In a world where words are literally the most powerful magic around, Nicodemus Weal is at a big disadvantage. You see, he is a cacographer—a dyslexic mage who cannot write magical words or touch the words of others without drastically changing the desired outcome, often dangerously. Once hailed as the long awaited Halcyon, prophesied to set things right in the world, Nicodemus is lucky if he can keep his disability from killing himself and others. Haunted by terrible dreams, Nicodemus must fight against an evil that could destroy him and the world.
There is much that I loved about Spellwright: Nicodemus’ struggle with his disability (which is more impactful when you realize that Charlton himself is dyslexic); the development of the characters, with all their flaws and strengths; the unique and detailed magic system; the concept that good guys are good and bad guys are bad. Say what you want, but I like the standard fantasy tropes, and Charlton does a good job of infusing new life and perspective into them.
There are challenges as well, however. As with many first books, the author is still learning how to pace himself. The short chapters help to keep the story moving, but there are times when it seems that the chapters cut off too soon. The world building of the book does start later than most, but it does help to set the scene for later points in the story.
Good for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks.