The Spellslinger, by Sebastian De Castell
Spellslinger is a young adult fantasy book, about a character called Kellen and his magic wanting journey.
The main themes of the book are that of the world of mages (Jan-Tep) and those that have no magical powers (Sha-Tep). We do also find out about the Daroman, the Argosi, the Berabesq and the MahDek.
I feel like the art of the cover maybe gave a little too much information about Kellen’s Journey, but it did give me AHA moments when the book told me things that I could then relate back to the art work.
The Daroman Woman crafted the card that depicted Kellen as the Spellslinger, at the Oasis earlier on in the book, and this is the one that’s featured on the cover.
I really like Ferious’ character, and I think that she was a great enabler for Kellen to realise that he has something to offer that is different to his people, and that he shouldn’t define himself in the same way his people do.
I really loved Reichis as a character. The Squirrel Cat was sarcastic and told things as they were, and I loved the contrast that he brought next to Kellens character.
I feel like Kellen learned a few things on how to stand your ground and say what you want from Reichis.
We first learned about squirrel cats from them being known as Nekhek.
I like that the Nekhek that was feared by the Teps from all the old stories that had been told about them and the feared MahDek.
The MahDek were also feared by the Teps, but we did find out from the Dowager that the stories told were untrue, and that they were the ones that got robbed of their history by the Jan-Tep.
This was the first time that we were made aware that the Teps weren’t nice people like we were led to believe.
Towards the end of the story I did find myself getting impatient and that left me wondering why the author decided to end the book this way. I understand we need to see some growth in Kellen as a character, but I don’t know if putting him up against Ra-meth was very believable.
I also don’t think that Ra-meth would have turned up at the mine himself, nor do the other ‘dirty deeds’ himself, especially as he was on the level of possibly becoming clan prince. I wanted him to have a more elitist appearance, rather than turning up to do the business himself, or I would have liked to see him let down by someone he had sent to do a deed first, then that gives him a reason to do it himself from there on in.
Unfortunately I felt like the book wasn’t as in depth as it could have been towards the end, and that maybe it had to be a longer book to allow more space for more of a backstory.
Kellen (from what is portrayed) does not have much history of his own, but I feel like I wanted to know more about the adults. Maybe that comes in the consequent books.
The descriptions of the Sha-Tep I feel could have been more descriptive to make the ploy seem more believable, and I feel like it wasn’t really a main part of the story, when in reality, it was a massive part.
I really enjoyed the book up to the point that all the action started. I don’t feel like there was enough time that had passed in the story to allow Kellen the appropriate time to learn all this new ‘magic’, considering that he had spent most of his life trying to learn it all.
I liked the twists that his mother and father had been suppressing the magic within him to not allow the shadowblack to come through, but I would have really loved more backstory on the grandmother’s experience so that i was able to envision how bad getting shadowblack was. I heard from the characters that it was a bad thing to get, but I feel like it was supposed to be a lot worse than my brain had envisioned.
I liked that the book ended with him not spiralling out of control and having the dignity to stand in front of the court. And I like that he noticed them for what they were, old people. He gave them respect which I took as a mature thing to do, and then left without finishing the trial.
I liked that he went away not bothered about what they thought of him.
I also liked that his sister was the last one to see him and said goodbye. I felt very sorry for him that his parents were so caught up in the lies that had been told, that they then didn’t see him at all. I was angry with them for that, but happy that his sister saw more sense than they did.
Gotta love the unconditional love from the one person that he never felt so close to.
Obviously I know that this book is the first of a series, and I would like to know if Ra’meth gets his comeuppance or not. But all in all, I am internally happy with how the book ended, and that we know that he will now be known as Kellan Argos from the court of the old men and women that make up the lords magi, saying to his sister Shalla that he will forever be an outlaw.
Spellslinger is mentioned towards the end of the book saying the ‘old spellslingers who wandered around, combining a few little spells with other tricks to make their way through the world’. I felt Spellslinger was thrown in at the end of the book to allow the audience to realise that there are more people like Kellen in their world, and that he is not alone in his experiences.
I hope that as the series of books continues, that we will meet more Spellslingers.
All in all, i very much enjoyed this fantasy book and it was a great bit of escapism and had some thought provoking moments.
I give Spellslinger 3/5 stars.