Nicodemus's teacher at the academy of Starhaven is Magister Agwu Shannon, the famous linguist and Grand Wizard. He has white dreadlocks, a short beard, and mustache. Pure white eyes, although he is blind, so he only sees the world through magic.
The book starts with the murder of a Magister. Shannon, who was a rival with the Magister, is a prime suspect, and consequently, so is Nicodemus. Also, there is a convocation going on, so sentinels have arrived as well as druids. A mysterious creature is in the area, and ultimately, Nicodemus has to flee Starhaven.
I perceived a lot of hype surrounding Spellwright. I saw it in stores. I saw lots of reviews. I think it generated publicity from being published by Tor, the irony and interest of a dyslexic novelist, and the fact that Blake Charlton has a personable online presence.
When I read the book, it often surprised and interested me, but also, I had mixed feelings about it. It kept feeling like something was about to click with the story. For Spellwright to get started to where the blurb ends took more than half of it. Although the chapters are short, I found myself wishing it were faster paced and more narrative driven. Yet there were definitely moments of good action.
I like the fundamentals. The magic system is intriguing, vivid, and amusing. The characters are cool, despite some of the minor ones being underdeveloped. I think Nicodemus is a great fantasy name. I liked the descriptions, for example how Shannon has silver dreadlocks and white eyes, and Deirdre is a druid with a greatsword, and the demon Typhoneus. The prophecy and Imperials and the war of the Disjunction add depth to the plot. I also like how Nicodemus reads knightly romances.
All in all, Spellwright is a solid first effort and I will be interested in reading where it goes in the sequel Spellbound.