*Mini-Post by the Belle*
Title: The Battlemage
Author: Taran Matharu
Summary: Fletcher and his classmates from Vocans Academy — including the elf Sylva and the dwarf Othello — travel through the ether, where they must pursue a mortally dangerous quest to rebuild their world and broker peace.
As he leads a small army of soldiers, Fletcher will face his biggest challenge yet: his nemesis, the albino orc, Khan, who seeks to destroy everything Fletcher loves.
Belle Rating: B
Target Audience: Young Adults
*Minor Spoilers Below!*
Story Notes: The book starts out with Fletcher and his companions just after they jumped through the portal to the ether. This is the first opportunity to really see what the ether is like! Many demons are introduced which helps you further visualize the unique ecosystems inside the ether. I was actually kinda sad when they had to leave, simply because I wanted to see more of this weird, unknown world. Once they leave, the pace of the book is pretty intense throughout the rest of the book. Crap goes down!! I will just leave it at that for those of you who might have picked up the series… The conclusion to the series was…decent… Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times that I was holding my breath over what was happening to my beloved characters. But this epic battle that I expected to read between Fletcher and Khan just didn’t happen. In fact, the battle just before the encounter with Khan was far more intense than the inevitable fall of the white orc. I might even go so far to say that the whole white orc thing was unnecessary in the story. I mean, it was something that was only briefly touched on in the first book, just enough to make you think it is vaguely important in the second, and the third grew ever so slightly with the potential to become something great only to be choked out with the end fight.
Writing Style: Taran once again does very well with building suspense. At times I was hyperventilating because I was struggling to handle what was going on! I was so scared that something was going to happen to my fictional friends! But that’s what makes a book good, right? He also teases you with details…which I will get to in a sec.
Weaknesses: I did feel like the author struggled with the flow a little bit here. A lot was going on so I know he was trying to tie it all into a neat, pretty bow, but I was almost as exhausted as the characters were by the end of the book. I think it could have benefited with a fourth book in the series to be able to draw out details, like Khan, instead of the author trying to write himself out of a corner because of minor details that were scattered throughout the series.
Strengths: THE SUSPENSE!! AHHH!!! Why must you do this to me?!?!? Taran was also very successful with world building. And, I am hoping that certain details mentioned in the story might lead to other adventures with different characters. Maybe I’m just being overly hopeful…then again, maybe I’m not…I guess that’s up for you to decide 🙂
Final Thoughts: This is definitely a series that I would recommend to any fantasy lover. It comes together relatively well, the characters are fun and interesting, and there are cute demons that are capable of ripping your face off. What’s not to love???