I feel like all my reviews for de Castell books might as well just be 5 stars each time. Every single book I am blown away. And Charmcaster is no exception. In fact it just reinforces the rule.
‘I was getting almost as good at running away from enemies as I was at making them in the first place. Turns out, I wasn’t running nearly fast enough.’
Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster . . .
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
This book just further proof of how much I adore the Spellslinger series. I have really just run out of words for how much I am in love with these characters. de Castell consistently throws phenomenal writing, snarky characters, and magic at us. And we love it. Because these characters make permanent places in our hearts. Expose our own vulnerabilities, our own tender spots. And this writing stops our breaths, makes us pause. While the magic entrances us as we lose ourselves to this fantastical world.
I adore these characters. I could read books about them until the end of time. Each book de Castell reveals something more about them. Whether it be long lost family members, or unannounced hugs. Anything. There’s Feirus’ sense of humor, her commitment to doing what’s right when it suits her, and her easy way of speaking. And Reichs’ tendency to bite first and ask questions later, his unwillingness to show his vulnerable side, and his newfound love of baths. Last, but not least, Kellen’s thoughts that mirror what we might be thinking in that exact moment – unfiltered, raw, and often tinged with sacrcasm.
And in this book we meet Nephenia and her Hyena familiar. Can you tell how much I love this series yet? And what makes this book even more tender is the way Kellen feels about his friends. His chosen family. How what ends up hurting the most isn’t what happens to us, but to those we love. Throughout the last three books we have witnessed how their bond has evolved. How the group has changed and deepened. We’ve seen the secret language they speak to each other. The ways they sense their fragilities, their vulnerabilities and work within them, helping them, saving them without expecting more of each other than they can give.
But what I think I love the most about Charmcaster is the way de Castell asks us, and this merry band of misfits, how we protect those we love. Because there are moments in our life that we lay our life down for the ones we love. That we are willing to kill for those in our hearts. And times when we have to realize we must walk away. Throughout this book, we really witness the wide expanse of this spectrum.
How can we truly save the people we love? How can we honor who they are in their essence? At the end of the day, is that achieved by us fighting their battles, never leaving their side, or learning the moment that we have to walk away. I think at times in our lives, we have all struggled with questions like this.
Maybe it’s a family member who doesn’t want to change, or staying too long in a relationship with someone we love, or knowing that our habits are dragging down those around us.
Charmcaster is full of battles of wit, deception, and Kellen’s dangerous powder. It’s a book that questions our loyalty to each other. Exactly what we will do to save the world. And the price we will pay to protect the people we love. Every day we have to choose who want to be. If we want to be the hero. The outlaw. The friend.