Can’t Wait Wednesday : Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3) by Sebastien de Castell

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is a real woohoo moment.  I’m loving this series and No.3 is on the horizon : Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3) by Sebastien de Castell:

charmcThe third book in the page-turning SPELLSLINGER fantasy series.

‘I was getting almost as good at running away from enemies as I was at making them in the first place. Turns out, I wasn’t running nearly fast enough.’

Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster . . .

Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.

Due out March – time for you all to read the first two if you haven’t already.

Shadowblack (Spellslinger #2) by Sebastien de Castell

 

spellslinger2Shadowblack is the second instalment in Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger series.  I’m loving this series, it’s fun, it seems to have an independent storyline running through each book (well, so far anyway) and yet still brings in snippets from the previous story, it’s populated with great characters who, even though I had no trouble in liking them in the first book, have grown on me even more now and it’s just basically a book that makes you feel good when you’ve finished reading.  So, if you want to feel good, then what you waiting for?  Go, pick this up.  I’d say that this can be read as a standalone but personally I would suggest reading the first one – that way you’ll have twice the fun to look forward to.

Shadowblack seems to start a few months after Spellslinger concluded.  Kellen, Ferius and Reichis seem to have spent their time mooching about the Seven Sands trying to stay one step ahead of bounty hunters.  Being an outlaw isn’t all it’s cracked up to be after all and Kellen misses his home, his family and more than that the young girl who he was sweet on from school.  He manages to put Nephenia out of his mind however once he and his motley crew meet up with another Argosi female and her charge – Seneira.  Seneira wears a blindfold but it doesn’t take long before Kellen uncovers that this is simply a bluff to hide the black marks that he also carries and keeps hidden.  It seems that Seneira is similarly marked by the Shadowblack and Kellen and his companions undertake to try and help her – a job that soon turns into something much bigger once they reach Seneira’s home town and find this seems to be a plague that is affecting more than just one.  Is the Shadowblack spreading??

So, we once again have the same trio of characters and spending more time with them helps to tease out more about each of their whims and foibles.  Information about Ferius in particular is a lot more forthcoming in this instalment as the inclusion of another Argosi character seems to bring out some of her background.  Rosie is a really good addition, although she didn’t stick around for the entire story.  She’s feisty and I just loved the way she handled herself when in a tight spot.  It was good reading the two of them bounce off each other and argue the toss – it seems that being Argosi doesn’t mean you all follow the same path.  I’m so curious about the Argosi and want to learn more. Kellen finds himself once again becoming a little bit smitten – the boy is literally a walking hormone, and it was quite funny to watch his attempts at blending in with other people his age and attempting to talk to females.  The flying squirrel cat Reichis, remains a muttering, chattering force of nature who’s developed a love of hot baths and butter biscuits, and why wouldn’t you, sounds like a good combination to me too.

Aside from all this fun and banter Shadowblack is, I thought, a much more serious plot this time round.  It certainly isn’t all light entertainment.  A much more sinister plot unfolds and we realise just how serious the situation truly is when we have an unexpected death.  The actual bad guy is really only the tip of the iceberg.  I’m not going to elaborate on him further but he’s conceived a rather horrible scheme and he certainly isn’t shy of killing people or using them in quite nasty ways in order to further his own needs.

In terms of the world building it was interesting to spend time in the Seven Sands and to listen to the people who live there who seem to be underdogs really with very little true status.  It builds on the information provided in the first story about Kellen’s people and how they found themselves living near such a powerful source of energy and starts to highlight the fact that not everyone in this world has found themselves so luckily situated (although, truthfully luck had nothing to do with it).

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  It’s a lot of fun – this always sounds like a disparaging remark somehow as though the book is not deep and meaningful – but, to be clear having an entertaining series to follow is something I love and I’ve found just that right here.  I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the next book or to recommend this to others.  It’s a very ‘clean’ read, the violence isn’t graphic and there’s no sex or bad language and so it could be enjoyed by young adults as well as adults which I think is another definite plus.

I know that a third book is planned but I seriously hope that there are more adventures in the offing.  I’m looking at you hopefully Mr deCastell???

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Spellslinger (Spellslinger #1) by Sebastien de Castell

spellslingerSpellslinger is the first book in a new series by Sebastien de Castell.  I have no idea how many books are planned but there’s a lot of scope here for more stories.  I really enjoyed this and in fact I’ve already read and loved book 2.  Let me be clear this series is fun, the writing is very easy and there is lots of humour and banter liberally splashed throughout but more than that I liked the characters.

The first story is, like many series, a brief introduction to the characters and place.  We meet Kellen at a time when things seem to be going from bad to worse for him.  Kellen is son to one of the strongest magical families and as such his abilities are expected to be impressive.  Unfortunately, his magic, unlike that of his sister, doesn’t seem to be manifesting and in a world where humans without magic become something akin to slaves to those who do wield it, a person’s magical trials become important and stressful indeed.

In terms of the plot, well, it unfolds almost in a crazy way, like the story gathered it’s own steam and just grew in unexpected ways – even unexpected to the author.  It lends it a surprising element in some respects as Kellen’s life spirals out of control and yet, when the story eventually concludes it becomes patently obvious that everything has been very well planned indeed.  I don’t really want to give too much away about the story.  It’s a set up for the series and a means for us to start to explore the characters, it touches briefly on the world here and it finally leads to a place where we have three characters who look set to become friends and mentors.

The characters.  Kellen is a resourceful young man, he may not have magic at his disposal but he has his brain and he plans to con his way through his trials.  He’s almost refreshingly useless in some respects but then endearingly naive in others.  Ferius is one of the Argosi people.  They seem to be a mysterious bunch who follow a certain path in life.  Ferius kind of explodes into Kellen’s life at a very dramatic moment and from there onwards the course of both their lives becomes inextricably linked. I have to say I really enjoyed this character.  The final character is a squirrel cat who forms a talking link with Kellen and definitely brings a lot of humour to the story (along with Ferius of course and her one liners).  Reichis is a chittering maniac who thinks he’s ten men basically.  Think of the feisty little critter out of Guardians of the Galaxy and then throw in the angry pack of squirrels from Open Season and you’re getting in the general ball park – then add a smidgeon of aggression and a longing to fight and gouge eyes and rip ears and you have a ball of madness – and don’t ever call him a pet.

Basically, I don’t feel like I’m telling you much here with this review – because it’s difficult to really elaborate, this is a first in series and of course it does have something of a set up feel but it’s also funny, highly entertaining and just the sort of read that makes me smile and gives me a book high when I finish reading.  I like a book that gives me all the happy feels and this seems like a series that will do just that.  I could become hooked.  A magical world with a character that can barely conjure, a wild west feel that’s more card flinger than gun slinger and a world and characters that I want to explore further.

Where I got a copy: bought.

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

I loved Traitor’s Blade – I read it in a day and a half and just ignored people and didn’t socialise until I’d finished!  I literally picked up a copy of this book ages ago and I have no idea what kept me from picking it up – other than that strange thing that sometimes occurs when everyone seems to love a book and it almost makes me nervous to read it – foolish really.

Anyway, Traitor’s Blade.  Being so late to this story I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate too much on what really takes place.  We basically follow the exploits of Falcio and his two companions Kest and Brasti.  All his life Falcio dreamt of becoming a member of the famed Greatcoats, unfortunately not long after his dream became reality the King that he served was executed and the Greatcoats named traitors.  They’re now spread throughout the kingdom, some have been murdered, others turned against their ideals and become bandits.  This is a terrible turn of events given that the Greatcoats used to formerly dispense justice throughout the kingdom.

At the start of the story Falcio and his two merry men are thrown into the middle of a tricky situation – one that is going to cause them some serious bother.  As a result they need a quick exit out of town and without directly wishing to become engaged in work accompanying a caravan that’s exactly what happens.  I’m really not going to go into the plot furher as it really isn’t necessary.  It’s a very engaging story, I think if you read a lot of fantasy it won’t particularly astound you with anything particularly new in that area but be prepared to be bowled over nonetheless.  This is a romping, swashbucking story packed with swordplay and bursting with fun.

I really liked Falcio.  He has a dark story of loss that will slowly be revealed during the course of the early chapters and yet in spite of his pain he still retains this wonderful way of believing in things – I’m sure that if he was told to clap his hands quickly and say ‘I do believe in fairies’ he would.  The only thing he now has left is the mission he was given by his King before he was executed.  It’s a strange mission and not even Falcio understands the true meaning.  I think what makes him stand out as a character is he makes a great leader and this isn’t because he’s the best at everything – as Kest is clearly a better swordsman and Brasti is a better archer – what puts Falcio above the rest is his ability to think on his feet, under stress, to come up with the oddest strategies to get him out of a fix and to basically talk people into an all out muddle to distract them.

Kest and Brasti also make good companions and although they don’t get as much time as Falcio I liked both of them.

There’s plenty of action – in fact we pretty much bowl from one situation to the next in quick succession, there’s an underhanded plot, a tad of magic and a rather nasty character who you’ll have no trouble hating.  Undoubtedly though, for me, the dialogue and the sense of fun throughout the book are what won me over.  Which isn’t to say this is a comedy – just that it’s not afraid to poke fun and come up with some cheeky banter that will simply make you giggle.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book – although I’m not sure who to as I think I’m quite possible the last one to read it.  The good news, book two is out and I have a copy already lined up!

A wonderfully entertaining read.

I’m submitting this for one of my reads for Stainless Steel Droppings Once Upon a Time event and my Backlist Burndown book over at Tenacious Reads – (Sorry, bit late with this one!)

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