I was completely captivated by this, the third installment in the Spellslinger series. Kellen is as whiny as ever but Reichis has stepped up his rhetoric and Ferius is becoming ever more belligerent. The humour in this book is much tighter and the sense of genuine peril has been ratcheted up so you really do not want to put it down. I always felt there was something undefinable missing in the previous books but this one certainly doesn't leave you feeling that way.
Charmcaster does, somewhat, rely on you having read the previous two books as there is little in the way of backstory or character information here. Instead we are thrown straight in to the action as Ferius, Kellen and Reichois are being chased across the desert-lands of the Berabesq by 4 members of The Faithful as they make their way to Gitabria. The tale then jumps from action packed scenario to action packed scenario with little respite inbetween. However, it never feels like a host of set pieces jammed together, there is a very definite plot here and it works well.
There are cameo appearances from various Jan'Tep that have been important in Kellen's life and we learn much, much more about Ferius Parfax and The Way Of The Daisy. Kellen also discovers that he has more than just the tiny bit of Breath magic and his powders, a growing Shadowblack and a Wind Spirit lodging in his "good" eye, he has also the power of the - well you'll have to read it to find out won't you.
The scene-setting in Gitabria is well done and this new country feels complete in ways that ones in previous books haven't. This maybe because it reminds me somewhat of Elizabethan London with the shops along the bridges and the clamour for inventive entertainments. The characterisation for new characters is a lot tighter too and it feels as though Mr De Castell has finally become fully immersed in his creation (that's presuming the Shadowblack hasn't consumed him and turned him in to Reichis - not Kellen, the action is more a Reichis level of violence).
An entirely enthralling addition to the cannon and left on a rather large cliffhanger.
I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.