Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: The Novice

The Novice by Taran Matharu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wattpad loves Taran Matharu, and for good reason - he can take so many elements that seem like they may have just been cobbled together from other, older fantasy works and make them seem a hell of a lot more fun. This book, like I've said before with the prequel, is pretty much an Epic Mashup of Everything. Cases in point:

* Lord of the Rings (elves and dwarves and orcs, oh my!)
* Deltora Quest (minus the dystopian, evil Shadow-Lord-type dictator elements)
* Pokemon (but without the "Gotta Catch 'Em All!" aspect)
* How To Train Your Dragon (especially in the form of Fletcher's demon, Ignatius, which I somehow misidentified as Sliver at first, but let's not go there - the Demonology section describing Salamanders as having "no teeth to speak of" really helps)
* Divergent (with the intense Tournament, even though that's concentrated on the back third or so of the book as opposed to the middle)
* Red Queen (the commoner discovering something in common, as it were, with the snobbish upper classes - but genderswapped compared to Victoria Aveyard's book)

And yes, the sum of all these parts is a very great one. But then, just as the book starts coming to an end, you've gotta wonder - is there room for everything to go bad?

Answer: yes. The very last page is especially diabolical in its "Oh my God, they did not-!" cliffhanging. My general reaction upon seeing that page went from this:

To this:

And finally, to these:

Now we're all forced to wait a whole year for book 2, huh?

*sigh* Oh well. Hopefully by then my local library will be smart enough to order these books, and I won't have to special-order them from Berkeley or Sacramento or Marin County or whatever. And when the time comes for Book 2...

In the meantime, I may need a little more of a break from reality.

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