Hi, buddy. You ready? Hey! What’s up, you guys? It’s promotekdbook.com, and today I’m gonna be doing a book review for The Outcast by Taran Matharu.
If you guys don’t know, The Outcast is the prequel novel to the Summoner series which is a trilogy that follows a boy named Fletcher who finds out that he is able to summon what’s called demons. They’re basically familiars. And people that are able to summon these demons have the ability to do magic, and the demons help them do that and everything like that.
Fletcher gets whisked away and taken to a school where he learns more about his summoning abilities and his magic, and he’s being trained to be able to help Hominum which is humans in their huge war that they have against orcs. This book, however, is a prequel to that one and doesn’t follow Fletcher. It’s set a couple of decades before the events of the actual trilogy, and it follows a different character.
It follows this guy named Arcturus who in the original series is more of a mentor character for Fletcher, and he has his own demon which is Sacharissa I don’t know how to pronounce that. Sacharissa is a canid which is a grouping of demons that are similar to canines in our world so similar to dogs. Right, pup? Right, buddy?
Except they have four eyes instead of two. This world also has different species of people. So it obviously has orcs because that’s who the humans are fighting. It also has goblins, elves, dwarves, and gremlins. At the beginning of this book, Arcturus is planning to escape his current life, and he is got a plot to run away, and start again, and try to live on his own.
Well, during that process he finds out that he is a common summoner. He is able to summon demons, and he is the first common summoner that has ever been discovered. So there’s this big deal about trying to figure out where he came from and how he has the magic to do what’s called summoning because only the noble people of this world have been able to summon demons and because now he, a commoner, is able to and it does make any sense.
And it’s basically just about him going to this Vocans Academy, this magic school, and trying to just survive, and make it through the day, and make it through his life. One last thing before we get started with the review is that this is basically an extended version of a short story called Origins which is on a website called Wattpad which is where Taran originally started putting up chapters of the original series before it got picked up and traditionally published.
So to thank the people that were helping him and reading his story on Wattpad, he created this story called Origins which was about Arcturus, so the first 16 chapters of The Outcasts is basically Origins just edited one more time and a couple of things have been taken out. Like, some of the heavy foreshadowing that is in Origins which is basically a nod to people that have read the series have been taken out, and just a couple of things have been cleaned up. So I was reading this. I was like, “I’ve definitely read this before.” And I pulled up Wattpad and started comparing the two, and they were almost identical.
So the first 16 chapters are Origins, and then the rest of the book is completely different. It is the first 102 pages is origins, and then all of this (the rest of the book) is new material. I’m gonna keep this spoiler-free. I’m not gonna spoil anything in the actual series either, so you don’t have to worry about that. But let’s get into the review already.
It’s very easy to get into. It’s very addictive. There’s not any complicated language or anything like that. You’re definitely gonna understand everything that’s happening, and you can make it through his writing very quickly. I read this entire book in one day… like, one 24-hour period. I started it at night and then finished it the next morning. It’s also very fast-paced, very action-packed, so you have little cliffhangers at the end of every chapter that really keep you reading.
His stories are really plot-driven, and so they just keep going, and keep going, and keep going. And I love that. Hi, buddy. How are you doing? One thing that does happen quite often in this book is something that a lot of middle grade and a lot of young adult also do with fantasy action stories. That is that they use the, like, pass out method to create tension and to drive the plot.
So the main character will pass out quite often. Be prepared for that if you’re going into this… that the character is gonna have a lot of things that happen, and he’s gonna pass out a lot. And it’s a lot of the dun dun duh, and then you start reading the next chapter. That’s kind of what happens. I kind of enjoy it because I think it’s fun, but it does happen. Admittedly though, this is not as cliffhangery as the first two books in the original trilogy are.
So there isn’t as much drive to continue going, but it’s still there. One thing that I really liked about this book was the exploration between racism and classism. The racism is obviously between the different races of intelligent humanoid people on this world. There are the humans, the elves, the dwarves, & the orcs. They all are intelligent, and they all have different cultures, and different desires, and everything like that.
And they have different goals. When those goals don’t align, there’s a lot of tension and ill-treatment of other groups by certain groups… mainly the humans. The humans treat everyone terribly. There’s a lot of racism between humans and dwarves especially because the dwarves were in this world first. They were on this continent first, and the humans came over, and took over, and subjugated the dwarves.
So there’s a lot of talk on dwarf subjugation, and treating them terribly, and how they’re second class citizens, stuff like that. So I enjoyed the exploration of that as well as the classism within the human society. So there’s a huge difference between the noble people of this world and the common people of this world, and it really starts to get broken down because Arcturus is a common summoner.
He’s a commoner who has the powers of these elite, noble people that are really only noble because they have that ability, so what makes them different? And they’re trying to keep Arcturus, kind of, at arm’s length because he’s something other and he’s ruining the divides in society that have been established. Those things are obviously portrayed as terrible things in this book, so it’s not like it’s reinforced or anything like that. But they are in here, and I appreciated that. And I liked the exploration and the consequences that having those types of societies can have. Did that make sense?
Another pro for this book is that I have read the actual series, and there are so many characters that come back into this prequel, and make appearances, and are characters in this. And I really appreciated seeing them again because I love the Summoner world. Seeing the characters younger and just starting to develop into the people that they’re gonna be as adults and how they’re gonna be in the actual trilogy was really interesting. I especially liked seeing Arcturus obviously because he’s the main character, but I liked seeing a couple of people that were close around him.
I loved seeing Elaine. I loved seeing the king’s son. I thought it was really amazing to see him in this book with the immense amount of optimism, and goals, and plans that he has and then seeing how he is in the actual series and what happens between this and then. It’s great, and I thought it was really realistic. So I appreciated seeing how optimistic the youth is, and then seeing them later on as adults, and seeing how that’s played out.
Some of the characters that I loved seeing the most were Elizabeth Cavendish because… if you’ve read the series, you know what I’m talking about.
And we got to see Athena, and I really loved seeing Valens. And I like that this book kind of focuses in on making sure that the demons, even the weaker-powered demons, have some spotlight in the story. The weaker-powered demons, like mites, shine in this book, and they play a major role. I liked that he explains that even if you have a weaker-powered demon or a weaker level demon, they can be just as useful as a more powerful demon and and more useful in certain circumstances.
So as you can tell, this book is really highly integrated with the actual series although it follows a different character. You can read this book before you read the actual series. You’re not gonna be spoiled for anything in the actual series by reading this first, and you’re not gonna be as spoiled for things in this if you read the actual series first. This one does a really good job of setting up the world, and explaining the magic system, and how they’re able to summon demons, and the different spells and powers that they have that come along with that ability. And it also sets up the world really easily as well.
You understand where Hominum is, where the dwarves are, where the elves are; where the orcs are. You understand their relationships with each other, and the different classes within Hominum, and everything like that. It just sets up everything just as well as the actual series does, so you can definitely read this one before reading the trilogy or the trilogy before reading this one.
It doesn’t matter which order you read it in. However, if you have read the series, I’ve really enjoyed kind of revisiting some of our old stomping around that we’ve experienced in the original trilogy. And you see how everything is set up and how it is slightly different than it is later on in The Novice and the actual trilogy. You see things like Corcillum.
You see the jungle, and you see the town that’s right next to Vulcans again, so I really liked seeing all of these very familiar places but seeing how they’re a little bit different in each the prequel and the actual series. Now let’s talk about a couple of neutrals that I had. These didn’t affect my reading experience, but they might affect yours. I don’t know what these words are called, but when you have dialogue and then you say, “he said,” or “she said,” or “they asked,” or “she asked.”
Those kinds of things. Taran mixes those up a lot which I know some people don’t like that. I appreciate it. I like it because it tells a lot more about what’s going on. “‘Oh no!’ he cried.” is more indicative of what actually is happening than “‘Oh no!’ he said.” So I like when they get mixed up, but there are a lot of different ones like said, asked, snarled, laughed, shouted, stammered, cried, hissed; gasped. There is a lot of mixing it up. It is actually funny because the first 16 chapters, the 16 chapters that he wrote a long time ago… those have those varied terms a lot more than the rest of the book.
So he stops using them as much after 16 chapters, but they are there. I appreciate them. Not everyone does. A personal con is that his books always come out at the very beginning of May, and I have an exam tomorrow. So I hate that because I always end up dropping everything, and reading them, and then not studying for my finals. And I’m in law school now so probably not a good thing. And one other neutral that I had is that you don’t get all the answers in here.
There are obviously things that he leaves open because they happen and get resolved in the actual series which I did really love. I love that this set up a ton of things that happen in the actual series. Like, the main problem in the actual series is set up in The Outcast which I thought was really well done. And I didn’t know how that was gonna play out because it could have just happened on its own out of view, but it’s in here.
And I really appreciated it, but there are still a lot of questions that I have. Like, a lot of questions about the Ether, and about the world in general, and farther out than the scope of these stories. And you don’t find out that information in this. You don’t find out that information in the actual series. I’m hoping someday we’ll find out those answers and find out a little bit more maybe in some guidebooks, or in another series down the line after a few years, or something like that.
Like, I have so many more questions about the Ether and how that is where it is, and how it relates to the world that the main characters live in, what beings lived in the ether, and everything like that. So lots of questions, but you don’t get all the answers. And now let’s talk about a couple of cons that I had.
He has a lot of similar traits, and he has a lot of similar inner monologue in his head. He definitely comes across very Fletcher-like. He even looks similar to Fletcher at least on the covers so their attitudes, and how they present themselves, and how they hold themselves, and all of that. They are very similar to each other, and I wish that they had been a little bit different. It is explained a little bit because in the main series Arcturus sees a lot of himself in Fletcher, so it explains a lot of the similarities. But I wish that there were more differences between the two.
Another con that I had was that Arcturus is put in a lot of dangerous situations, and a lot of terrible things happen. So the story gets a little bit more intense and violent earlier on than it does in the actual series, and Arcturus has a big problem with killing people which is interesting. Sometimes someone dies and he’s totally fine – blows past it, keeps going; whatever – and then other times he really takes a moment and thinks about how this person just died and how awful that is.
And he spends a lot of time thinking about death but not every time it happens, and I thought that it would make more sense if he would do that at the very beginning of the story and then as the story progressed, he would lose some of that shock, and awe, and disgust of death. But it just kind of happened sporadically and randomly, so that was just something that I noticed.
You’ve been very patient – is that the ending of this book is very, very cheesy. I rolled my eyes, and I loved it. I mean, I was happy with it, but it is super, super cheesy. So be prepared for that. Yeah, it was just, like, so much cheese. So that’s gonna be my review on The Outcast by Taran Matharu. If you liked it, please give it a big thumbs up and comment down below if you’ve read this book which I would be shocked at because it came out a couple of days ago.
If you’re interested in reading it now, let me know that as well. Have you read any of the books in the Summoner trilogy/series? Anything you want me to know, leave it down below, and I will talk to you guys next time.
Bye! I think I said that I got this book in order to do this review. I don’t remember if I said that or not, but I did get this from the publisher to do this review. But they also sent me some cards of the characters. I totally forgot about them before filming. So I was gonna unbox this, and then do the review, and read it, and all that stuff, but my brother got so excited that the book came in the mail because he also loves this series.
He’s 16. He started reading it before me, so he’ll be able to finish it now. But they also sent some cards of the characters, so I wanted to check that out on camera and see what they’re like. This kind of reminds me of when I was a lot younger and read the Harry Potter books as they were coming out and they had Harry Potter trading cards. I have them still. “He can summon demons, but can you collect them all?”
This one is Commander Lovett. I have to do the thing that beauty gurus do.
So this is Captain Lovett and Lysander which is her Griffin. Captain Lovett is in The Outcast, but she’s child of time. This one is of a character that’s in the actual series, and that is Othello and Solomon which is his little golem demon.
He is so cute. I love Solomon. Oooh there is Arcturus and Sacharissa which is the main character of The Outcast and Fletcher’s mentor. That’s awesome.
The main character of the main series, Fletcher, and Ignatius is his little salamander demon. I’m considering getting a crested gecko and naming him Ignatius… either that or Twig. Here’s Silva and Sariel. Is that how you say that? I don’t know… which is her canid, and the last one they sent me is Tarquin and Trebius.
Trebius is a hydra which if you did not know, is a mythological beast that grows two heads every time one of his heads gets cut off, and it can only be killed with fire, stuff like that. Classical studies knowledge. But yeah, that’s the actual end. Bye!