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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Shadow's Apprentice, Book 1 in The Namyria Chronicles by Marta Robyne, has a good premise at the center of its plot: A young village healer wanting a residency to become a master healer. This is the story of Macayla. Her residency hinges on convincing her mentor and master, Elan Edwen, of both her healing and management skills in taking care of his nook during his absence. Residency means becoming licensed and studying the specialization of a master while helping with the workload—a step for Macayla to become a master herself. One night on her way home, she saves a whimpering pup that she names Shadow. But there is something about Shadow's bloodline that merits a cross-examination. As an impending threat looms, Macayla's propensity for risking her life on silly notions and last-minute choices will soon rebound. The question is, will it be for better or for worse?
Shadow's Apprentice doesn't require searching for a new audience. This will attract both teenagers and adults with its promise of literary fantasy entertainment. Amid Macayla's concern about whether or not she will find residency, Marta Robyne complements it with carefully crafted action and a creative exercise in world-building. One of the big questions that popped into my head while reading this book is why wouldn't her own master offer her an apprenticeship? The answer unravels as the storyline progresses, and it sustains reader engagement. Shadow's Apprentice is a perfect example of what the first installment in a fantasy series should be: well-plotted and inhabited by characters that jump right out of the pages. This series is worth a shot, and you become a part of Macayla's development as you follow her exploits.