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  • A Wizard's Forge

  • Woern Saga
  • By: A.M. Justice
  • Narrated by: Leah Casey
  • Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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A Wizard's Forge  By  cover art

A Wizard's Forge

By: A.M. Justice
Narrated by: Leah Casey
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Publisher's summary

★★★★★ "I was blown away." (Booknest)

★★★★★ "One of the best books in the genre." (Underground Book Reviews)

Wizards are forged, not born.

Vic the Blade was once a shy but ambitious scholar. That life ended when a vicious tyrant stripped away everything she was, forging her into something darker. Deadlier. Now she fights a war against him, seeking to avenge her lost innocence. A rescue mission may bring her quarry within reach, but she must traverse a vast wasteland and reckon with a race of giant, sentient insects, who hold the key to to defeating the tyrant. Their legendary power may be her only chance to destroy him, if it doesn’t kill her first.

Fans of dark fantasy will love this gritty, award-winning tale of empowerment and revenge in a setting that echoes the classic science fiction/fantasy blends of McCaffrey and Herbert.

Finalist, 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Honorable Mention, 2017 Reader's Favorite Awards

©2017 A.M. Justice (P)2018 A.M. Justice

Critic reviews

"One of the best books in the genre." (Underground Book Reviews)

"A masterpiece that keeps readers awake into the late hours of the night." (Reader's Favorite)

"I was blown away." (Booknest)

What listeners say about A Wizard's Forge

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

She has to do what she had to do to Survive!

Here is a grand little Audio book that is all about determination. Victory is a happy little scholar girl, very happy with life when the really Bad Guy Lornk comes along and tears her life apart. Destroys the ones she loves and makes a slave of her. Now she has to do what she has to do to survive. Victory turns herself into Vic the Blade. Still she has Bad Guy Lornk on her back. What is she to do? A very good story that is well written. I received this audio book for free in exchange for an unbiased review. Well worth a credit!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing but maybe not for everyone.

** I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, this review is unbiased and has not been influenced **

So I have to put this out there first, this book deals with rape and torture both physical and psychological, these themes are prevalent throughout the book. If this is boundary for you, sadly you may want to pass on this amazing novel, Though to be clear, the content is well written and isn't gratuitous or glamorized, and much of the strength of the story is found in the how an abused woman finds strength and overcomes her trauma.
This book is good, In the very beginning of the book we get this short overview of the history of The Oreseekers, a tribe of people stranded on this planet, The history is interesting on it's own but it is given to us as means of introducing our main character Vic/toria who is training to be a special kind of historian called a LogKeeper and we immediately get to know Vic and bit about her culture, which is unique and flavorful.

This may be one of my few complaints about this book, this bizarre and interesting culture, only matters in that it informs the starting identity of Vic, after she is captured by slavers in the first few chapters of the book there is no real connection to this culture other than Vic being amused by the creation myths of the other two human cultures.

The civilizations are fairly distinct and easily manage to avoid the trap of becoming a caricature of an existing culture the way many fantasy novels do. Though there is definitely a bad guys culture, our Main Villain is naturally the leader of this nation, and our protagonists spend most of the series thwarting the encroaching evils of Relm and it's evil overlord.

The characters, now this is where the book shines, every character is complex and involved in their own personal goals and relationships, This is most true for Vic, she is abused and conditioned, essentially brainwashed early on and her journey through building up her identity and breaking away the damage done to her is artfully done. Even Lorenk our capital V Villain is interesting, he is smarmy and sophisticated and you can see how people who interact with him might not realize how monstrous he is. I couldn't actually point to a poorly designed character, I may not like the choices they make sometimes but every character is internally consistent and never seems to make decisions for the sake of the plot.

All that aside. is it enjoyable to listen to? Yes. In addition to being an excellent character driven story about trauma, revenge, self discovery and remorse, it is also a surprisingly entertaining fantasy novel with some amusing shenanigans and good quipy dialogue. It is easy to get lost in the winding journey.

So there a couple what I might tacitly consider flaws, I found myself wanting to know more about the political factions, the why and hows, for the most part we only get the narrow view of Vic who is not politically inclined in anyway.
For a book title: A Wizard's Forge, there was oddly little of what anyone would really call wizardry. This was not a High Fantasy setting, there were some lowkey psychic powers that are ubiquitous throughout the story but magic of any kind beyond mind speaking is incredibly rare.
There are couple of audio quality issues, several places where, our lovely narrator, had to go back and rerecord some lines and the audio quality is jarringly different

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty Good

First off, if you are triggered by sexually oriented psychological manipulation then this is not the book for you. That said, it is done tastefully and shows a strong young woman working through a horrible ordeal.

This is in the heart of it a fantasy novel and the world building is spectacular with how it is woven into the story without info dumps.

As for my rating of the performance, while it was good there were several places where the audio would suddenly take on a different tone and become muffled as though recorded with different settings or edited differently...

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

the reader read in a way that was a bit confusing

it's a good story, but the reader gives hardly any pause in chapters so when the perspectives switch, it's a bit confusing.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Start to a Series

With Wizard's Forge, A. M. Justice gets off to a good start for the series. She builds a rich and full world, with enough elements of the world's history and mythology to give it a real feel. Major characters are complex enough to have their own plans and motivations and don't seem like they are stuck on a track just to further the plot. The one thing that seemed to detract from the story is how much flashback thoughts of statements are used. At first it seems to do a great job of creating a picture of psychological damage after a traumatic experience but, as it continues through multiple situations and multiple characters, it actually started to create a disconnect from the story for me. This book is still worth the read/listen though, particularly for the full and rich world created.

Narration by Leah Casey is pretty good. She may not have the range of characters shown by some narrators, but her voice and style are enjoyable. This book has some production issues though. Throughout, there are phrases which had been obviously re-recorded and spliced in. based on when they occur, I suspect it was to correct name pronunciation. The only real issue with this is how obvious these splices are. The new recording was probably done on different equipment or a different studio, somewhat changing the tone of the narrator's voice, etc. The volume levels don't always match either. At first I thought there was something wrong with my playback equipment, but it is the recording. It was significant enough for me to take the rating down a star, but I would still certainly recommend this book.

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A powerful story fantastically written

This is a very emotional book. It's a sometimes uncomfortably close look how emotional and physical abuse can impact a person's mind and how long lasting the effects can be. While A.M. Justice doesn't shy away from showing you the emotional pain laid bare, she does still do it with compassion and understanding, which is a fine but important line to walk. I never felt it was there for the shock value or as a plot device, even though it does serve to launch Vic into the world at large and her role in it, Vic's pain felt real and raw and my heart broke for her.

The world building is fantastic and I'm very eager to explore more of it with Vic. It is mostly fantasy with hints of sci-fi story lines and some sci-fi tech. And I love that it feels by the end of this book that it could go in any direction. I want to know more of this world's past as well as it's future and get to know more about the people who live there.

For the narration, I thought Leah Casey did a good job. I noticed some of what other reviewers are mentioning with the sound quality shifting abruptly on occasion but it wasn't too frequent, and for me it was only a brief pull away from the story as I noticed it happen and then I was back in it. I thought she did a good job with her pacing, voices, and handled the emotionally difficult scenes with grace.

I hope there are many more books in the Woern Saga!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A fantastic story to listen to.

Slow start with a satisfying ending. I haven't read anything from A.M. Justice before so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect here. The beginning started simply enough, steadily building the world the story takes place before shattering everything around you. Death, war, deception... this novel doesn't hold back on anything. I look forward to seeing what's next to come.
My only complaint is that for a fantasy book, you don't see much of the fantasy elements until much later in the book. While the ending made it worth it, I do hope the next book allows for more magic.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Al
  • 08-20-19

A solid fantasy yarn

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author in return for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinions.
In the future, humankind has reached the stars. A malfunctioning ship forced its occupants to land on a planet, where they’ve been stuck ever since, hoping to find the right materials to get back to their ship, and home, but they remained stranded, and their descendants have remained, still wallowing in the belief they will escape, but their society has evolved. Or devolved, as the case may be.Vic is a Lorekeeper, a person who is tasked with remembering the old ways should the opportunity to return to their ship arise. On her maiden voyage, she is taken in a raid and made a slave, but she escapes and flees to another country, where is she welcomed in by their royal family. Vic becomes a valued soldier, but always has an eye on revenge. When one of the royals is taken, one Vic has feelings for, will she finally get the chance for the revenge that often sours her thoughts? Here’s my thoughts on the audiobook.
Worldbuilding
It’s in the future - only it’s not. Don’t let that put you off though. In every way, this is a fantasy novel. We’ve got warriors wielding swords and spears, weird critters (insectoid, no less), minstrels (fantasy needs more bards and minstrels) and magic. Wait, magic is supposed to all but gone, but this is called “A Wizard’s Forge” so go figure. To be fair, as worldbuilding goes, it’s not the most original, but it’s definitely solid. The different beliefs are kind of fun, as is the idea of a royal family having “real” jobs, and it’s interesting to see how such a technologically advanced society could regress over a period of time.
Score - 3.5/5
Characters
Vic is a fine lead character. Proud of her achievement of becoming a Lorekeeper at an early age, her life quickly goes downhill as she is captured and abused as a slave. Her life takes more twists and turns as she is chosen to join the army. A career her pacifist self struggles to come to terms with. Turns out she’s pretty good at the soldiering lark, and rises through the ranks, although not everyone believes she did it on merit alone. Her captor, Lorn (I think) is interesting in that he’s not boo-hiss evil, although he’s no saint either, Ashel, Vic’s will-they-won’t-they paramour is entertaining, and there is some conflict between then down the road. That being said, the romance between the two is a bit irksome, but that could be just me. Oh, and I like the queen who takes Vic in. She’s kinda badass, and needs more page time.
Score - 4/5
Plot
Straightforward, for the most part. Girl achieves great things, becomes enslaved and treated like crap, but escapes and finds kind family. She joins the army, where she kicks ass, but not everyone likes or trusts her. She finds an opportunity for revenge, but the stakes are really high, and she must go through hell and back to obtain it.
Score - 3/5
Writing
I know this is an audiobook, but the author (literally) sounds like a fine writer, evoking some nice imagery while breathing life into the various characters, places and things. The narrator was good, doing a nice job with both genders (not always a guarantee), but at times she sounded like one of those old Garmin navigation systems.
Score - 3.5/5
Personal Enjoyment
It was mostly good. As I mentioned, the relationship was a bit too teeny for me (although they are teens), and while this was portrayed as grimdark, and it was somewhat light in done for the most part. Maybe it’s teendarj. In saying that, the author certainly knows how to stick in some nasty stuff, that may cause some readers to veer away. Their loss.
Score - 3.5/5
Verdict
A solid dark fantasy that’s worth a read,
Total Score - 17.5/25


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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fairly neutral

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Didn't really get that interesting to me, between the beginning of the book to be kind of slow and wandering with a lot of it not seeming to be all that relavent as the story went on and the narrator who wasn't bad but just had a voice that didn't keep my attention it wasn't much of a hit for me but it wasn't bad.

WARNING: in case anyone is sensitive there is kidnapping and being held captive in a semi sexual nature.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Fantasy!

Story opens well with excellent vocal pressure from narrator. Plot thickens with steady progression, and grows to an excellent closing with room for a sequel story.
I recommend this audiobook for ages 17 and older due to some adult situations and violence.
I was given this audiobook for free and I freely give it my rating and opinion

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