Blog Tour: Academy Arcanist, Shami Stovall

Book Review: Academy Arcanist, Astra Academy Book 1, Shami Stovall

Academy Arcanist Shami Stoval

Fantasy: Academy Arcanist, Astra Academy Book 1, Shami Stovall

Blog Tour July 17, 2023


Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A young child shows magical promise. Although he is from a non-magical family he is recruited to attend an elite academy for magic, where a mysterious evil tries to kill him. 


Actually, don’t stop me. You have not heard this before. Shami Stovall starts with a premise that has been used often before, but she makes it uniquely her own. Just like a skillful musician takes a theme and improvises her own riffs, a talented painter makes a landscape others have depicted and casts it in a new light, a scientist examines a process known to all and sees something new Stovall takes the concept of an outsider in a magical academy and creates her own special kind of magic. 


Gray is the son of a candlemaker, a simple trade losing relevance as magical lighting systems grow prevalent. He starts waking up from terrible nightmares with injuries sustained during his dream. 


During one of those dreams, a powerful being rescues him and destroys his attackers. His rescuer is a dreamwalker, a professor at school for arcanists. She encourages Gray to pursue his hopes of becoming an arcanist, someone who has bonded with a magical creature (e.g. a unicorn, a dragon, a golem, a fairy, etc.). 


When he is of age, Gray and his twin brother go to the academy hoping to bond with a magical creature. While in the menagerie, though, they are magically put to sleep and brutally attacked in their dreams. Worse, there is no sign of Gray’s dream rescuer. 


There is so much I like about this book. The world building is brilliant. The characters are similar to those in similar books, but the relationships are very, very different. Gray and his brother are close. His brother is physically imposing but has the heart of a poet. Both of them are self confident but not arrogant. They have each other’s backs, they look out for others, they tease and tussle but never cross the line into harming each other. 


Amazing characters. Fast-moving prose. Vivid settings. Really well-drawn relationships. Fascinating magical creatures. I cannot really say enough about the joys of this book. 


Our thanks to The Write Reads and to author Shami Stovall for our beautiful autographed hard copy of Academy Arcanist, provided so we could give an honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour. 


Academy Arcanist Shami Stoval

Book Review: Academy Arcanist, Astra Academy Book 1, Shami Stovall

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