Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell


Synopsis from Goodreads:

“There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is surviving your fourteenth year. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.”

Kellen’s dreams of becoming a powerful mage like his father are shattered after a failed magical duel results in the complete loss of his abilities. When other young mages begin to suffer the same fate, Kellen is accused of unleashing a magical curse on his own clan and is forced to flee with the help of a mysterious foreign woman who may in fact be a spy in service to an enemy country. Unsure of who to trust, Kellen struggles to learn how to survive in a dangerous world without his magic even as he seeks out the true source of the curse. But when Kellen uncovers a conspiracy hatched by members of his own clan seeking to take power, he races back to his city in a desperate bid to outwit the mages arrayed against him before they can destroy his family.

Spellslinger is heroic fantasy with a western flavour.

Spellslinger is the first book in and epic new fantasy series by Sebastien De Castell, I received an E-ARC from Hot Key Books on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:
The cover was the first thing that caught my eye and left me intrigued, wanting to find out the significance of the playing card theme, who these people and creatures were and their stories.


It took me a little while to get into Spellslinger properly, though I was intrigued by the concept before starting it, by chapter six I was sold and from then it only got better. The story is about Kellen, a young mage who has very little magic and has so far failed to spark any of his mages bands. While his sister, Shalla, excels where he doesn’t. With the trials approaching, he’s desperate to spark them to become Jan’Tep and get his Mages name. The Sha’Tep, those whose magic has faded are considered nothing more than servants. Kellen challenges a fellow student to a duel to pass his test, which he wins by cheating.
Shalla, convinced he can win honestly if he believes in himself, engages Kellen in a duel that ends with her stopping his heart causing everyone to panic, Osia’phest, their teacher has already passed out trying to help, when a stranger steps in to help, a traveller called Ferius. She has no magic but introduces Kellen to a different kind of magic and power. This is where the fun and action begins. In a whirlwind of events leading up to Kellen uncovering a plan to take over the clan, a conspiracy to weaken the young mages with many plot twist and unexpected turns, some involving the dreaded Shadowblack.
Kellen’s and Ferius’s character development was well written and enjoyable to read, Ferius is quirky and leaves everyone suspicious of her. though one character in particular stole the show. Reichis, Kellen’s companion, or business partner as he prefers to call their partnership. Ever wanted a funny, obnoxious animal in a book? Reichis the Nekhek, also known as a Squirrel Cat is the one for you, he is by far my favourite, he has one hell of an attitude on him, extremely obnoxious and always looking for a fight, he’s hilarious! I would happily read a book just about him and the other Squirrel Cats!

I thought about giving it four stars, in the end I had to give that last star from the sheer enjoyment Reichis provided. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will definitely be buying myself a copy asap, I‘m looking forward to reading the next book.

What did you think of Spellslinger? Let me know in the comments or over on twitter
Spellslinger is published May 4 2017 by Hot Key Books
Buy Spellslinger from Waterstones | Book Depository


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