Review: Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall (and a $25 Giveaway!)

TourBanner Knightmare Arcanist

Ohai! I’m here again with my review of Knightmare Arcanist by author Shami Stovall. It’s my second book by the author and this one’s a young adult fantasy. Not gonna lie, even though this is YA (I’m not usually a fan), I jumped at the chance to join this blog tour because I really enjoyed the last book of hers that I read (see my review).

The story of Knightmare Arcanist centers on a young outcast fighting for his dream of becoming more than what the world thinks he is. It doesn’t sound too different from most YA fantasies, right? But, hey, this was pretty fun and I enjoyed it!

Read more about the book below, check out my review, and check out the interesting excerpt. And of course, enter the blog tour giveaway for a chance to win goodies. Yayyy..

Cover_Knightmare ArcanistAbout the Book

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.

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.

Add on Goodreads. Buy on Amazon or B&N.

Good story, interesting characters, cool magic concept, promising start to a series

This book was fun and I enjoyed it.

Volke, apprentice to the gravekeeper, belongs to the lowest of the lows in his island and is doomed to remain so for the rest of his life. He longs to rise above that and become an arcanist, a wielder of magic like his idol, master Gregory Ruma, but to become one he has to bond with a mythical creature. He ends up bonding with a knightmare, a rare creature of shadows. But there is something wicked happening to magic everywhere and the knightmare’s suspicions point to the great Ruma. To protect all that he holds dear and to protect magic itself, Volke has to not only master his new powers, but also find out the truth about Gregory Ruma before it’s too late.

I was in a pretty okay mood when I started this book and I finished it in a day. The book is an easy read, well-paced. I didn’t get bored at all. There’s a lot of action and good scenes with different characters. The plot is also interesting and well drawn out. It’s a great start to a series that still felt like a complete story.

The characters are interesting and well developed. Each character is distinct and complex in his or her own way. Even the non-human characters. I like their interactions because you can see how different and “real” they are. I actually like all of the teens in this book and that’s a good thing for me because I have a tendency to get annoyed with young characters.

I also like the magic concept. It’s unique and refreshing. I like the idea that magical creatures can choose the person they can grow in magic with. And that they develop a trust and dependence as both the creature and their chosen person grow stronger, more powerful – or even the opposite – together. It’s pretty cool.

The book is basically about young folks coming into their own and into their magic and doing great things. I would love to read the next in the series.

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.

About the Author

Shami Stovall

Shami Stovall relies on her BA in History and Juris Doctorate to make her living as an author and history professor in the central valley of California. She writes in a wide range of fiction, from crime thrillers to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.

Connect with the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Read an Excerpt

I outlined a fresh grave for the cemetery as bells rang from the isle’s tower, signifying the start of the celebrations. The soil reeked of ammonia and rot, but the crisp morning breeze washed the scent away, dispersing it over the ocean. I removed my shirt, allowing the wind to cool me while I worked.

Every ten years, the people on the Isle of Ruma gathered to watch the fledgling phoenixes bond with a few chosen mortals. Lamplighters did their duty despite the glorious sunshine, each lamp’s fire representing the flames of phoenixes. Merchants cleared their horses and carts from the main road in anticipation of the crowds.

This was my second Day of Phoenixes. A decade ago, on my fifth birthday, I missed the bonding ceremony to attend my father’s trial. He was convicted of murder, but because he hadn’t been born on the island, he was taken to the mainland for final judgement. That was the last time I saw him.

Although the last Day of Phoenixes had been inauspicious, I intended to change that. Once I had finished digging a shallow grave, I would make my way into town.

I slammed the shovel’s head into the dirt and scooped deep. The cemetery sat near the edge of the island, far from those gathering to observe the hopeful students trying to win the favor of the phoenixes.

Tradition stated that anyone who handled sewage, waste, and dead bodies wasn’t allowed to attend the bonding ceremony, which was just my luck. After my father was sent away, I could’ve been given to any profession for apprenticeship. I could’ve gone to the carpenter and learned the craft of woodworking, or I could’ve gone to the silversmith and learned the art of fine metal work, but misfortune hounded me like a shadow. I was given to the gravekeeper, slated to dig corpse-holes until the end of time, forever exiled from the festivities.

I still intended to go. Even if it meant ignoring the traditions of the isle—something unheard of on our tiny spit of land—no one could stop me from proving myself to a phoenix. No one.


The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Enter away using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment on the other hosts’ blog posts; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here.