Book Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell


Title: Spellslinger

Author: Sebastien De Castell

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Release date: May 4th 2017

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

“There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is surviving your fourteenth year. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.”

Kellen’s dreams of becoming a powerful mage like his father are shattered after a failed magical duel results in the complete loss of his abilities. When other young mages begin to suffer the same fate, Kellen is accused of unleashing a magical curse on his own clan and is forced to flee with the help of a mysterious foreign woman who may in fact be a spy in service to an enemy country. Unsure of who to trust, Kellen struggles to learn how to survive in a dangerous world without his magic even as he seeks out the true source of the curse. But when Kellen uncovers a conspiracy hatched by members of his own clan seeking to take power, he races back to his city in a desperate bid to outwit the mages arrayed against him before they can destroy his family.

Spellslinger is heroic fantasy with a western flavour.


This is a very well written Fantasy novel with one of the most interesting magic systems I’ve ever come across. The book also explores racial discrimination between the Sha’Teps (non-mages) and the Jan’Teps (mages), which I found to be very refreshing. De Castell’s writing sucks you in right away, which I was thoroughly impressed about considering the world building that was involved.

A few minor problems I had in this book were the characters. I feel like their personalities are a little.. forced. Ferius has this snarky, sarcastic personality, and I feel like the author just assumes that the readers would automatically love her because of how badass she is. I personally find her to be too much of a know-it-all and sometimes even annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I admire what she embodies (both as a feminist and a fighter) and who she is as a character in general, but I just don’t like the way she’s being represented. It’s sort of conflicting that we are given a character whom you just roll your eyes at them overusing the word ‘kid’ and laughing out loud at almost every serious situation, but can’t help but agree with her morals and beliefs. The author is just too pretentious with Ferius, in my opinion. De Castell probably intends to represent Ferius as this sort of ‘guidance’ in the book who, instead of being wise and almighty, is witty and childish… but hey, at least she owns a cool deck of cards. I feel the same way with Reichis but worse. I don’t know what it is with squirrel cats being so vulgar. Goodness gracious. I get that it’s YA swear words aren’t that big of a deal, but seriously, Reichis just feels the need to cuss at every single thing he despises. Why? It’s so frustrating and uncalled-for. I felt myself cringing at the way Reichis interacts with other people. It’s just so unnecessarily rude. That’s just me, though.

I am not a fan of the other characters either. Oh, how they irk me so. Pretty much for the same reasons, except one can be such a damsel, the other is full of arrogance, and the other is very capricious. But the fact that they’re such horrible characters did not affect how I felt about the book overall. I’m pretty sure that they’re presented the way they are for Kellen’s development (which is evident in the book).

Overall a quick, interesting read. The book has lots of potential and I can definitely see it being developed further. I for one am looking forward to see how this series continues. I really recommend you pick this book up.

Thank you Hot Key Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review x

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