This review is spoiler free.
“Maybe it’s time to finally put those things away. To stop being part Jan’Tep mage, part Argosi, part everything except the one thing you are: shadowblack.”
Published: 2018, by Hot Key Books.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Contains: Violence, Strong Language, Anger, War, Death, Blood/Gore
‘Soulbinder’ is the fourth instalment of the Spellslinger series, following Kellen’s journey as an outcast mage and his path to find the cure to the shadowblack. This time, Kellen and Reichis are on their own, as they’ve heard rumour of a mythical monastery and those within knowing of a cure.
I adore this series. I love the premise, the characters, the world; everything. So, once I got my hands on this novel, I knew I had to read it as soon as I possibly could. However, I didn’t feel the rush of reading as I did so with the previous instalments of the series.
Kellen is as quick-witted as he’s always been, responding to his enemies with charm from the knowledge given to him by his mentor. However, that’s the issue, his mentor wasn’t present throughout the majority of the novel. Ferius, one of my favourite characters, was missing from the story, leaving a card-shaped hole where she once was for me. Their spark was what kept the pace of the novel going, yet without half of the pair the story somewhat dragged on for me. Nevertheless, I persevered, and towards the end of the novel things perked up once more. Namely, due to Reichus’s heroic return to the story. I love that little squirrel-cat.
However, that being said, this was the first novel in which we see Kellen stand alone. He’s always had someone by his side to help him escape conflict, yet this time he had to get out of trouble all by himself. This in itself made the read a little more interesting for me, highlighting Kellen’s strengths and drive to escape the Abbey.
Although, the story was drawn out a little for me, especially with the absence of my favourite characters, the new additions to the story did make up for any lost enjoyment. There were interesting characters, who managed to keep the story progressing towards the epic climax.
Overall, this made for a fun yet slower read in the Spellslinger series. The characters are as wonderful as ever, the stakes are higher, yet the pace itself seemed to slow down for a while. However, I’m sure it’ll perk back up in the next instalment.