(Frith Chronicles #3)
By Shami Stovall
Adventure. Competition. A duel to the death.
While on a journey to the famous city of Thronehold, Volke Savan learns of the Sovereign Dragon Tournament. The massive celebration involves hundreds of arcanists competing for fame and glory, and Volke is determined to win.
Dark forces dwell in the city, however, and rumors of the legendary world serpent spread amongst the shadows. Whoever bonds with a god-like mystical creature will gain magic beyond compare, and the queen’s guards suspect cutthroats will use the chaos of the tournament to hide their plotting.
Unsure of who to trust, Volke investigates the terrible rumors while advancing in the ranks of the tournament. Unfortunately, the true villain may be closer than he realizes…
"Dark times are coming, and we will only survive the changes of our era if we unite our strength against common evils..."
If greatness was forged in the flames of adversity, then the arcanists of The Frith Guild were indeed, great, for their adversities were many, as was, it seemed, their enemies. And now, there was a rumour that a World Serpent, a legendary eldrin, a god-like creature, had spawned, which meant that a fundamental change to magic had transpired. It was feared that the Second Ascension was close at hand.
This was a dangerous time, not only because of the plague that drove both the eldron and their arcanists insane but also because whoever bonded with the World Serpent would have unimaginable power — he would become God-like. It would also signal the end of everything they knew. The Frith Guild had to find the World Serpent before it fell into the wrong hands.
Apprenticed to the infamous Master Zelfree, sixteen-year-old, Volke Savan's life had been dramatically changed when he had bonded with Luthair, a dark and seemingly sinister sentient creature known as a Knightmare. Volke had grown up with stories of the arcanists, and he had dreamt of becoming one. However, he was no longer that naive young man who dealt in dreams. The plague had utterly vanquished Volke's boyhood hero, Gregory Ruma, and Volke had also come face-to-face with his adopted sister's adversary — Dread Pirate Calisto. And now there was this new and terrible threat. If the World Serpent bonded with the wrong person, then this life would be over, forever, for everyone. Volke and his fellow apprentice would travel with The Frith Guild to Thronehold, the capital of the Argo Empire, in search of answers.
But when The Frith Guild finally arrived at Thornehold, they discovered that a new Sovereign Dragon had been born, and the city was preparing for The Sovereign Dragon Tournament. With so many arcanists drawn to the tournament with its promises of prestige and riches, tracking down those who were responsible for the terrible plague and the birth of the World Serpent would be near on impossible. The members of The Frith Guild feared that there would be nothing they could do to stop the Second Ascension.
There is magic. There is adventure. There is romance. Coliseum Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #3) by Shami Stovall is a Young Adult Fantasy triumph in every way. The narrative is mesmerising. The prose is enchanting. Having read the first two books in this series, I was expecting something very magical in this, the third book. Stovall has nailed it. This novel is spellbinding. Once I started, I knew there was no way I was going to put this book down. It is utterly enthralling from start to finish.
As with the other books, this story is told from Volke's perspective. We see everything that he sees. We are privy to his emotions, which gave this book a lovely intimate feel. Volke is a wonderful protagonist who is not only honourable and kind, but he is also very principled. He is not swayed from the path that he has chosen, and nor will his mind be turned against those he admires because of whispered rumours and murmured accusations. Volke is also always willing to give people a chance. His treatment of Fain, a reformed pirate, is a classic example of how he embraces those who others shy away from. Volke doesn't like the idea of someone feeling like they don't belong, and he goes out of his way to help Fain find a place for himself within The Frith Guild. Volke is in all ways, a very admirable, protagonists, and also one that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about.
The Sovereign Dragon Tournament is a once in a lifetime tournament, and Stovall has given her readers front row seats to this wondrous, violent, magical event. And because of this tournament, Stovall introduces her readers to a vast array of sentient creatures, each one with unique characteristics and abilities. I thought the way Stovall chose to approach how she described all these creatures was incredibly clever. Volke borrows a book from his dear friend, Adelgis', father. This book is an encyclopedia of knowledge in regards to these creatures, and it holds just the right information, to give the reader an idea of the creature that Volke is studying. This approach worked really well, and it certainly made imagining these creatures almost effortless.
I have to mention Adelgis Venrover. Adelgis is a very gentle, very empathetic soul who has spent his life trying to make his father proud. His father is in all ways a narcissist — he is a cold, single-minded academic who will happily experiment on his children. Stovall has introduced her readers to some terrible psychopathic characters in this series, but for me, Theasin Venrover is the one character that I despised the most. The way he treated Adelgis was truly horrendous, and I just wanted to wrap my arms around Adelgish and give him a great big hug, because he is such a deserving character and one so immensely likeable. I was so relieved that he had Volke in his corner because he desperately needed that sort of friend.
Coliseum Arcanist answers so many of the questions that arose in the previous two books, but it also poses a few more, the most pressing one being, what will become of Volke and this wonderfully magical world now that evil has been let loose?
I really hope that Stovall does not stop the adventure with this book because I am not quite ready to walk away from these characters just yet.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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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 thrills to fantasy to science-fiction. Stovall loves reading, playing video games, entertaining others with stories, and writing about herself in the third person.