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The Outcast
Contributor(s): Matharu, Taran
ISBN: 1250138671     ISBN-13: 9781250138675
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
    OUR PRICE: $17.09  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: May 2018
Annotation: Stable boy Arcturus accidentally becomes Hominum's first common summoner and is whisked away to Vocans Academy, but before he can settle in he must choose a side or watch the Empire crumble.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Magic; Fiction.
Demonology; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017041252
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Series: Summoner
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 6.00" W x 0.75" (1.06 lbs) 365 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Taran Matharu is the author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series: The Novice, The Inquisition, and The Battlemage. He lives in London.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 May)

Gr 9 Up—In this prequel to the "Summoner" trilogy, 15-year-old Arcturus is a mistreated orphan working at a local tavern. Having had enough of beatings and hunger, he decides to steal a horse and make his escape. However, things become decidedly complicated when he reads a scroll in the horse's saddlebags and accidentally summons a noble's demon. Soon Arcturus is captured, interrogated by the king, and shipped off to Vocans, a training school for summoners. Arcturus quickly discovers that he is the first commoner known to be able to summon. While this ability makes him special, it also puts him and his dog demon Sacharissa in danger. Assassination attempts, political conspiracies, and daring escapes follow. There are moments when The Outcast shines as a fantasy adventure. The book's quick pacing and intriguing summoning system encourages readers to keep turning pages. Likewise, underdogs Arcturus and Sacha are likable and easy to cheer for. However, the plot is sometimes marred by predictable tropes and glaring similarities to other fantasy series. Also, while the writing style feels geared toward middle grades, the mature language used throughout may leave selectors hesitant to recommend it to younger audiences. VERDICT A good addition to collections that already have the trilogy, but otherwise, a limited budget would be best spent on more consistent fantasy titles.—Lara Goldstein, Orange County Public Libraries, NC

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.