I picked up this book based on the recommendation of another Idea Exchange staff member and it was a truly excellent read, full of suspense, well-written action scenes and engaging characters. Vailan Al Sorna, the novel's protagonist, is sent away from his home at the age of 10 to train to be a fighter and military commander in the monastic house of the Sixth Order. His training is dangerous and harsh, but he survives by creating a close-knit circle of friends and learning to hide his growing magical talents in a society that fears people with his gifts. When war comes to the nation, he and his friends are put to the ultimate test, learning more about their Order along the way. This is the start of the Raven's Shadow trilogy, but the narrative is complete enough that it can also work as a standalone story. However, I'd be surprised if you only wanted to read the one volume - this is an exciting world in which to immerse oneself and I'm already looking forward to the next part of the series.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)
I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t love about this debut novel. The story follows Vaelin, a young boy abandoned by his father at a monastery that trains elite fighters using intense, sometimes cruel methods. Vaelin is a wonderful character with an intuition bordering on magic that he uses to navigate the dangers he faces daily. All the supporting characters are vivid and the book has a well-thought out mythology. The best news, the series is complete! All three volumes are out and the story ends in a satisfying way.
Jessica (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)