gods in this book. It seems like they existed as an afterthought, which again is something that I enjoy. They don't play a huge rule, but they are important, which is what I think a God should be - not directly involved in someone's life but they can play a very active role if you let them.
A lack of minor characters
This is only a small issue, but it is big enough for me to bring up. There were almost no minor characters in Spellwright, which was a bit of an issue for me. What I thought was originally going to be a minor character comes to play a huge part in the end of the book, and the other possible minor character has such an insignificant role that I can't even really call her a minor character. In future installments I'm really hoping that there will be an influx of characters, because they're sorely needed.
Why you should read this book?
This book has a new and interesting magic system, which is the biggest draw for me. The main character is likable, as are the other characters who get a point of view. The plot is interesting, although incredibly intricate and detailed, and it's going to need a lot of fleshing out in the sequels. If you're looking for a fresh, new type of fantasy epic, then this is a book for you to read. No English degree required.
If you are looking for a new voice in fantasy, give this a try.
- a fellow cacographer
Most recent customer reviews
- extremely fun magic system.Read more
But great for you get readers.
Have you ever wondered what the consequences are when you misspell your texts? It can be a whole lot worse.Read more