Fall of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell

9781471410581
Title: 
Fall of the Argosi (Spellslinger series)
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Published: January 2022
Publisher: Hotkey
Readership: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $19.99

I received a copy of Fall of the Argosi from the publisher (Allen and Unwin) in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A brilliant story of adventure, wit and philosophy from the origins of the SPELLSLINGER series to enrapture devotees as well as newcomers alike.

New to the ways of the Argosi, the tribe of wandering philosophers who seek to defeat evil by wit and guile, Ferius Parfax encounters a hideous plague – the Red Scream. Highly contagious, caught by the hearing of a deadly verse, it turns its victims into mindless monsters that destroy all human life they come into contact with.

With the help of a deaf boy whom she has saved from two horrifying victims of the plague, she sets out to find the source of the Red Scream and overcome it’s terrifying power. Along the way she is joined by another Argosi, Rosie, who purports to be so much wiser and more adept than Ferius, but who turns out to have her own dark secrets.

Peopled with extraordinary characters and gut-wrenching drama, Ferius’s story teaches her hard lessons about the limits of the Argosi’s ways. Readers will delight not just in this amazing masterclass in plot pacing and narrative drive, but in the seemingly bottomless well of wit, thought and wisdom that the story brings up and that has changed lives down the ages. It takes the reader on a journey like no other.

The Spellslinger is one of the few YA series that I continue to read every release of, and I’ve really been loving the prequel books following Ferius, because I find her to be such an intriguing character.

Fall of the Argosi is the second of Ferius’ books, and this one picks up a little after where the first book left off, with Ferius on her own and engaged in a fight with two adults under the influence of some kind of magic. After the battle, she encounters a young boy who communications with sign language and the two of them travel together, learning to communicate and trying to unravel the origin of the magic illness gripping people around them and turning them violent. They’re joined by a Rosie, another Argosi Wanderer with her own secrets and Ferius is forced to confront what she knows about herself and her path towards becoming an Argosi.

This series is just so fun and has a really unique magical world, and world hierarchy. Ferius, as the protagonist, has had such a traumatic, rocky past that has seen her rejected from society until she finds the path of the Argosi – and even with that she stills feels like an outsider, like she doesn’t quite fit. This book really explores that side of her character and we see her grow in her understanding of herself which was amazing. The side characters were equally compelling and interesting – no one is quite who or what they seem and that makes for a great unravelling as the book progresses.

One of my favourite aspects of the book – as a physical object – is the incredible artwork both on the cover and inside the book. Each section of the book has a title illustration that reflects the Way of the Argosi, accompanied by an explanation of the believe behind it. They’re very much like playing card or tarot card illustrations and I found myself flipping back to them during the reading process.

Despite not being a fantasy reader much anymore, this is one series I will continue to read.

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