DREAD 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.
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.
~Buy DREAD PIRATE ARCANIST on Amazon
My first thought upon seeing this book’s title was “oh, good, I wanted to read the next book in this series!” My second thought was “Dread Pirate Roberts.” (Okay, those may be reversed, but I digress.) Long story short, I quite enjoyed this second installment.
As with the first book, this satisfied all my superhero loves without actually containing superheroes. The various powers and abilities are expanded from book 1, which only increased my curiosity. I was under the impression that arcanists would have one or two abilities, but I was wrong. Stovall does a fantastic job of integrating many powers into each arcanists’ contribution to every situation.
I had a slight issue with Volke and one of the other male characters in the first book. Their relationship just felt strange. I was pleased to see that they grew from their experiences and changed how they acted toward one another. There were moments of the past that poked through, but overall, the relationship felt more realistic and the characters more believable.
I have very little else to say other than I hope to read the next book soon. This ended on the best kind of cliffhanger—the kind that answers enough questions for the book but leaves just as many open. I look forward to more!
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.
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