Review of Dread Pirate Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #2) by Shami Stovall (plus a Giveaway!)

Whoa! Today we have Dread Pirate Arcanist by fantasy and sci-fi author Shami Stovall. It’s the sequel to Knightmare Arcanist, which I reviewed (and enjoyed!) a few months ago. I can’t believe it’s here and I feel so lucky to be part of this review tour.

Read more about the book, check out my review and enter the tour giveaway for a chance to win a gift card to your favorite bookstore!

Dread Pirate Arcanist_coverDread Pirate Arcanist by Shami Stovall

Continue the Frith Chronicles with the second book, Dread Pirate Arcanist!

While protecting the newborn griffins on the Isle of Landin, Volke Savan and his adopted sister, Illia, run afoul of the Dread Pirate Calisto, the same cutthroat who carved out Illia’s right eye. As a master manticore arcanist, Calisto’s strength and brutality are unrivaled, so when Illia suggests they bring him to justice, Volke wonders if they’ll have what it takes to fight the corsairs on the high seas.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Praise for the Frith Chronicles!

“Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series, and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.” – Seattle Book Review

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Great storyline, fantastic world-building and character development; An exciting and action-packed sequel!

Dread Pirate Arcanist starts off months after the events of the first book. Volke, Illia and their fellow apprentice arcanists travel to the Isle of Landin. The Frith Guild have been tasked to provide protection during the island’s griffin bonding ceremony. What is supposedly an easy assignment, however, becomes something more when they run into serious trouble involving pirates! And not just any pirate, but the Dread Pirate Calisto who happens to be the same pirate who made Illia an orphan and cut out her eye when she was a young child. Naturally, Illia feels strongly about this guy and wants him to pay for what he did. Unfortunately, Calisto also happens to be an extremely powerful and strong master arcanist, and bringing him down will take so much more than all their powers and skills combined.

Wow, this was fun! I finished this book in a day. Like the first book, this is such an easy read. The writing is smooth and very descriptive, and the setting and situations are imaginative. The story is so creative and fantastic, and flows at a great pace. It’s never boring, each page is as interesting and exciting as the next.

In this book, we find out more about the wonderful magical world that our characters exist in and we find out more about the magic system. We are introduced to the concept of magical trinkets and we meet new magical creatures, both beautiful and terrible ones. It’s all very fascinating and fantastic really (I love it!). Also, most of the action occurs in the high seas (because pirates, duh!) so that itself is pretty fun and exciting.

We also learn more about our characters. We find out a little bit more about their past and where they come from, so we understand their motivations even more.

Volke is still as great as a protagonist can be – flawed and vulnerable, full of self-doubt, but with an unrivaled sense of honor and inner strength.

Illia shows some fire in this one, as well as some incredible recklessness, which annoyed the hell out of me, but she also learns and grows from the experience.

We also find out more about Master Zelfree and how he works and it shows us why he is a real master arcanist. He’s actually one of the most interesting characters in the group and he’s right up there with Volke as my favorites in the series, maybe even topping that list.

The rest of the characters – Zax, Atty, Hexa, Adelgis and their eldrins (the mystical creatures they’re bonded with) – are also developed more in this book and it’ll be interesting to find out even more about them in succeeding installments of this series (please let there be more! Lol!). They, including Master Zelfree, of course, have all really come together nicely as a team.

Like I said above, this book is an exciting and action-packed sequel with a great story and amazing characters. Needless to say, I really enjoyed reading it. If you like reading about fantasy, adventure, great and fearsome villains, mystical creatures, pirates (magical pirates!), friendship, family, honor and magic, then you’re going to love this one. :)

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Read my review of The Knightmare Arcanist (book one) here.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Read an Excerpt

Today the griffins of West Landin would choose who to bond with. The city officials gathered before the dawn, prepping for the evening celebrations. I watched from afar on a rocky cliff that overlooked half the isle, the pre-morning winds disheveling my inky black hair. I had never visited the Isle of Landin before now, but I had heard amazing tales of their fearsome griffins since I was old enough to remember stories.

My pulse quickened with anticipation. For fifteen years, I had imaged bonding with a mystical creature and becoming an arcanist. Eight months ago it had become a reality, but it hadn’t yet sunk into my heart and gut. Giddiness twisted my insides with each new breath.

While the citizens of West Landin would have to prove themselves to the griffins in a Trial of Worth, I had already been tested and found worthy.

I turned to the shadows next to me, well aware that my mystical creature—my eldrin—lurked in the darkness.

“Luthair,” I said. “Do you know much about griffins?”

“They are stubborn beasts,” he replied from the void of my shadow, his voice more sinister than his true demeanor. “And griffin arcanists are strong, courageous, and skilled at combat.”


As a knightmare, Luthair lived within the darkness, merging with it like salt in water. He didn’t need to materialize to speak, and he could slink along next to me without anyone knowing. While some would consider that creepy or unsettling, I enjoyed his presence and trusted him in all things.

I returned my attention to the sprawling city. Unlike the Isle of Ruma, where I grew up, West Landin housed thousands of people, had a massive port, and had constructed a seaside fortress to deter pirates. Their cobblestone roads, twice as wide as home, snaked beyond the city limits to a valley filled with sheep, goats, and horses.

When the sun rose, the oranges and reds of dawn cascaded over the island, washing it in a familiar glow. The Isle of Ruma had wonderful dawns, just like this one. The nostalgia overwhelmed me for a moment, so powerful it almost hurt.

I missed my adoptive father, Gravekeeper William.


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15 thoughts on “Review of Dread Pirate Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #2) by Shami Stovall (plus a Giveaway!)”

  1. Thanks for sharing your book with us. I think we all enjoy hearing about new books we previously didn’t know about. Also, thank you for the giveaway.

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