On the Shoulders of Titans

Arcane Ascension, Book 2
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Series: Arcane Ascension, Book 2
Length: 24 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (12,113 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Corin Cadence finally has a firm reason to believe his brother, Tristan, is still alive. Unfortunately, finding more information isn’t going to be easy. Tristan appears to be entangled with a clandestine organization that calls themselves Whispers. And Corin’s last brush with the Whispers didn’t exactly end well.

As much as he wants to follow that lead, Corin has more pressing problems to deal with. Sera is still suffering from a mysterious malady that has stolen her voice and her magic. Corin knows that a portion of that is his fault, and he’s determined to fix it. His mother is still off in another country, and there are growing odds that she’s involved with a conspiracy to overthrow the visages.

Corin has also been branded with a new magical mark on his right hand - one that even veteran climbers don’t seem to recognize. He’s going to need to figure out how it works, otherwise it could be more of a vulnerability than an asset.

Corin still hasn’t finished his first year at Lorian Heights. If he fails his final exams, he’ll be sent off to the military and lose his chance to investigate his brother’s fate. And finally, there’s the issue of enemies. He might have made a few of them.

The biggest problem? He’s not sure if Jin, once one of his closest companions, is one of them.

©2018 Andrew Rowe (P)2019 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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

Fills a void.

I was super excited for the second book in the series with the ramp up of the previous. I just couldn't get into this one the same way. There was interesting magic, a few exciting scenes, but it was also very fluffy and dragged in many parts. Corin can get very annoying, and it starts to grate on you. I'm not saying to skip it, but don't expect the same excitement as the first book.

42 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Agenda detracted from the narrative

I think the main plot is great, but there was too much emphasis on the gender neutral topics and a lot of the emotions came off as forced. I enjoy the battle between gods and men, but I also feel like this could start to detract into unreal situations. Kindness and being friendly to fight your way to the top just comes off unrealistic. There are good aspects, especially in book one, but not keen on the second books narrative focus.

23 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Well, yea...

I wanted to like this. I love Nick Podehl's work. After I finished one of his narrations I looked to see more of his work. Found this series and got both books. The rating for it was quite high. While the world was well built. Some of the characters were likable. Unfortunately the likable characters were not the main ones. The sexual orientation and gender neutral elements seemed forced. It feels like the gender war parts were a pushed in as after taught. I should of read more reviews before getting both books.

41 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Really wanted to love this

World building is great, characters are unessessarily annoying. That's what makes it really difficult to review this book. There're many times in throughout these first two books where I just mentally cringe at what the main character says and does thinking to myself what? That's not something anyone would actually do or say especially if they are supposed to be some super shy introvert who doesn't like other people. It feels like every other thought he had was thinking about how someone was gonna feel about him doing something which really contradicts his whole supposed introvert persona. Also on the thought on contradictions there are many things that just absolutely made me stop listening and think "wait did he say that he was an unfit bookworm when he had been supposedly training for the past 3 years" only then to have him say later in book 2 that he was fit from training his whole life. It's just things like that, that absolutely ruins and takes you out of the world. Overall characters are one dimensional and hoping for that to change in the next book because the world and magic system has alot of potential to be interesting.

26 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great Story. Distracting elements.

Author deeply interested in pressing an agenda within the story. It was very distracting.

Ending seemed rushed and a bit inconsistent with some of the "power level" rules established throughout.

Nick could read me a cookbook and I'll sit for every word.

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

well performed, good story

Wish there was more, climatic battle not as epic as last one. Feels like a foundation or bridging book to the overall story.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The author tries awfully hard to be hip and modern

The author likes to talk about using gender-neutral pronouns, and mixes in our cultural biases without any explanation of how it fits into the fantasy society. It's often distracting and haphazard at best. Sarah seems more likable than our main protagonist. Other than that the story is good for the most part. Neat ideas and directions are taken that makes the story still enjoyable. I just wish our author introduced the society a little better, it just takes away from the story when you add in random modern day political beliefs into a fantasy story without even doing it smoothly. I read these kinda of books to get away from all the political stuff on TV today. Not be reminded of it again in a random way that doesn't even fit with a medievalish society.

109 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Eh...

This book was disappointing after the first one. Never hooked my interest. Also I am all for characters with diverse sexual orientations, but I do not think that that should be a characters defining characteristic. It feels like the author would rather push a agenda rather than tell a story.

36 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great continuation, just as good as the first.

First off, I think that the other readers who are giving this story 2-3 and even some 1 stars because they are complaining about the political view on genders have completely allowed their prejudice to cloud the splendor of the story. To be clear I am a straight man and literally could not care less about gender politics. For people on the fence about this because of those reviews, I would like to offer that the entire portion other people are complaining about is all of 3-5 minutes long and is literally talked about twice for less than 3 minutes each time. Although I can clearly see how this reflects the authors views and the current political climate I am amazed that people are giving this excellent story such low reviews for all of 4 minutes of audio and one character being nonchalantly referred to as they or them instead of him or her (literally completely unobtrusively) and in addition to that although it was not the most graceful way to include a quick opinion the author does use an at least semi viable way to bring the subject up and uses it in the context of the story. It still feels a little bit forced but I don't think it is as horrible as some reviewers would like you to believe. If you are like me and don't care much for what people want to call themselves or don't really care about politics and other peoples made up problems then i think the story is well worth listening to and is a great successor to the first, and the issue that other reviewers are bringing up is not even enough to make this 4 stars instead of 5. It's like literally .00001% of the story.

As for the actual book, if you liked the first one, you will like this one. More of the mystery unraveled! More mysteries introduced! Epic battles! Structured magic! If you liked the first one this is easily 5-stars. I love that the main character uses intelligence to solve issues with a limited set of hard rules and tools. It's so different compared to some books where the character has a ton of unfair advantages. I have listened to tons and tons of litrpg and although this is a bit more light-rpg I think that this is one of the top books and is very entertaining on top of being well-written, much moreso than many other books in this sphere. Highly recommend.

45 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Way too much focus on "woke" themes

The first book in the series was OK. The author tends to spend a lot of time on unnecessarily long monologues that don't advance the story. I decided to give the second book a try to see if his writing improved. This was a big mistake. Big chunks of the book are filled with completely unnecessary monologues and descriptions of socially progressive woke themes that are awkward and add no value to the story. As a result, they're incredibly distracting an annoying. This includes a insane 20 minute long segment describing a transvestite. Don't waste your time or money on the book. It just doesn't work.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Maks
  • 04-26-19

It’s fine, Nick Podehl is a BIG plus.

The story is fine, although Corrins behaviour can be a bit frustrating at times. He gets easily sidetracked and his social awkwardness can be a bit annoying at times but I guess that’s the way Andrew wanted it. My two favourite characters are Lord Teft and Karis and Nick have them the perfect voices. Overall the book is fine, after reading book one I don’t imagine not reading this one as it answers a few questions from the previous one, it’s also quite long which was a definitely a plus for me. The only thins I would change would be the MC but besides that everything would stay the same.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • stephen carrigg
  • 04-25-19

good listen

ill be short here , the first book started so badly i wondered for a while if i should get this one . Iam glad i did it was way better than book 1 !

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 11-21-19

Great story, Main character got on my nerves

Start with the good -
I like the story. The magic system is interesting, although I think the whole 'School' thing is a bit too Harry-Potter-esque, but I did like that it was basically a literary dungeon crawler.

Now for the bad part - Sorry Author.
The main character was really really annoying. I reckon the author was projecting his own insecurities into him, but I don't know.

So the main character is socially awkward, and doesn't understand social cues and avoids other people if he can. Doesn't drink at all. Doesn't really care about romance or sex, because he's focused on his selfless goal, and intellectual pursuits. He hates physical contact - Not a big deal normally, but it's mentioned literally every single time someone touches his shoulder or he takes someones hand. He is smart - as can be seen from the stuff he does, but his school grades don't reflect that because the teachers and exams are biased, and don't take note of all of the new discoveries that a mere teenager is making (another annoyance) in a world that has had this magic for hundreds of years.
Basically, he is the personification of the standard Redditors self-image. I think my main point was that a lot of these traits don't develop the character in any positive way. They just make him sound whiney and annoying and none of these traits help to move the story along at all, other than to 'ex machina' the reasons why a teenager who is living away from a pretty strict and oppressive home for the first time isn't checking out girls/boys of their own age like normal people do. Some parts feel forced enough that is almost like the author only realised the omission later, and needed to show-horn in an explanation and so used his own experiences to fill the gap. This may go a little ways in explaining how the only people who get along with the main character is a family member, an old friend, a social outcast and an exchange student - Everyone else in the school is depicted as sneaky/suspicious or a straight-up jerk.
Then there is the gender neutral stuff. There was a whole section where it's explained that some people choose their gender and it's normal in their country. Same as the main characters traits, it did not add to the story at all. It was a pointless affectation which was clearly the author using the book as a soapbox for his own direct opinions - It was just so..... Out of sync with the universe.

All that being said - The Narrator is amazing, I forget that it's one person doing all the voices sometimes!
I'm getting the next book in the series now, as the story is good, and I'm invested enough to see past the main character!


1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jake Green
  • 10-05-19

excellent!

highly recommend for any Harry Potter, Grimnoir fans or other magic lovers.

Fantastic concepts, few funny moments as well as thrilling. One you'll find difficult not to binge on.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rich L
  • 11-05-19

Fantastic sequel, incredible narrator

And now, we wait for book 3. Book 2 had a slower start but came back even stronger with the world building, mechanic details and character development. Lots of moments of tension made this a page turner.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Derek
  • 09-12-19

Enchanting

I got well involved in the story, totally brilliant book I loved all of it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Callum McDougall
  • 09-10-19

good story with a fantastic performance

the performance really elevated this from an enjoyable listen to being unable to stop listening, highly recommend

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-24-19

The story just gets better and better...

Loved this book, unlike the first in the series I fell straight into this one, after the first two chapters are done with its hard to click pause...I listen to them on long drives and I found myself parking up at home and sitting in the car for long periods of time as I couldn't bring myself to leave the book until the chapter ended. Luke Podehl yet again brings another masterpiece to life with his range of vocals and characterisation that I am yet to see rivaled. 10/10!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 08-16-19

Sjw really ruins immersion

Very little time spent in the spire, cheese low quality writing, just a bit frustrating really.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shaun coulton
  • 06-24-19

great book

love it enjoyed it to the very end and now I'm looking for a follow on

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-19

Lacking a sense of adventure

There is no major goals, no major challenges and no real mystery. This book has replaced any excitement with a bloated highschool drama and gender politics. I found myself becoming irritated with the main character and his endless reasoning in a way that didn't happen in the first book. If you enjoyed the first book but wished it focussed more on the school, then you'll love this. Otherwise, skip it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-30-19

Perfect story and performance

Andrew Rowe and Nick Podehl are exceptional together, the writing of the Arcane Ascension books are phenomenal and Nick Podeh'ls performance really enhances the immersion, I sincerely can't wait until the release of book 3!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nafees
  • 03-12-19

here they be magic

Good sequel, only problem with the story is over explaining, eg: fight happens, magic that was previously explained or enough information is given for you to follow and be surprised but author goes through detailing the magic again.
This book is really for people who really like magic systems, author leaves no stone unturned with possible applications and drawbacks
Also did notice characters are starting to sound the same when explaining things, and especially strange how almost everyone just willingly explains things at length to the main character

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carl
  • 01-19-19

Annoying modern gender politics

Story is decent but, the constant gender issues being brought into the story is dull and unnecessary. Its getting beyond silly now, would not even be surprised if in the next book Jin turns out to be a girl confusing Coren even more.

7 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • john
  • 01-18-19

Disappointing

Its a fantasy story where people are trying to kill/hurt each other yet we are being 'preached" about using gender neutral pronouns. If i wanted a social politics book i would of bought one.
Yes it does take away from the overall story because theres whole chapters that are pretty much about social politics.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-19

An enjoyable story, but not without faults

The last 1/3 of the book was great and I very much enjoyed what the author came up with. However that does not mean that I enjoyed the entire book, the first 2/3's are honestly a chore. It is mainly devoted to exposition, magic theory and recap of magic theory. Now that is not exactly a bad thing but it does bog the story down quite a bit with very meaty sections of dialogue that goes nowhere.

I also was not overly thrilled that the author chose to infuse gender politics into the story. While I personnally have no issue with adding such characters into books, and I actually found this particular one to be one of the most entertaining, That does not mean that I'm okay with devoting such a large section of a chapter to explaining the concept of gender politics in a book about magic, gods and monsters....I would have much rather they just carry on like it wasn't an issue ( maybe with a brief description) and continue on with the plot, instead of slamming the breaks to break down the culture of gender politics in the region. It was rather jarring to be frank.

On a lighter note the last 1/3 was very good and made it worth while. Nick Podehl was amazing as always and I forever look forward to listening to more of his work.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-16-19

Too much social politics

It's a shame the author created a character to hand fist his gender politics to the reader because it detracts from an otherwise good and intriguing story

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Tactictoe
  • 05-22-19

Immersion destroyed by absurdities.

Everything the narrator says 'they' you stop listening for a moment to figure out who is being talked about and consider the possibility that you missed something. Arbitrary rules created suddenly to explain away the possibility of something that makes no sense considering everything that came before it. I got through the first book on the interesting magic system, it was not made interesting enough to hold up the second.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Toran
  • 03-17-19

at times great, others painful or boring

some parts are interesting, like when you get to learn more about the magic and world, new attunements etc. but the writing for the most part was bland and not well executed, plenty of it didn't move plot along, many fights were entertaining but ultimately felt cheap with no real sense of danger. the absolute worst bit though is how jarring and forced the gender identity issues are. they're shoved down your throat fairly early in and seem so out of place. from that point on every time that person is called "they" it's a reminder of it that stops you from ever being fully immersed back into the story. overall it was entertaining, but really not that good.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tania D.
  • 04-18-20

simple writing, enjoyable world building

it would be nice if it was edited more to reduce repetitive information and some simple and sometimes also repetitive language, bit the world and magic foundation that has been developed is enjoyable