While perusing Twitter I saw a tweet stating some new book was ‘Harry Potter meets Pokemon’. Obviously I skipped straight to Amazon and clicked pre-order. To this day I haven’t actually read the blurb.
Summoner: Novice by Taran Matharu is released in the UK on May 5. To give us all eager readers a taster of the world of Hominum, where people of noble blood can capture demons to fights alongside them, Matharu has released, for free, a short 100 page origins story.For free.
Now, I fully expect everyone to have stopped reading by this point and already downloaded Summoner: Origins. Because seriously, Harry Potter meets Pokemon? No other four word sentence could make me move quicker. Well maybe ‘do you want tea?’
If you are still reading, let us discuss how absolutely clever this book was.
The origins story follows Arcturus, a stableboy, a mere commoner, who acquires a demon. Technically he ‘steals’ the demon without realising what he is doing, but there we have it. A young, innocent commoner now with a pet wolf-like demon with four eyes and a psychic umbilical cord linking their thoughts, emotions and pain. The nobles take quite the offence of Arcturus obtaining his beloved Sacha, but the King orders for him to be sent to
Hogwarts Vocans Academy to learn how to train Pikachu demons.
The young noble who was supposed to own Sacha is not particularly pleased about this. And some wizardry and scary demons are unleashed in an exciting and succinct adventure.
This book is obviously written for the younger audience. I know one should expect such with YA, but as an adult you feel yourself rolling your eyes at the type of language use or the way the hero speaks so blatantly. But then, I am impressed when adults can write like this. Not that Matharu is patronising, not at all. His words bring vibrancy to the world of Hominum, and his younger readers will not realise their vocabulary swell with the generals wearing their “tasselled epaulettes” on their shoulders as their hair falls down in an “aureate mane”. At 25 and a professional writer, even I don’t know these words.
The topics covered in this brief yet fantastic short story are numerous. Parents will revel in the world of Hominum as the new bed time story and classroom read for this generation helps to teach equality – whether race, gender, class, even species, as well as bullying, broken families and domestic abuse. Although a fantastical set world, Summoner will be one that young adults can truly identify with the characters and their lives.
I really (really) enjoyed reading Summoner: Origins. There was also a treat of the first chapter of Summoner: Novice at the end. Except, the protagonist of this chapter did not capture my heart as Arcturus had, and I feel concern that I will miss him in the forthcoming book. The new guy, Fletcher, has a Katniss appeal to him with his deadly bow. But, he’s no beaten up stable boy with a cute baby wolf…
(So when does the game come out? I wanna catch me a canid!)