Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.
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.
A fast-paced fantasy with magical creatures for those who enjoy the Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera series) by Jim Butcher, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.
Knightmare Arcanist is such a fun read, full of mystical beasts and cool magical powers. Once you start reading, you won’t want to stop, and luckily there are three more books in the series currently, so you don’t have to anytime soon.
What I Loved
Volke, the main character, is deliciously flawed but inherently good. I can’t wait to see how he grows into being a hero. There is so much complexity to him. He is intricately developed with layers that are interwoven into the fabric of his being – I can see him going down dark and dangerous paths with the uncertainty of how he will come out on the other side. His support characters offer themselves as reflective foils to his many dimensions, and I love each one of them for all of their quirks and self-doubts.
The magic in this story makes me happy with the wonder of it all, like a kid seeing fireworks for the first time. Arcanists are magic wielders, and their magic comes from the mystical beasts they bond with. There are so many mystical creatures in one place – that too delights my heart and expands my mind with all of the subtle details that I learned about each one. From Phoenix to Hydras to Leviathans to the ones that are new to me – knightmares, mimics, and rizzles. They are all so fun and so amazingly detailed.
There is also a mystery that needs to be solved, and this adds suspense and the need to get to the end. I always love a good mystery, and this story does not disappoint. I cannot say anymore for fear of giving away a spoiler, but I can say that it makes the pages turn fast and furious.
The world creation is sublime and elaborately detailed. The Firth Guild manor is my absolute favorite! It’s a turtle that looks like an island and moves them from place to place (I want to put it in all caps; it is so cool). This story only covers a little geographical area, but I look forward to seeing more of this mystical, enjoyable, and island-filled world in other books.
To Read or Not to Read
It is an engrossing and captivating YA Fantasy, so it would be a shame to miss out experiencing this world that Stovall has created.
About the Author
Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.
If you want to contact her, you can do so at the following locations:
Awards and Praise for Knightmare Arcanist
WINNER of the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Fantasy
WINNER of the New Apple Literary Award for Fantasy
Coffee Pot Book Club’s Pick for 2020 Reading
“Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall was rollicking good fun! Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.” – Seattle Book Review
“Volke carries readers into a darkly engrossing world with a passion that makes Knightmare Arcanist satisfyingly unique and hard to put down. Readers looking for a magic-based quest fantasy will find this story compelling and nicely written, with strong characters propelling action which is often unexpected and revealing.” – Midwest Book Review
“A spellbinding first installment of what promises to be an addictive series, Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.” – ManyBooks
“Richly crafted and laced with wry humor and intriguing magic, Knightmare Arcanist is a page-turner.” – The Prairies Book Review