Spellslinger is the first novel in the Spellslinger series by Sebastien De Castell. There are currently 4 books in the series out, with the fifth book Queenslayer set to release May 21st, 2019. A paperback of this book was purchased by the reviewer.
The more I try to nail this book down the more fruitless it feels. For one this story, like many firsts in a fantasy series, stars a young protagonist who needs to grow up and get better at magic. If only it were that simple. Our main character-who we experience in a perfectly voiced 1st person perspective- can’t even do the simplest spells and seems headed towards the dreaded life of near enslavement provided to the nonmagical folk of this society.
Of course things change when a shadowy stranger comes to town with a wide brimmed hat and a deck of cards. Wait a minute.... is this a heroic fantasy novel or an old western? Well as you try to figure that out don’t forget the massive conspiracies haunting this culture where shadowy demons and their ancient masters may yet return to devour the young of all the completely disagreeable long feuding magical families***inhale***
Did I mention the thriller like pacing that had me finish this novel in just two days?
Okay it’s official, I give up. This book eats tropes for breakfast. It takes a critical eye at how we frame our own narratives both personally and culturally. But it also doesn’t let you off with a smirk about all the irony and evils in the world. Because Spellslinger isn’t about how evil evil people are or the inevitable victory of the good and the righteous.
Because at its heart, by some magic unknown to me, Spellslinger is about choosing to be a hero and not just telling yourself you are one already. Go read it now. Personally, I want to get back to Shadowblack so I’ll see you fantasy fans down the dusty trail.