Happy Saturday, friends! I’m so excited to be sharing my review of the book Calligraphy Guild by R. M. Archer, releasing June 17! Calligraphy Guild is a delightful, clean fantasy book set in a world where time is recorded using dragon ink–that same dragon ink has the power to re-write time, though *that* is forbidden.
Duyên Lai is genuinely happy. And why wouldn’t she be? She has a loving family, she has a loving boyfriend, and she’s recently been admitted into the ranks of the calligraphers of her village, recording history’s stories. But then the Guardians arrive alerting the calligraphy guild that the greatest rule has been broken–someone has used the dragon ink to rewrite time. This realization that someone has betrayed the guild turns Duyên’s world on end. The guildmates, once a close-knit family unit, turn on one another. An added layer to this stress, Duyên finds it impossible to block the voices of dragons in her mind. The impossibility of blocking dragons’ voices caused her grandmother to go insane. Duyên worries for her own sanity as well as for the fate of her guildmates…will the guild find the time-changer before its too late for them all?
What I enjoyed most about the book:
- The emphasis on positive relationships
- I feel that a lot of books contain strained relationships to build tension (my own writing included). I really appreciate the positive relationships between parent-child, sibling-sibling, grandparent-grandchild, mentor-student, etc.
- The relatable characters
- Duyên’s struggle with understanding her emotions and Tora’s struggle controlling her emotions are both very relatable to me. Though I do not struggle with losing my temper like Tora, I often struggle with seeing my strengths. Further, I also related to Sairsha who felt she wasn’t good enough to belong.
- It’s a clean fantasy read suitable for YA readers
- This book is not only clean, but sets a good example of what healthy relationships should look like. It addresses real-life struggles in a relatable way. In addition, it has valuable themes woven within the words. It teaches readers that we don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay; it teaches readers that even the best of us make mistakes; it teaches us that we have control over our timelines to a certain extent, but changing the past would ultimately change who we are in the present.
- The element of mystery
I really enjoyed Calligraphy Guild, and I hope to see more works from R. M Archer in the future! Overall, I rate the book 4 stars, and I would consider re-reading it. I definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy, but may not appreciate epic tales, and those who appreciate strong world-building and character development.
I do need to explain that this is not a fast-paced, epic fantasy novel. Magic is discussed, but the most magic present in the story is the use of the dragon ink to change time (which is off-page). It takes roughly 80 pages for anything to *happen* but I greatly appreciate the world-building early on and loved getting to know the characters and their relational dynamics. In fact, if Archer were to ever offer a webinar or class on world-building, I’d be the first to sign up! But, again, if you are looking for a fast-paced, high energy novel, this may not be your cup of tea…right now anyway. If you are looking for great world-building, characters who can talk to dragons, time-changing magic dragon ink, and ultimately a good story, then definitely check out Calligraphy Guild!
Pre-order your copy of Calligraphy Guild here and remember to request a copy at your local library!
Check out the other blogs/blog posts on the book tour!
- June 1st: Lavender Bleu – Author interview; Tasha Van Kesteren – Lai Duyên character interview; Kristina Hall – Book review
- June 2nd: Laura Morgan – Book review
- June 3rd: Issabelle Perry – Tanh Ryuu character interview
- June 5th: Dawn Dagger – Book review
- June 6th: Erin Phillips – Author interview
- June 7th: R.M. Archer – Relationships I’d love to see more in fiction
- June 8th: Kristianne Hassman – Sairsha Kincaid character interview
- June 9th: Naomi Sowell – Book review
- June 10th: RaeMarie – Book review
- June 11th: Eden – Book spotlight
- June 12th: Miranda – Lôi Tora character interview
- June 13th: Libby Powell – Author interview
- June 14th: R.M. Archer – Calligraphy Guild shout-outs
- June 15th: Bethani Theresa – Book review
- June 16th: Grace Johnson – Book review
- June 17th: Edna Pellen – Author interview
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.