Spellwright by Blake Charlton
In a world where words can come to life, an inability to spell can be a dangerous thing. And no one knows this better than apprentice wizard Nicodemus Weal.
Nicodemus is a cacographer, unable to reproduce even simple magical texts without ′misspelling′ – a mistake which can have deadly consequences. He was supposed to be the Halcyon, a magic-user of unsurpassed power, destined to save the world; instead he is restricted to menial tasks, and mocked for his failure to live up to the prophecy.
But not everyone interprets prophecy in the same way. There are some factions who believe a cacographer such as Nicodemus could hold great power – power that might be used as easily for evil as for good. And when two of the wizards closest to Nicodemus are found dead, it becomes clear that some of those factions will stop at nothing to find the apprentice and bend him to their will…
Warning: I doubt there will be spoilers, but there may be minor ones about magic systems and characters. Nothing that spoils the book though.
Spellwright is the first book in the Spellwright series by Blake Charlton.
This has been on my to-read list for a while, and I really liked this book. Although I didn’t find it a I-can’t-put-this-down book, it was really good. There was always so much happening and the plot twists in this book were brilliant. I’ve seen many people getting excited about this magic system, and I now understand why. It is brilliant and original and I need to read more about this magic system.
The book itself is about Nicodemus Weal, who was once believed to be the Halcyon (or “the chosen one”), but is no longer believed to be this because of his cacography. However, other wizards/factions still believe that he has a part to play in the prophecy and some believe he may be the Storm Petrel (the chosen one of the “counter prophecy”).
This is the original UK cover of Spellwright.
I have a thing for people in cloaks on the cover of a fantasy book. I’m not sure why, but those covers always make me pick up a book. This one was no different. I love the mysterious-ness of it, and the way you can see the magic forming in his hands. Also, the spellwriting on his arms is very cool and this is going to end up turning into a rant about the magic system again. Anyway, this cover is so pretty. I love it.
I found that the plot at the beginning of the book was a bit jumpy as the narrative went from one character to another, but as I got into the book I started to really enjoy it. Basically, this book is about a wizard who might be the chosen one or who might be the counter-chosen one, or even not important at all. There’s lots of magic (obviously), fighting (with magic) and enemies. Lots of enemies. And people who might be enemies. And generally quite a few plot twists.
The plot keeps moving throughout the book and definitely holds the interest of the reader. There’s lots of explanation about the world of the book, as expected in a fantasy book like this, and a quite a bit of explanation about the magic system, but it’s all weaved into the book so that it doesn’t become an infodump.
There are plenty of characters in this book, and it’s hard to talk about the majority of them without spoiling parts of the plot. The main character, Nicodemus, is a cacographer who’s hoping to achieve a Lesser Wizard’s Hood. He’s an interesting protagonist who’s ready to fight for things and is always keen to learn. He has his moments of self-doubt and depression in the book, but there are also plenty of moments where we see the friendly, happy side of Nicodemus (especially when he’s with his friends). When he spends time with Devin and Simple John, a really sweet side of Nicodemus appears and I really liked the way his character developed throughout the book.
Nicodemus’ mentor is Shannon, and he’s a very talented wizard who does plenty to move the plot forward. Shannon helps calm Nicodemus down in the book and teaches him the important things that he should know. He’s also often the one explaining the world and the magic and the other characters. There were plenty of other characters in the book – Deirdre; Devin; Simple John and Kyran. They all contributed a lot to the plot and helped Nicodemus out a lot.
The Little Things
The descriptions in this book are awesome. I had to stop and reread some of them just to be able to savour them. For example, when Nicodemus enters the library at Starhaven, there is a wonderful paragraph dedicated to the library and another dedicated to one specific book (it is an important book, but it’s described so nicely). There are plenty of other descriptions too which just made me stop and reread them, and they really made me enjoy the book.
The magic system is awesome. It’s so original! In the book, the wizards use magic by creating words/runes on their arms and then literally throwing them at other people or objects. It’s brilliant. The way it’s described makes it so real and believable, and it’s probably one of my favourite magic systems ever
Overall, this book is great. So much happens and there are so many plot twist and magical things going on all the time. I’d definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy books.