The Summoner is the first book that I have read by Gail Martin, but I was happily impressed with this first installment of The Chronicles of the Necromancer. I didn’t love it, and there seemed to be some rough patches throughout the book, but on the whole it was interesting.
Central to this story is a lust for power and what happens as a result. The main character, Martris “Tris” Drayke, is not very unique, but he’s interesting and is well developed enough to be worth following. I also liked the fact that Martin was not afraid to let him deal with consequences of trying to be a hero. Too often I have found authors who allow their characters to simply skate through mistake after mistake without any lasting harm.
The Summoner deals with a prince on the run from his power-hungry brother and his flight towards the only safe haven he knows. Along the way he begins to develop powers that allow him to interact with the spirits of the dead. This is not treated as being an evil gift, which is different from many other series where interaction with the dead is always linked with evil.
While fleeing for his life, Tris gathers a group of supporting characters of various skills and talents around him. Some of these characters get a little development, but for the most part they remain fairly cardboard. It’s not enough to really detract from the story, but it’s something that I hope will improve in the next book.
Ok, so why read this? It’s fairly fun, has a little humor, a little romance, and some danger and tension. Not enough? Well, I found Martin’s willingness to let her characters get knocked around to be an indicator of her attempt to make the story gritty and avoid too much candy-coating. Things are not always easy for our hero and he often pays a price for what he wants to do. For me that was a refreshing change of pace, and coupled with the above-mentioned themes, was enough to make The Summoner worth reading.
Don’t drop what you are reading to pick this up, but add The Summoner to your list of things to read in the future.