Published: 2010, book 1
Nicodemus is a young, gifted wizard with a problem. Magic in his world requires the caster to create spells by writing out the text . . . but he has always been dyslexic, and thus has trouble casting even the simplest of spells. And his misspells could prove dangerous, even deadly, should he make a mistake in an important incantation.
Yet he has always felt that he is destined to be something more than a failed wizard. When a powerful, ancient evil begins a campaign of murder and disruption, Nicodemus starts to have disturbing dreams that lead him to believe that his misspelling could be the result of a curse. But before he can discover the truth about himself, he is attacked by an evil which has already claimed the lives of fellow wizards and has cast suspicion on his mentor. He must flee for his own life if he’s to find the true villain.
But more is at stake than his abilities. For the evil that has awakened is a power so dread and vast that if unleashed it will destroy Nicodemus… and the world.
What was great about this book was that Nicodemus was “dyslectic”. When he tried to write his magic he misspelled and the spells often become something else. This is called cacography and those who are afflicted are thought as broken and also dangerous since their magic can be out of control. The author used own experiences as he is dyslectic and created a wonderful tale about a wizard who can’t write spells. It certainly brings that something extra to this book, the hero has flaws, and it’s something we do know about. It is great to see a hero with a disability, and a hero who tries to work through it.
The other great thing is the magic in this world. They use spells and write them on their arms and let them take form. Magic in this world is made up from words, prose, sentences, and in the end it’s words that can harm you. There are linguist and grammarians, and all in all, a believable magical system that leaves in impression on you.
The characters are well rounded. There is Nicodemus who most of all wants to spell, and not cause chaos. Then there is his master Shannon who is the old clever magician of the story. Another character that is memorable is Simple John, a cacographer who can say only 3 words. His handicap is a lot bigger, but Nicodemus still feel they are the same. That is always a good quality in a hero.
The story becomes something more too. Evil demons wants to cross the sea and a final battle is to come. There is talk about a saviour who will wield powerful magic to save humans. There are fights between countries and different magical schools do not trust each other. And there is the enigma of the ones that walked the continent before them. The ones that Nicodemus people killed. The theme of the conqueror that gets rid of those that already live there. An interesting world, and a story that promises more.
Recommendation and final thoughts:
New and refreshing systems of magic are always fun to come across and Charlton manages with this. He also creates a hero that is different from other ones out there. I enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to book 2 and finding out what will happen.
Reason for reading:
This review has also been posted here.
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