A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Battlemage is the third book in the Summoner series featuring a world of demons, humans, Orcs, elves, dwarves, gremlins, and goblins. Like in the first two books, there's tension among the races. In Book 2, The Inquisition, we're caught up in the drama of the evil Orcs. In The Battlemage, prideful and power-hungry humans are shown as the other enemy to peace. They plot to divide the races in animosity when the Orcs can only be defeated if everyone works together. We're spared the mass sacrifices and blood rituals of Book 2, but there's still much battle violence. Two lengthy back-to-back battles at the end show many deaths on both sides from gunfire, close combat with poleaxes and blades, demon attacks, and fiery magic. Expect much blood flowing (with some decapitations), friends being mourned if they're too far gone to be magically healed, and a necklace of goblin ears -- a war trophy -- flaunted as an intimidation tactic. A few more skirmishes involve magic, fire, demon attacks, arrows, and injuries, and there's the graphic description of the hunting and butchering of a demon for food. There's a bit of older-teen drinking, some swearing that doesn't go beyond "bloody hell," and a few quick romantic kisses. Fans of the series will enjoy that the main character, Fletcher, has become a great leader figure in The Battlemage. He takes responsibility for a whole town of refugees and an outnumbered team of soldiers.
What's the story?
In THE BATTLEMAGE, after Fletcher, Sylva, Othello, Cress, and Alice escape from the Orcs into the ether with their demons, they know the danger is far from over. They've landed in the parallel world full of the demons and won't be able to stay alive in the noxious gases without a steady supply of special plant petals they discovered at the Orcs' temple. Unless the ether is much smaller than they think, they'll need to find more petals before they get to an exit portal on the Hominum side -- if they can find one. Also, predators lurk all around: both the larger demons of the ether and the Orcs who cross over into the ether to try to recapture them, flying on their giant Wyverns. The odds of Fletcher and friends making it out of the ether are not good, but what awaits them back home drives them on. The big war with the Orcs rages on, and everyone is needed at the front lines. And Fletcher has offered a new home to the villagers of his hometown in the long-abandoned estate of Raleighshire, the family home he only just learned was his. He needs to train up soldiers to defend it before the Orcs invade.
Is it any good?
This trilogy capper (but not series end) takes time to get rolling, but when it does, readers are in for a runaway epic demon-battle thrill. It's exciting at first to find the brave Fletcher and friends in the demon world from Page 1 of The Battlemage, riding on a giant demon, having no idea how they will find their way out again. But the excitement wanes as the chapters drag on -- 21 of them. Not that there aren't flying demons and crazy tentacled demons and Orcs to fight, but readers are missing that sense of grounding in the story as a whole.
When Fletcher and friends are finally home again, the nail-biting starts. Everything has to go right or they're all doomed -- good vs. evil done right. The political conspiracy subplot weaves well into the overall tension. And when Fletcher trains up his soldiers and resettles his refugees, it's always engaging (these are parts in stories that usually drag). And then the battles begin and you're on a runaway train until almost the very end. Readers who crave nonstop action are in for a huge treat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the racial tension in The Battlemage. The author is half-Indian and half-Brazilian and lives in London. How do you think his background helps him write about issues like discrimination and racial tension?
What do you think of the violence in The Battlemage? Is it easier to take when it's fantasy violence with demons, goblins, and magic?
A prequel about Arcturus follows this trilogy. Will you keep reading about this world?
- Author: Taran Matharu
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Bugs, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: May 2, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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