Charmcaster (Spellslinger #3), Sebastien de Castell

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“Let the meanderings of other lives pass you by, kid”

Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster.

Read my reviews of Spellslinger (#1), Shadowblack (#2), and Soulbinder (#4)

* * * 
3 / 5

Charmcaster is the third book in the Spellslinger series. I thought it was an improvement on Shadowblack, but not as good as Spellslinger. Like Shadowblack, Charmcaster has an episodic feel to it which was fun, and I loved the slow development of Kellen’s character and the introduction of more Argosi.

words only let you describe the details of things, but not the deeper truths behind them

Kellen, Reichis, and Ferius Parfax are traversing the desert to Gitabria. Kellen has been tracking down those infected by the onyx worms and practicing his mage skills. This comes in handy when things inevitably go wrong for their little group. They’re injured, they’re being hunted by religious fanatics and those seeking a reward for Kellen’s murder, and there’s a new discordance card in the mix. At an Argosi resting house, Ferius is given a card with a small silver mechanical bird on it.

This card leads our little group, joined by a surprising figure from Kellen’s homeland, Nephenia, to the heart of Gitabria. We encounter a new country, a new city, and a new culture alongside new characters, extra wit, and a complicated intricate stand alone plot that weaves into Kellen’s hunt for victims of the worms.

That’s right: I was turning into Ferius Parfax

As in Spellslinger, I loved Ferius Parfax most of all. She’s witty, she’s strong, she’s dynamic, and her character always has little surprises. Ferius is also the focus point for most of the moral dilemmas in the book: how should we interact with people who live differently to us? What is our duty? Where should we go and who should we serve? What does it mean to be Argosi? These questions are all spinning in Kellen’s head as he tries to figure out his journey: he’s young and naive, but he’s also growing older and more experienced and it’s delightful to read.

Charmcaster has humour, moral complexity, and plot twists. It’s definitely a stronger novel than Shadowblack, but I didn’t find it quite as engaging as Spellslinger as there isn’t much going on in terms of overarching plot. Reichis is definitely still a strong point!

My thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. 

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