Justan was raised on the outskirts of the Dremaldrian Battle Academy. He watched his father ascend the ranks within the academy to become one of the most respected warriors in the kingdom. The only thing he has ever wanted is to become an academy student and follow the path of his father. Unfortunately, only the best can enter the academy and Justan is a horrible fighter. Everyone tells him that he is more suited to scholarly work than swordplay. In desperation he hurls himself into training, eager to overcome the doubters and walk into the academy triumphant, unaware that secretive powers plot to disrupt his plans.
Meanwhile, an evil wizard of immense power is using magic to twist the bodies of the creatures of the land and transform them into monsters. With these creatures and the peoples of the wilds, he is building an army . . .
Ogres and dragons, warriors and wizards are destined to clash, their fates guided by The Bowl of Souls.
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- Jim "The Impatient"
A Welcome Addition to the Genre
A wonderfully entertaining book.
The most short review is for people who have read both Harry Potter and Name of the Wind. If you are one of those people, this book's setting, characters, and plot are somewhere between those two.
If not, then this is a very creative albeit simply written book. I very much recommend it to just about anyone, but the reason I can't give it a five star rating is because the writing style is just too simple. It isn't a YA book, or even an adult book, more an all ages book, so that can't be used as an excuse. The foreshadowing, mystery laying, and plot device beginnings have all the subtlety of a one hundred pound sledgehammer in a house of mirrors.
That aside, you are presented with a simultaneously egotistical and humble protagonist that has a charismatic pull to him. He goes from just being a smart guy to having serious combat skills in your typical middle ages fantasy setting. These newly earned skills are logically developed. Seriously, if you do something under a master for one year straight and nothing else, you're going to get really good.
Other than that he has these mysterious overpowered powers that are a conflict in and of themselves and come up from time to time. Additionally Cooley, subverts so many of the typical tropes I've come to expect in this type of book. And the ones that he plays straight are done in such a manner that it is just enjoyable to read.
I will continue to read the series, and hope that his writing style becomes more sophisticated. But if not, it should still be a fun ride.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to scratch that fantastical school or fantasy adventure itch.