Who doesn’t like a good ghost story? Gail Martin’s The Summoner begins on Haunts (Halloween), with spirits walking and a royal coup. Martris Drayke is tasked with avenging his family, overthrowing his half-brother, and fleeing for his life. En route he has to learn to control his necromatic spirit magic.
What worked for me: The opening hook worked for me. Martin set up a compelling reason to get on board right off the bat. Her world is three dimensional and distinct. Magic is handled in a practical way and Martin makes it look easy in how she blends action and ghosts to the character’s reality. The characters don’t stop and emote while running for their lives. The romantic affections build: they don’t just drop out of the sky. These are two fantasy conventions that always drive me nuts.
What didn’t work: I felt like the vampires were shoe-horned in at the last minute. The two typos I noticed concerned them but hey, she didn’t use elves. There is also an eleventh hour plot device that wrapped things up a bit too tidily for me.