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Publisher's Summary

Lusam grew up in the relative safety of the Elveen mountains with his grandmother. She taught him the basics of magic and discovered, quite by accident, that he possessed a unique skill never seen before: the ability to hide his magical aura from the mage-sight of others.

Dark secrets surround Lusam's origins, and the dark agents of the Empire will stop at nothing to kill Lusam. But before Lusam can be taught all he needed to know about his past, his grandmother unexpectedly dies of a fever, and Lusam finds himself homeless on the unforgiving streets of Helveel. Unbeknown to Lusam, the only thing keeping him alive is a promise he made to his grandmother to always hide his aura, no matter what. Lusam meets and befriends a young thief fleeing her old city of Stelgad before making a magical discovery that will change both their lives forever, and possibly the fate of the entire world.

©2015 Dean Cadman (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,129
  • 4 Stars
    350
  • 3 Stars
    102
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    16

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,135
  • 4 Stars
    298
  • 3 Stars
    77
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    9

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,049
  • 4 Stars
    319
  • 3 Stars
    109
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    19
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Needs work, but has potential

Narration is perfect, demonstrating a commitment to excellence. Storytelling is imaginative and vivid, but some plot holes exist. Writing quality is weak. I did read books 3-4 after listening to this 2-volume audiobook, because the books are free with kindle unlimited. There are expected to be six books in the series.

Told in 3rd person through various viewpoints. Set in a fictional world of kings, castles, mages, dragons, and gods engaged in sibling rivalry. Main characters include a 15-year-old homeless boy, a street girl, a warrior paladin, an evil warlord emperor, etc. The main characters form a fellowship, central to the series.

The hero Lusam develops his powers too fast, too easily. Find an ancient book. Absorb its magical gifts. Lather, rinse, repeat. The romance occurs too easily. The kissing and blushing (and implied sex) gets old. As for the marriage proposal, I was almost shocked at the author’s bad timing, given the circumstances.

On the upside, the warrior paladin (Renn) is totally credible.

The story is engrossing at times. However, the writing quality is just mediocre. A bit too much exposition. Misplaced commas and anachronistic language. Renn seems to only know one way to address people: “old friend” crops up several times in short conversations.

The author repeatedly has the comrades roaring with laughter at things that are barely worth a smirk. Laughing until they cry. Nothing wrong with a simple smile. A smirk. A chuckle. Whatever.

Lusam strangely laughs at painful or discomforting accidents, like getting dunked, or getting dragged through the mud by a galloping horse. Saying that characters laugh does not comedy make.

But the big problem is the Empire’s goal, to open a rift to the Netherworld. Are all these mages suicidal idiots?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Warning is in order

This book is simple. The language and style are about a 4th grade level, as is the plot. I don't think i have rolled my eyes as many times in the last year as i did in the course of this book. The plot twists and progression are astonishingly unbelievable. Direct intervention by gods, more than once, are the kind of plot device used regularly. The author takes an omnipotent view and jumps in and out of every character with abandon, leaving nothing for the reader to ponder except why the author would take such liberties.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

No depth

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

better narrator, more depth, etc.

Has Lusam turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, but I will not be continuing with this series

Would you listen to another book narrated by Alex Wyndham?

If it was a very well written book I could handle listening to Alex, but there are so many out there that are better

What character would you cut from Lusam?

none

Any additional comments?

This is an ok book if you just want a story that you can get to the end of. There is no depth to the story and very little character building in my opinion.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Sadly this is a pretty mediocre book...

What would have made Lusam better?

Much less exposition, greater character depth, less predictable story arcs. Having the main character simply handed all of his powers was also an incredibly trite and frankly silly plot device that really stretched credulity. As others have noted, this is not two books - it's two sections of a book - which I find to be very dishonest advertising. I also found use of words like "force field" to be very off putting, those are not things a medieval culture has ANY conception of, and it could have been handled more creatively and originally in the world. Honestly the whole book suffers from a lack of creativity, polish, and general effort. It isn't awful... it's just very not great. The main villain is also very unbelievable, which is something I always hate.

Has Lusam turned you off from other books in this genre?

Nope.

Which scene was your favorite?

The "surgery" was fairly interesting.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Mild disappointment?

Any additional comments?

The narrator did a good job - each character has a distinct voice, and the emotions of the characters come across. If you are VERY forgiving about cliches and inconsistencies, it's not a terrible book - I've certainly read worse, but I won't be picking up any sequels.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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

Strong Narrator, Weak Novel

Flat characters, dubious interactions between them, unbelievable magic systems that the main character cheats to obtain anyways, and irresponsible and inconsistent writing.

On the positive, the narrator was enjoyable, and it gave me the idea that if this writer can succeed, then why not me? I'll be writing my own book series as well!

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Overly cliche

Good narration, but very childish, simple and cliche writing, maybe that's the target audience and not me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

This is NOT a good story.

I actually looked up the author. I was expecting to find an inspiring story about a middle school child that followed his dream and wrote a fantasy series. No one expected the series to be great, but it was impressive enough for an 11 year old. As it turns out, this was written by an adult. It was obviously written by an adult with no writing experience. I imagine that Dean Cadman read a bunch of fantasy and thought, "I can write this garbage and get paid!"...and so he proceeded to write garbage...and get paid. He gathered every trope possible. He borrowed and stole ideas from much better writers and produced a product with no originality and no real imagination.

The story contains no real character development. The characters are ridiculous caricatures of fantasy staples. There is the ridiculously overpowered teen aged mage-wizard hero/savior with the tragic and clouded backstory (that doesn't really make sense)...and boy scout morality. He instantly falls in love with a in impossibly talented knife-wielding teenage thief/rogue...also with a tragic backstory that makes no sense. The Paladin character...This uber-awesome warrior... is a bit of an idiot that needs tactical direction from the boy-mage.

The teen age couple's relationship makes no sense as well. It's awkward and forced. It feels like it was written by someone that has never been in a real romantic relationship...ever. It's hard to stomach.

The overly powerful mage/wizard-boy doesn't really need training. He doesn't have to earn his skill and knowledge. Thanks to a ridiculous amount of plot armor, the boy finds an abandoned treasure in an abandoned/underground room...underneath his workplace...that gives him all the knowledge he needs to be the greatest mage/wizard in the lands.

The author establishes rules for magic use...but thanks to plot armor, none of these rules apply to the hero. He just casually does the impossible and is annoyed that everyone else has rules and questions why he doesn't need to follow them.

The bad guys are just so evil! They wear black cloaks and shiny pendants...but the good guys can't seem to pick them out of a group...except for our hero of course...because rules don't apply to him. He can read their auras differently than everyone else.

Their goddess hasn't been seen in hundreds of years...but she shows up for our hero.

The bad guys worship a baddy that wants to destroy everything...because...ummm...stupidity?

The repetitive writing is enough to drive someone batty. It's almost as if the Dean Cadman is playing a game. He picks a single word and decides to see how many times can repeat that word in a paragraph. A sample might look like this:

Hero Mage/Wizard needed to put his boots on quickly. Hero's boots were in the corner, so hero ambled purposely over to his boots. Hero noticed his boots were surprisingly dirty. Hero put the boots on his feet resignedly, hoping the dirt on his boots would shake off on his walk to his destination.

Oh yeah...and almost ever action needs an adverb. Hero can't just put his boots on. Hero need to happily, resignedly, quickly, stupidly, tightly put his boots on. No one just chuckles or grins...not without an adverb. Actually, come to think of it, almost every action needs a belly laugh according to the author.

This story stunk. I was disappointed with the glowing reviews of this book series. I can only guess that the listeners who gave 4 and 5 stars are friends of Dean Cadman or have no experience with talented story-telling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Love it.

I really enjoyed listening these books. I can't wait until books three and four are available on audible as well.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Great Story

I like the story line and character build in this story. Narration is also good. I would recommend this to others. Looking forward to book 3.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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

Amusing, but not the best written book.

There are quite a few things in the story that just don't make any sense. I don't want to give away any spoilers so I won't list them. The dialogue, and narrative, seem a bit amateurish. I would not recommend purchasing this audiobook, unless you get it on sale like I did. I'm kind of regretting my decision to purchase the next couple of books before listening to the first one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • craig
  • 03-13-17

Compelling listening!!

Eagerly anticipating the next instalment of this series. I especially like the multi angle approach to the story and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Would recommend to anyone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • NicE
  • 06-14-17

Maddening poorly written

What disappointed you about Lusam?

Really poorly written. Firstly, it is a garden variety "child with amazing powers that doesn't know his importance and living on the streets". Nothing new to see here.

The second is the sheer poor writing. Everything is spelt out as if they were writing for someone with a memory of a goldfish. Also, there is a huge amount of unnecessary repetition. Thoughts about a subject are then repeated verbatim when talking to another character. It happens in smaller ways. "The knife flew through the air and thudded into his chest. He looked at the knife that had thudded into his chest".
Needed a good editor to tighten up the writing.

Would you ever listen to anything by Dean Cadman again?

Unlikely, unless his writing skills improve considerably.

Which character – as performed by Alex Wyndham – was your favourite?

None really, they were all very one dimensional.

What character would you cut from Lusam?

I wouldn't cut them, just make them more believable.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sam
  • 11-21-17

Just awful.

I wouldn’t normally write something like this but as I paid full retail price for, albeit two books and a teaser of the third in one, I expected a much higher level of writing.
Spoilers. Obviously.
Apologies if I misspell any character or place names as I have not seen the print edition.
 
Plot
I found the plot tolerable but horribly derivative. The story follows a group of protagonists including a mage, rogue, paladin and eventually an archer whose adversaries are a heartless guild of assassin/thieves and a group of necromancers. It’s essentially a party plucked out of any fantasy video game or D&D campaign.
Lusam himself is a cookie cutter super hero chosen by destiny. Raised in isolation, unaware of his immense power, by a faux grandparent he lives a humble life in the forest. Scared for his survival his ‘grandmother’ convinces him to conceal his abilities and does not train him, but don’t worry he finds a magic book to download all sorts of grand sorcery into his brain later on. This also saves any time explaining how he actually performs any magic and instead he can just cast spells at will.
Lusam ticks just about every Mary Sue box there is and then some, so virtuous and well raised he lived as a street urchin for two years and refused to steal to feed himself. Lusam always makes the right decision over one that might humanise him and make the character more believable. There will presumably be some extravagant reveal where he is a ‘dragon mage’, or some other supernatural being, and the cornerstone of world survival in a later book that I will not be reading.
The paper thin cult of antagonists (led by lord evil fantasy name generator) may as well have been named the hooded, devil worshiping, demon summoning group of evil. There is a feeble attempt to humanise their interactions by repeated mentions of a family to return to, but they’re bleak and infrequent at best.
Other popular tropes include a forced love story, faux medieval Europe and shapeshifting deities.
I could go on.
 
Writing
This is where the book really fails. The author commits the unforgiveable sin of relaying all the information in long walls of text and through detailed tellings of backstories rather than allowing them to progress organically throughout the novel. We know Lusams entire upbringing from a chapter telling us, it’s far more interesting to let it out in drips during dialogue rather than tip the entire bucket on the reader as early as possible. In addition to this, we are told everything that goes on around the characters rather than showing us, allow us to use our own imagination.
Examples:
“He quickly reduced the temperature within his forcefield and began to freeze the water inside. As the water froze it quickly expanded within the fissure, creating a great force that pushed against both sides of the rock. Until, finally, it split with a loud cracking sound.”
Don’t tell us what is happening to the rock. Show us. The rock cracked like a hatching egg. Shards of rock crumbled from the shell and exposed the block of ice that forced itself through the gaps like an overstuffed sausage. Etc. You get the idea.

 
 
“The boy deftly caught the coin in mid-air.”
The boy snapped the coin from the air like a frog catching a fly.
 
I’ve been presented first drafts asking for advice and editing that have been more formulated than this. Words are repeated sometimes as many as five times in a few lines. I even transcribed a couple of examples.
‘Barrel’
“Skelly walked over to the huge barrel on the left and removed a knife from his belt. He reached around the side of the huge barrel and put his knife into the groove of one of the steel hoops that held the barrel together. There was a loud click and the entire lid of the barrel swung inwards creating a huge round doorway. Hanging inside the barrel were three lantern…”
‘Shield’
“As each blast struck his shield he knew if he was only shielding himself that it would have affected him much less, but with such a large area to protect it quickly sapped his strength. Blast after blast pounded at his shield as they ran on towards their goal. At one point he turned and fired a shot back at his pursuers, only to see it fizzle on their shield with little or no effect. Noticing the bombardment intensify on his shield…”
 
The author may well have been trying to get in every adverb in the dictionary for all we know. Characters could not perform the simplest tasks without doing them slowly, quickly, curiously, gingerly, sheepishly, amiably, suspiciously, briskly, confidently etc. Count the amount of times the group does something ‘quietly’ in the chapter where they infiltrate the Hawk’s Guild. A lot of the times these are just unnecessary. We don’t need to know that Skelly got off the horse quicklyor walked over to Neela slowly. At one point Zed even grins evilly.
 
Rant over. I didn’t want to write such a negative review of this, but I really expected more from Audible when I could have paid the same price and received a Lord of The Rings book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • arron hardiman
  • 07-06-17

Couldn't get past two hours

While the premise of the story and background of lucam seems interesting nothing else does. he has magical abilities that he can apparently do anything with.
He doesn't know any spells, so the author gives him a magical brain download.
Two preteen meet before the girl murders someone else in cold blood, they fall in love within 2 chapters.

also the narrator seems to think that making every single character sound gentile and polite makes sense. when the two main characters are meant to be orphaned street kids. a cliche which while overused can at least lead to interesting stories. this one does not.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rosie
  • 06-24-17

great fun

really easy listening great characters and good story. not to intense or violent. Can't wait to listen to the next book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Glenn C.
  • 03-19-17

Absolutely amazing!!

What a fantastic audio book - the story is gripping and wants you to hear more and is told with great passion and enthusiasm- can't wait for the next one!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynne
  • 10-20-18

Addictive

These are really good books, I have enjoyed the story so much I’ve bought the other three in the series.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shane
  • 08-13-18

Good but

The author does tend to over explain proceedings. A lot of over explaining an action etc. But overall a great story/tale.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-05-18

Great Story

love it! Great preforming of narrator(thank u) it is a pleasure to listen. On the end of 3rd book now and can't wait for next one witch is already purchased. Well recommended!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • patrick gibson
  • 09-25-17

Great book

A good performance that grows on you as more characters voices are introduced. The magical storey is great too! looking forward to book 3.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicola
  • 10-28-17

Great Listen highly recommend

I have really enjoyed this book unable to stop listening the narration is great too. I hope Dean keeps writing more stories - don't change please.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nicholas
  • 08-19-17

Got as far as chapter 3 then gave up.

What disappointed you about Lusam?

The characters are incredibly unrealistic considering their situation with the author taking far too many plot conveniences regarding the story. If you can suspend your disbelief you’ll find that the narrator is decent enough, but I don’t recommend this to anyone wanting an engaging story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-23-18

Mehh

The narrator is absolutely horrid. His constant tonal inflections are incredibly hard to stomach, which make this audiobook almost unbearable to listen to.
The story line itself is great, the concept heads in the right direction.
However the actual story itself meanders needlessly and is extremely predictable.
At times it seems the author is doing a good job guiding the story and then it rapidly changes and seems as though it was written by a 10 year old..
Strange indeed..

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gabrielle
  • 01-06-18

For young people

Written and read for a young audience perhaps? I found the narration very stilted and distraction.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sweetheart1
  • 12-15-17

Hard to listen to

I found the narration on the audible book very hard to listen to at first. But perseverance and a great story line got me through.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bradley
  • 07-19-17

A good read

This is a really good book that I've been listening to and I'm Keen to listen to the next one

1 of 2 people found this review helpful