Despite having bought the Paper Magician series on Kindle and owning all the books, I still have yet to pick them up and read them. However, when I heard about this one, got a peek at that awesome cover, and had the chance to read the synopsis, I knew it was going to be a book I read as soon as I had the chance.
The whole concept behind this book is something so well done. It’s different, it’s fast paced, and there is so much excitement on each and every page.
“Vessels weren’t supposed to be aware of their numina, even those they were bound to.”
Sandis is a vessel – a human who can have numen, or spirits, summoned into them. She is known for being bound to the numina Ireth. Her master, Kazen, is powerful and in turn, horrible to her and the other vessels he commands. Sandis is always looking for a way to escape, and one day, she decides to take that leap of faith.
Rone does odd jobs for those who need them done, including thievery – for the right price. Kept protected by a rare item that can grant him immortality for a very small window of time each day, Rone makes enough money to do what needs to be done. When he meets a girl, Sandis, in a tavern one afternoon, however, things change for the both of them.
After Sandis attempts to steal Rone’s most prized possession, she tries to escape him, only to end up back with him again shortly thereafter, the two of them forming a bond over not only the artifact that Rone possesses, but also a friendship. When Rone finds out what Sandis is and that she is in trouble, he attempts to help her escape, even if it means putting his life on the line, too.
If Sandis is forced to go back to her master, she can only imagine the horror that awaits her – Kazen is attempting to summon an incredibly powerful numen into her, and after watching her friend die when he tried to summon it into him, Sandis is terrified – and wants away from the lifestyle of being a vessel. So she runs, and Rone vows to keep her safe.
“It never got easier. No matter how many times Kazen summoned a numen into her, it never got easier. Neither did the fear it instilled into Kazen’s victims, nor the pure, unrelenting pain possession wreaked upon her body.”
When something occurs that threatens to prevent Rone from keeping his promise to keep Sandis safe, he has to choose between Sandis and another person who means the world to him. How can he betray one of the two people he cares about most?
This book was honestly not what I was expecting. I guess for whatever reason I thought it was going to be a lot slower, but it was so fast paced and exciting, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. There was not a single moment in this book where I was even slightly bored, and I flew right threw reading it. Smoke & Summons did a fantastic job of kicking off this new trilogy but such a beloved author, and I think that many people are truly going to enjoy this. There’s a big friendship/budding relationship angle and it isn’t too much or over the top, and it definitely doesn’t take away from the actual story, which I really love. Instead, it adds to it, making it sweeter.
The characters in this book are so well written. I’m a huge fan of character development and I love how the characters change and learn in this book. Rone’s character, especially, really sees a lot of growth, and I can’t wait to see how this is handled in the next book, too. I feel like Rone ended up almost being an entirely different character by the end of this book, while still retaining everything that made him Rone. It was a really fantastic experience to watch him develop his personality in such a fascinating way.
The whole idea behind the numen is so interesting, too. It was something completely new to me, as I’ve never read anything even remotely like this before, and I loved every second of it. It was different, and because of that, it really drew me into the book.
Smoke & Summons is the kind of fantasy that you can easily find yourself getting lost in. It was exactly what I needed to get myself out of the reading slump I’ve been in for a while. This book has so many great things going for it – a great plot, well fleshed out characters, a romance that is not only believable but also incredibly sweet, and world building that really makes the book stand out. All in all, I really loved this first installment in the Numina trilogy, and I cannot wait until the second book comes out.
Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance, and her novel The Fifth Doll won the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction. She is a board member for Deep Magic Ezine and currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.
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