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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 listeners say about On the Shoulders of Titans

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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.

62 people found this helpful

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Gen-X Conservative not down for spoon fed SJW view

When I listened to the first book I was intrigued by the blend of classical fantasy and litrpg style. I loved Nick Podehl's narration of the story bringing the characters to life. I was really looking forward to the second book.

However, in the second book the author chose to broach the topic of gender identity with the subtly of smacking me in the face with a dead fish. I don't agree with identity politics and I will not tolerate them in my entertainment when they are delivered in such a ham fisted way.

For a YA series I abhor the through of young readers listening to this story and being introduced to the concept of subverting my own observations of objective facts for the subjective views of an individuals choice of gender identity. When I choose to ignore what is in front of me because it offends my sensibility, who will I blame when I run afoul of trouble.

I agree with Robert Frost and I will take the road less traveled by media and acidemia. You cannot tell me to how and what to think. Impress me with your ideas and thoughts and influence my outlook, for I will not allow you to bludgeon me into your way of thinking.

41 people found this helpful

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Unbearable

The protagonist is an entitled narcissistic twit whom the author uses to preach to the reader about gender neutrality.

I urge others to save their time and money by looking for something better.

30 people found this helpful

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Fantastic, in more than one sense

It isn’t often that I encounter fantasy with so many passing nods to nerdy tropes. It’s even less common that the work normalizes inclusion. Not only is Corin likely Ace (possibly spectrum?), but non-binary folx are a normal part of this world. This book also addresses some of Corin’s trauma at the hands of his garbage father. As a genderqueer ace person myself, I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on this series.

13 people found this helpful

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Don't

Book 1, pretty good.
Book 2, so annoying.
Corin is the most annoying main character ever. Every single time he has to physically touch or get touched by someone, he freaks the hell out. And Andrew makes sure you remember corin hates touching people every, dang, time. Also, that whole gender thing was the most cringe thing I have ever listened to. A whole chapter on gender identification bullcrap.
Corin is also very contradictive. Claims to be one of the most antisocial person on the planet and then goes and says that having cake is only best with all your friends.
The world he is creating is very interesting and cool to imagine, and I really do want to see where he takes it, but this book is just so hard to listen to. I honestly hope he does not write another, so that I do not have to go through this garbage again.

P.S. Notice how all the "helpful" reviews are the 1 stars.

12 people found this helpful

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Everything good about the 1st book was thrown away

I cannot understand how such an awful book can come after the first great book in the series. There is so many terrible parts to this book it will be tough to list them all here.
First the author arbitrarily decides to put in a secondary magic system in the book but can’t even explain it or have anybody who uses it without being so broken the story grinds to a halt. What was wrong with the first magic system you made in the first book? You got tired of it?
Next you decide that all the cool things that happened at the end of the last book were too cool so you threw them out. Sarah one of the best characters in the first book can’t even talk for half of this book. She had the coolest powers too. So naturally the author makes her utterly helpless in this book.
I have no idea how many times the stupid MC said “I’ll have to research that later.” He said it in practically ever chapter and never goes back for the info. The info always gets brought up by some other character instead. Speaking of the MC, how is he possibly this stupid? He knows even less about the world than the reader does somehow. He is supposed to be an expert on the spires but that never pans out.
Lastly I don’t understand why this author dropped many of the great subplots from the first book. Why does the patent for his magic device never pan out? No instead of making him self sufficient, let’s just give him magic items from practically every random character he meets. It’s not like we were expecting him to be making things like he did in the first book.
Then we come to the magic swords, the utterly pointless armcandy they carry around for two books and use for like less than ten pages. Why give them the legendary weapons in the first place if they never use them? If I had a legendary blade I’d train to figure it out, then the teachers would have to let them use it during tests. That would have made the main characters actually feel powerful instead of side characters in practically every big battle.
I am so upset by this thrown together mess of a book that I angry, angry at the potential you squandered and threw away from the first book.

12 people found this helpful

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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.

32 people found this helpful

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Departs from the story

Turns into a study on race and gender more then the story itself. I don’t appreciate the author trying to convince/force their opinion on the reader.

7 people found this helpful

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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.

45 people found this helpful

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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.

52 people found this helpful

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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!


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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  • 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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    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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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • james
  • 05-05-21

it's not great.

it's not great but quite long and better than tinnitus. In my opinion I don't think the healer will ever be a real woman.

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  • DES
  • 04-17-21

Great 2nd book

If you enjoyed the first book, then you won’t be disappointed with the 2nd!
Can’t wait for the next instalment.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chica
  • 04-10-21

...It just aint bussin

1st book was BUSSIN. It was interesting, the set up and the plot was just *chefs kiss*

This one..eehhh....not so much. I just can't appreciate this book as much as the 1st one and will be dropping it half way mostly due to two reasons and those are;
1. The forced representation.
I love representation of different groups of people but its just so awkward in this book. Gender Inclusion is cool and all but its so damn forced and wishywashy.
2. The downright awkwardness of the MC.
In the 1st book, I found Corins awkwardness to be interesting, one trait which we could watch him grow out of as he spent more time with his friends and got more in touch with his attunement...but no...every single time that boy has any form of physical contact, WE MUST KNOW HOW HE DESPISES IT EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Flipping hell Corin she touched your flipping hand, dont have a stroke...

BUT DONT GET ME WRONG, the plot, the fighting the lessons all are amazing but Corin just annoying asf.


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  • Martin Grisman
  • 02-17-21

Great narration, decent writing

Andrew Rowe writes very enjoyable characters and an interesting world, and Nick Podehl does an excellent job of narrating the whole story giving great variety to the voices.

That said, the book is not without issues. There seem to be several threads that go nowhere (and past the point where resolving them would be relevant), some passages feel like infodumps posing as a conversation between the main character and another entity, and - most damning in my own eyes - some of the events towards the end of the book seem to ignore several facts for the sake of plot armour. (As in, 'there's no way that was possible, I'm sorry but no', rather than 'they can do that?? Wow!').

Overall I probably will continue the series, at least into the third book. I'll decide from there whether I'm still enjoying the series, but as a sucker for fantasy - and several of the characters - I likely will be.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. B. Jeffs
  • 02-04-21

Info dumps on how to be woke

Mostly good story aside from screeching to a halt to lecture us on pronouns. If you want to normalise the, show it, don't have the annoying MC sit down and explain it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandra Evans
  • 01-09-21

Most enjoyable

Great story and performance. With more plot twists in the world of attuned Happy to recommend.

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

9 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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  • 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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

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    4 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.

3 people found this helpful

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

Immersion destroyed by absurdities.

Every time 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 are often 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.

4 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

7 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.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 04-08-21

Another fine story

WHAT!! You haven't published 'The torch that ignite the stars' yet?? Fortunately I have completed my pre-order. I cannot wait for the next installment.

Looks like I will need to break out into a new series whilst I wait impatiently for book 3. Let's see now... 'Weapons and Wielders' looks like a good diversion.

please don't be late with book 3.

No I'm not desperate... much :-). Awesome read. Thanks Andrew and Nick.