Book Review: Calligraphy Guild by R. M. Archer

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!

All images provided by R. M. Archer.

Check out the other blogs/blog posts on the book tour!

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by Kayla E. Green

Kayla E. Green is a school librarian, speculative fiction author, and poet. When she isn’t writing, reading, or going on adventures with her husband, she loves singing loudly and off-key to KLove Radio, snuggling her dogs, and pretending she’s a unicorn. Her award-winning YA fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, and her inspirational poetry collection, Metamorphosis, are now available through book retailers. Kayla also has stories and poems featured in various anthologies. Follow The Unicorn Writer's blog for book reviews, author interviews, writing advice, and more bookish fun!

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Calligraphy Guild by R. M. Archer

  1. Thank you so much for your review, Kayla! It’s so encouraging to see all that you got out of Calligraphy Guild. ^-^

    Did you know I have a worldbuilding course on Teachable?

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