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- Published on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 9:45 pm
- Written by Seregil of Rhiminee
Blake Charlton is an American fantasy author. He is the author of The Spellwright Trilogy. Spellwright, the first book of the trilogy, was published in 2010 by Tor Books and Voyager and its sequel, Spellbound, has just been published by Tor Books (it will published at the end of September by Voyager). The third book, Spellbreaker (formerly known as Disjunction), will be published in 2013.
Click here to visit Blake Charlton's official website.
Here's a description of Spellbound:
Francesca DeVega is a successful healer in the city of Avel, wielding magical text to close wounds and disspell curses, but her life is thrown into chaos when a dead patient suddenly sits up and tells her to run. Now Francesca is in the middle of a game she doesn't understand, one that ties her to the notorious rogue wizard, Nicodemus Weal, and brings her face to face with demons, demigods, and a man she thought she'd never see again.
It has been ten years since Nicodemus Weal escaped the Starhaven Academy, where he was considered disabled and useless, where he battled the demon who stole his birthright and killed his friends. Unable to use the magical languages of his own people, Nico has honed his skills in the dark language of the kobolds, readying himself for his next encounter with the demon. But there are complications: his mentor suffers from an incurable curse, his half-sister's agents are hunting him, and he's still not sure what part Francesca DeVega will play. He certainly doesn't know what to make of Francesca herself...
Introducing new twists to the unique magical system of Spellwright and uncovering more sinister dangers, Spellbound is sure to please Blake Charlton's fans and earn him new ones.
And here's the review:
A REVIEW BLAKE CHARLTON'S SPELLBOUND
Last year I read and reviewed Blake Charlton's fantastic Spellwright and now I'll write a review about the fantastic sequel, Spellbound, which is even better and more fascinating than Spellwright. In other words, it's a perfect sequel and readers, who have read Spellwright, will love it.
Before I begin to write my review, I'll mention that this review is based on a PDF review version of Spellbound. The PDF version didn't contain any maps or cover art. It took me only a couple of days to read this PDF version, because I couldn't stop reading it (when I'm reading an interesting book, I find it extremely difficult to stop reading the book). Now that I've had time to digest what I've read, I'm ready to write the review. (I'll try to avoid too many spoilers.)
Spellbound is a traditional fantasy book and it contains elements which are often associated with traditional fantasy. These elements are charming and they add a nice flavour to the story. I know that there are fantasy readers who don't want to read traditional fantasy, which is a real shame, because they don't know what they're missing. Traditional fantasy is at its best – like it is in this book – fantastic and thrilling entertainment and it shouldn't be overlooked. That's why I'm not afraid to praise Spellbound in this review. I apologize if the last couple of phrases sounded like preaching, but in my opinion we need more books like Spellbound, because fantasy readers must be reminded how good traditional fantasy can be.
The events of Spellbound take place ten years after the first book. That's why it's essential and important to read Spellwright before reading Spellbound. It's probably impossible to understand what's going on unless you've read Spellwright, because Blake Charlton reveals new things in this book and all events are based on previous events (the author goes full speed ahead and spends only little time repeating previous events).
Spellbound starts with a furious and breath-taking pace and the author knows how to keep the pace brisk enough to keep his readers glued to the book until the end. Although the pace slows down a bit after the start, there aren't any dull moments, because something is always going on or something is going to happen soon. The plot and the subplots are fascinating.
The main characters are Nicodemus Weal and Francesca DeVega. Here's a bit of information about Nicodemus and Francesca:
- Readers who have read Spellwright know that Nicodemus is a young man who has trouble with normal spells, because he suffers from cacography. He can only use different kind of spells.
- Francesca is a healer (a cleric) whose life is turned upside down when her patient dies and then comes back to life and tells her about what's going on in Avel.
In my opinion both main characters are three-dimensional and believable fantasy characters. It was a pleasure to read about them.
There are also other interesting characters. These characters include (I'll only mention four characters):
- Deirdre, who is under the demon's (Typhon) influence and tries to deceive the demon as often as she can.
- Cyrus, who is Francesca's old friend and an air warden.
- Shannon, who is Nicodemus' mentor. He suffers from a canker curse, which is slowly killing him.
- Typhon is a demon, who tries to start the War of Disjunction, which will bring end to human language.
It was nice to read about Deirdre and Shannon and what's happened to them since the end of Spellwright. I'm sure that readers will be as delighted as I was to find out new things about their fate.
Blake Charlton writes with passion about his characters and makes them come to life. He focuses nicely on the characters and keeps the reader guessing about certain things and skillfully reveals bits and pieces about them. In my opinion Spellbound's character development is similar to Spellwright's character development, because the characters are as likeable in Spellbound as they are in the first book. Character interaction is almost flawless and the dialogues are well written. The author switches narration fluently between different characters and keeps the story flowing without problems.
There were several fascinating things in Spellbound:
- I found it interesting that the author wrote about intelligent lycanthropes who were believed to be able to use spells and disguise themselves as people in order to lure helpless victims among them.
- The beast called Savanna Walker is one of the most intriguing monsters I've read about. It's a deadly creature that drives men mad and causes aphasia.
- Air wardens, lofting kites and airships were also intriguing. It's possible that when readers hear about airships they automatically assume that they have something to do with steampunk (or they're similar to the airships in Terry Brooks' The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy), but I can say that these readers are wrong if they think this way. Blake Charlton's airships are totally original creations.
- Hierophants and their spells were interesting. It was fun to read about them.
It was great that the author explored new areas in Spellbound. It was also great to read about spellwriting again, because Blake Charlton's magic system is one of the most unique and thoroughly convincing magic systems I've ever read about during the last couple of years. In this book the author brings new depth to his magic system and reveals several new things to the reader.
Worldbuilding is much better in Spellbound than it was Spellwright. Blake Charlton has created a richly detailed and charming fantasy world, which gradually begins to open to the reader. He writes beautifully about new vistas and places.
Spellbound has nice moments of humour which lighten the atmosphere nicely. There are also intriguing mystery elements and subplots, which spice up the story.
Although Spellbound is a middle book, it doesn't feel like a middle book, because the action is suspenseful and the plot is good. Some authors have problems with middle books, but not Blake Charlton. Spellbound is a good example of a fascinating and carefully written middle book, because it's better and more engaging than its predecessor.
Considering that Spellbound is Blake Charlton's second book, it's amazing how good and entertaining it is (I expected Spellbound to be a good book, but it exceeded all my expectations). Spellwright was a traditional, but unique fantasy book, because the author had invented a new and original magic system, but I dare say that Spellbound is even more unique, because the author has taken all the interesting bits from Spellwright and added more elements and new twists to the story.
I was impressed by the author's ability to explore several different things and I was amazed by how much information Blake Charlton had included in Spellbound (this book contains more information than Spellwright). It's possible that readers who don't remember what happened in Spellwright may feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information, but I wasn't overwhelmed. I loved every part of this book, because the author didn't underestimate the intelligence of his readers.
In my opinion Blake Charlton has matured as a writer and he's now a more confident and experienced writer than before (his confidence and experience can be seen in the way he writes about the events). After reading Spellbound it's easy for me to say that Blake Charlton is definitely one of the best and most talented new fantasy writers at this moment, because he writes good, entertaining and vivid fantasy prose. He also has a good imagination, which is needed when you write about fictional worlds.
Spellbound is one of the best fantasy books I've read this year. I like Blake Charlton's writing style and seemingly endless imagination very much. On a scale from one to ten, Spellbound gets full ten points from me for being an entertaining, imaginative, detailed and emotional fantasy book. Spellbound can be recommended to readers who like epic fantasy stories and want to immerse themselves into reading and experience the joy of reading good fantasy. It's excellent epic fantasy for adult readers (I'm sure that younger readers will also love it). I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the third book, Spellbreaker, because I want to know how the trilogy ends.
If you haven't read Blake Charlton yet, you should seriously consider reading his books, because they're wonderful and imaginative fantasy entertainment. Spellwright and Spellbound belong to everybody fantasy reader's reading list and bookshelf. (I think it's possible to turn reluctant fantasy readers into fantasy lovers by giving them Blake Charlton's books, because both books are impossible to put down.)