Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review: Spellmonger (The Spellmonger Series), by Terry Mancour

This is a fantasy story written in the first person, and it’s really rather good.

The protagonist is a spellmonger in a sleepy little village, where he's effectively retired from his previous line of work as a warmage. Unfortunately for him, war erupts and rather disturbs his formerly peaceful life, forcing him to return to action.

Mr. Mancour does a very good job of managing to mix the right proportions of the fantastical with the realistic. The protagonist, Minalan, is likeable and engaging, and he has the petty foibles and occasional virtues of any realistic person. Similarly, a number of other characters (his apprentice, his rival Garkesgu and Sire Koucey) are all nicely fleshed out, whilst remaining clearly in Minalan's shadow.

I shan't spoil the story but it progresses at a fairly swift pace early on before slowing for necessary plot reasons which see the tension rise until the book's end. The author does change the time perspective, jumping from the present to Minalan's early life and working through his mage training and his campaigning (perhaps a third or a quarter of the book's spent in the past). This works well from the off, and helps to further establish the protagonist and his outlook on life.

The fantasy world does have certain typical elements (mostly human with some goblins) but the goblins are nuanced beyond being just arrow fodder, and the additional races (not seen too much, except for the Tree Folk) seem interesting.

If there's a criticism to be made, it must be that a little more time spent checking and correcting errors would've been useful. Typos and similar problems are common (normally I wouldn't mention them, but there are quite a few).

However, the book is very enjoyable to read and I've already begun the sequel: Warmage.


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