When I was growing up, I adored high fantasy. I couldn't stop reading about wizards attempting to foil the End of the WorldTM. Give me Gandalf. Give me Raistlin. Or Pug. And when I played Dungeons & Dragons, I always wanted to play a magic-user. So, the kid inside me was thrilled at the pages of Spellwright.
Black Charlton has not strayed too far from the glorious fantasies of the '80s... and yet, his hero, Nicodemus Weal, has flaws that would only be met and sympathized with by a very recent readership: dyslexia. In another author's mind, this disability would be the cause of more humor than dismay, but Blake, who himself dealt with dyslexia, avoids both bathos and foolishness. No, Nicodemus finds that working magic without being able to spell can be deadly.
So he ends up a janitor. Brilliant! But he's no Groundskeeper Willie.
But what you really want to know is... how cool is Spellwright? Simple. The answer is veeeery. The pacing is quick, so you'll find yourself turning pages fast to keep up with murders and mayhem. And magic, of course. The magical academy of Starhaven is a Hogwarts for a more sophisticated crowd. And Nicodemus has some pretty nasty dreams that will leave you impressed with Charlton's imagery.
The only flaw is that Spellwright's the first of a trilogy (ahh, the demands of high fantasy). I remember waiting for the second and third book in Tad William's series. Now I'll end up risking a fistula doing the same for Charlton!
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