Book Review- Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

Posted July 13, 2020 by brokengeekdesigns in blogtour, bookchat / 2 Comments

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Title- Knightmare Arcanist. Book 1 of the Frith Chronicles

Author- Shami Stovall

Publisher- Capital Station Books

Publication Date- 19 Jun 2019

Comment- I recived a free copy from the author via @the_write reads in exchange for an honest review.

Blog tour dates- July 8-22nd


Magic. Sailing. A murderer among heroes.

Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

In order to protect his home, his adopted sister, and the girl he admires from afar, Volke will need to confront his hero, the Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma.


Volke Savan is the son of a criminal and a pariah in his home land. Even worse than that, he’s an apprentice Gravedigger- not even allowed to attend common events due to his distasteful occupation.

But all he wants is to be an Arcanist- a powerful sorcerer whose power is tied into the magical creature (eldrin) they bond with, just like his idol and hero Master Arcanist Gregory Ruma. He even doesn’t care what magical creature he is bonded to as long as it gets him away from here, a sentiment echoed by his adopted sister, Illia.

When the two of them find abandoned creatures lost in the swamps, both he and Illia take the chance to change their futures and become the apprentice arcanists they had always dreamed of being.

But Volke’s dream is tainted by the knowledge that his eldrin is a knightmare- a creature of darkness and shadow- who has been bonded before. In order to use his newfound power to the fullest, Volke must discover who killed Luthair’s previous Arcanist and avenge their deaths.

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At the moment I have a very short attention span. My meds are all over the place and holding down a coherent conversation let alone trying to follow a complicated plot is nigh-on impossible.

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So I thought I would have serious issues following a new magical fantasy novel. But to my surprise it was so engaging that I fell into it and didn’t resurface for hours.

I’m a massive fan of mythical creatures and so having a book that emphasised these creature living alongside humans was brilliant. Learning all about the new magical animals and how they interacted, what their powers were and how that manifested into the Arcanists powers was brilliant. I was rapt and fascinated by the whole magical system.

It had essences of Phillip Pullman’s Northern lights series mixed with How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.

I really liked Volke and Illia and their relationship. They grew up together but, as they were reaching puberty, their relationship was changing which was great but romance wasn’t the focus of the story. It looks like there may be a few love triangles in future books but it isn’t heavy-handed or wedged in and is very age-appropriate.

The whole story is based around our hero, Volke, who has been handed several really awful hands of fate but is trying his best to steer his own ship and fight his own destiny. Watching him grow throughout these books is going to be a true delight.

The six trainee arcanists all have their own individual personalities and flaws which led to some really interesting dynamics. We haven’t really seen much of their eldrin’s yet but I’m really interested in seeing how they develop.

The pacing felt steady with flashes of fast-packed action followed by recovery and discovery before ramping back up. it never felt exhausting nor like you were waiting too long.

I found the descriptive passages to be my favourite though. You were given enough information for you to be able to build the world in your head whilst still retaining enough mystery that you gave your imagination a good workout. The explanation of the plague-wracked creatures were some of my favourite sections. I could clearly picture how the plague had twisted the animal they infected until they became abominations.

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Great pacing, excellent world building and very engaging characters made for one of my favourite fantasy books of this year.


The moment I finished this, I asked @the_writereads to put me down for future Knightmare arcanist book tours. That should tell you how much I loved this. I will also be looking into buying a complete set for my nephew who has just started getting into reading at age 12.

Highly recommended.

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2 responses to “Book Review- Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

  1. Great review. 🙂 I, too, was fascinated by the magical creatures in this book. Thanks to Dave for introducing the Gang to this book.

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