Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell
“There’s no amount of magic in the world that’s worth the price of a man’s conscience”
Kellen is about to turn 16, the age when Jan’Tep prove their magical abilities or become a Sha’Tep for the remainder of their lives, serving those who are true mages. As each day gets closer to his birthday, he seems to be loosing more and more magic. It isn’t until Ferius Parfax shows up that Kellen starts to realize that a life of servitude isn’t the only option.
Spellslinger was unique enough to keep my interest. Here we have a story of a guy who sucks at magic, and despite the goodness of his heart, life really doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Everything Kellen does pretty much comes to the last ditch effort. He really does endure a lot despite the knowledge that no matter what, best case scenario he ends up as a servant for his uber powerful sister, worst case scenario..he’s dead and he drags his family’s name through shame.
The book ended at a point to where you could read it as a stand a lone or continue the series on. I for one, am curious to see where Kellen’s journey continues.
The World Building
How in the world did De Castell manage to make a hand working-magical-monk-esque world blend in with an outlaw-wild-west feel? When you think of both parts of this story separately you would not have guessed that combined they work. It wasn’t anything as epic as peanut butter & jelly (or whatever your favorite combo is) but, it still flowed well.
Basically were in a world where each family raises their kids to learn their magic. They’ve got these band tattoos on their arms so that when they are able to control a certain element the band “sparks”. These kids practice their magic standing around near the oasis, which is the source of their magic I guess. They move their hands in somatic formations, mumble a phrase, and blam magic.
Then you get this character, Ferius, who is like a card wielding Billy the Kid like character. Everyone is wearing of the outsider with her deck of cards. Suddenly, this magical story is a western. I know, odd right? But it somehow didn’t bother me!
There was a lot of thought that went into some of the details too. Such as, since they grow up having all these servants and really just standing around making magical spells, they are all rather out of shape, to the point that Kellen is a little weakling & hardly has any stamina.
Kellen -Somehow by the end of the story you are rooting for this whiny kid. As an outsider, I just thought that I just wanted to punch him and yell and him to quit being such a selfish cry baby. Then there is this obsession with this girl. A girl he doesn’t seem to really interact with but is still crazy about. I had to remind myself that he’s 15, and well I mean his priorities are obviously all kinds of screwed up when he only cares about the fact that he hadn’t kissed a girl when his life is in imminent danger
Ferius Parfax -What a badass. I mean really, all she does throughout the book is speak obscurely in riddles, deal some cards and smoke her pipe. But somehow I idolize her as…well super cool. I think it’s the way she breaks the mold in such a mundane world.
Reichis -A squirrel cat with a serious attitude and an appetite for eyeballs. Let’s just say that I would want him on my side. Despite the fact that his attitude was a little annoying sometimes, he still made a compelling sidekick.