From the author of The Paper Magician series and The Fifth Doll comes the first book in a new series full of magic and pain, chases and artifacts of unimaginable power. Sandis and Roan, the heroes of Charlie N. Holmberg’s new fantasy series, face odds and challenges that readers will find in turns mind boggling and saddening, intense and heart breaking.
2019 will surely be a wonderful year for fans of the Numina series, what with all three books releasing this year. Today, though, it about Smoke & Summons and the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s tour. Thank you to all the ladies of that wonderful group for allowing me to join the tour, as well as the publisher for sending me an arc of Charlie’s book. Be sure to check out all stops on the tour, as well as the giveaway for a finished copy of Smoke & Summons (open US only).
Published: 1 February 2019
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult
A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.
A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.
Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…
Rating: 3 Stars
CW: slavery, gore
The concept of summoning was intriguing. There’s obviously a horrific element to it, considering that Sandis and her fellow vessels are slaves and forced into “accepting” the numina. Beyond that, though, the various numina, starting with Ireth (the one within Sanis) and so on, there are elements that hint at a mythology that’s interesting.
There was quite a lot of worrying going on, by which I mean worrying about going from one place to the next without giving the reader a moment to get into the characters and really connect with them. While there was enough text to discover pasts and connections and what have you, the method by which this information was imparted to me felt more like I was being told these things rather than being able to discover them. It’s not as engaging as a story to be told everything when you could be shown, especially with such a potentially rich magical system running through the book.
Sandis has a lot of strings crisscrossing her storyboard, from her time with Kazen, the man who enslaved and forced Ireth upon her, to the history (known and unknown) of her family. I found her to be extremely resilient, considering everything she’d been through: loss, pain, enslavement, and more. Her story could have done with a bit more exploration, maybe a bit of spreading out so it wasn’t so much of an info dump at the beginning of the book.
Roan, the second main character, was in turn flawed and intriguing. He had a mysterious thief persona that was cool. The artifact that allowed him to achieve immortality for one minute every twenty-four hours was definitely a neat magical doodad. His devotion to his mother can’t be discounted either.
On the flawed side of things, he really could be a jerk. There’s a time when he’s quoted as saying:
If she’d been ugly, he never would have gotten involved in this.
He’s referring to Sandis in this quote; regardless of who he was talking about, though, that was kind of an asshole-ish remark and knocked points off whatever likeability scale he’d managed to put points on beforehand.
While this wasn’t my favorite Holmberg book, it’s worth a go whether you’re a newcomer or a returning fan. See below for a chance to win one of two finished copies of Smoke & Summons (open US only).
It didn’t take a scholar to determine that being special was dangerous.
That was the best way to start a burglary.
“I don’t appreciate being interrupted.”
…I don’t like your hat.”
Holy hell in the pits of despair. No wonder the grafters wanted to kill him. He was protecting one of the most powerful blasphemies in existence.
About the Author
Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.
Win 1 of 2 finished copies of SMOKE AND SUMMONS by Charlie N. Holmberg (US Only)
Start Date: 10th February 2019
End Date: 5th March 2019
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
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