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Publisher's Summary

Nathan, who has been plagued with a strange and dangerous curse since he can remember, just wants a normal life. His brother, Luca, wants nothing to do with normal. When they fall through a portal and end up on a foreign world with magic, monsters, and gods, Nathan realizes that normal is relative.

In a world where names are power, a book has been stolen that can destroy more than just Syndrial. Being safe from the book puts him in the path of two powerful forces, both of which have no problem using his brother against him. To protect Luca and get home alive, Nathan will have to master magic, find the Book of Names, and defeat a devastating enemy.

©2017 Rain Oxford (P)2017 Rain Oxford

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Average Customer Ratings

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

Brothers Battle for a world not their own

This is a story about two brothers we get transported to a world where magic is real and they might fight to save it. While this might be a typical story in fantasy nowadays, you are right. You've probably read a dozen fantasy books about people from Earth sucked away to a mystical land. BUT, you've never seen a world like this.

The magic system here is pretty cool, and while true names have always been a thing in fantasy, the way that real and secret names are used is pretty cool. Also, unlike most fantasy styled books this has an Egyptian flair. that helps to make it tonally different from standard fantasy tales.

The book sucks you in quickly, and keeps your attention with a series of twists and turns that you don't see coming. The main character has to make a lot of hard choices, and his last decision is a killer.

The narration is solid, performed well, and does not detract from the story at all. I've gotten some older audiobooks, and there the important thing was to just enunciate clearly. Bennett does the story and characters justice. I will certainly look for other things he has done.

I actually got this book after I had gotten the second in the series. I haven't listened to that yet, but will start it soon. That said, if I hadn't known there was a sequel I would have been very satisfied with how the book ended. It could have been a solo stand alone novel and worked just as well. In other words, in spite of knowing there would be a sequel, Oxford tied up his story lines, and I appreciate that a great deal. I hate books that leave a lot unclosed, but takes years for the next book to come out.

Get this book, you will be happy with everything, and once you are sucked in you will want the next book in the series.

4 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
  • Trisha
  • Arkansas, USA
  • 02-15-18

Wonderful book

If you've listen to The Sorcerer's Saga, this is a great spin off of the series. Many of the characters we have met in that series are also in this one.

If you haven't listened to that series, this is a great stand alone series. There's action and fantasy. A perfect blend of it for me. If you pick this one up and like this one, do yourself a favor and also get The Sorcerer's Saga series. It's worth it.

I loved the family dynamic that Oxford developed in this book. I kept questioning what would happen in the book because of the brotherly love that was in the book. I can't wait for more in the series.

Also, Bennett does an amazing job with this book. He has got to be one of my favorite narrators of all time.

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

A new take on Egyptian gods... and magic:)

Rain Oxford is a new author for me - and I will definitely look for more books from her.

Book of Names starts in a seemingly classic way: brothers Nathan and Luca are trying to find a way to escape from a wizard's tower - or the wizard will kill them. What we don't know at first is that this is not a real wizard and not a real wizard's tower, it's just an escape room the brothers are testing for their friends. This is only the first surprise that awaits the reader/listener on the way throughout the book. The real story starts, though, when Nathan and Luca unexpectedly travel through a portal and find themselves in an alien world of Syndrial, where ancient Egyptian gods are a reality, where words do carry power, and where your name really defines who you are... Thrown in the middle of an on-going battle for power, forced to become an unwilling saviour of the new world, Nathan must learn fast to control what magic he has while trying to protect Luca, finding out the rules governing the culture of Syndrial and avoiding being killed himself - all this while preparing to fight and kill a mysterious spellcaster called Painter... quite a lot to do in a very short span of time, really:)
The world of Syndrial created by Rain Oxford is both complex and fascinating, with elements of ancient Egyptian culture and religion thrown into the picture. The book, a fast-paced magical adventure full of plot turning points, besides being a well-developed fantasy tale also touches on issues such as discrimination, child abuse, morality... And it does that in a subtle, unobtrusive way, leaving space for the reader/listener to think those issues over and absorb them... I like that a lot.
I also like the fact that although it is the first in a series, it doesn't end with a ciff-hanger but has a certain satisfying kind of closure. It doesn't force you to read on to find out what happened to the main characters - but encourages you to do that in a very clever way:)

As for the narration by Mr. J. Scott Bennett, it's very good. In his interpretation each of the characters is recognizable and their emotions are conveyed impeccably. Also, the pace of his reading is perfect for the listener not to lose focus.



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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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

Fascinating tale...so much better than I expected!

I loved this story! It's so much better than I expected it to be! I couldn't stop listening and I've already downloaded the 2nd book! It's very well written and the narration is amazing. If you enjoy books full of action, mystery, magic, mythology, etc. then you don't want to miss this one! I highly recommend!!!!! I received a review copy at my request and voluntarily reviewed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Book of Names

Book of Names was an entertaining read. Rain is always a beautiful writer, so the scenes are vivid and clear, you can really ‘see’ them in your mind. There are lots of exciting fantasy elements like magic, time travel, creatures and even Ancient Egyptian Mythology. The world building was well done and very interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world. I have to admit I am a huge fan of Egyptian Mythology (to the extent of doing course work at University), so it was fantastic to have it play a large role in this story. I also liked the idea of the two distinct types of magics and their different applications. The concept of the Book of Names was cool as well, I love magical books in stories (esp ones that fight back like in HP or Unseen University).

The beginning of the book is very fun, and you get to see the close bond between the brothers. Although the elements of the book are magic and fantasy, the core of the story for me was the love and loyalty between the brothers, Nathan and Luca. Whenever there is trouble each brother is always thinking of the other first, and are only focused on making sure the other is safe. I also loved the abilities that the boys have in the real world (doing escape rooms, writing, research, etc) are all played as strengths in the fantasy world. I enjoyed all the pop culture references between the brothers, they showed how families interact and have their family inside jokes. It also made the differences between life on Earth and life on Syndrial stand out, as the reader can relate to the boys’ life on Earth with all the familiar references in contrast to the stark antediluvian world of Syndrial.

The narrative is told mainly from Nathan’s POV, but there is some backstory that is given by another character later. Generally I’m not a big fan of switching back and forth between characters in a first person narrative, but this was well done and provided a really important understanding of another pivotal character.

The end of the story is darker and takes on a much more serious tone. I really wasn’t expecting how it played out, and had it running around my head trying to process it after I finished. This is one of the few times in my reading history where I honestly did not see the plot twists coming, so there were lots of surprises. The story did have a firm ending, but there is definitely a need for more books and hopefully soon!

Narration: J. Scott Bennet did his usual great job narrating. He has excellent pacing and tone, so the story moves along in a manner that keeps the action exciting yet still keeps the slower parts interesting. Scott has a great technique of injecting the emotion into the story, so you really hear what the characters are feeling. He is on my list of talented narrators.

I received Book of Names: Casters of Syndrial Book 1 free in exchange for an unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

an amazing journey of pain and magic.

this was an amazing book! Rain Oxford and j. Scott Bennett are an amazing combination bringing a world full of magic to life! The revelations took me by almost complete surprise! the issues hit upon made it so relatable and realistic. I can't wait for book 2!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great new fantasy

I really enjoyed this captivating fantasy story; it was complex with twists and surprises, as well as having great characters, humour and unusual magic. Your heart breaks at some points and you can not help but feel sad for what brought them to where they are and choices they made. Even though this is the first in a series, it is still a stand-alone story, and the author has managed to successfully blend characters and aspects of his other works, “The Sorcerers Saga,” with this story; forming further depth to an already great world. The narrator was perfect for the audiobook, he made the characters seem real and you could feel their emotions in his intonation and tone. He also further solidified the links between the two different stories by using the same voices for the characters the two series have in common. I really enjoyed this story and will look forward to future audiobooks in this series

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Nothing is as itappears

Synopsis:
The brothers Nathan and Luca are mysteriously transported to a foreign world which is very different to Earth. The new (to them) world is called Syndrial, and it is ruled by priests and gods and goddesses. 

Nathan finds that he has magic, and that he is considered to be the saviour of this world if he can learn to control his magic and find a powerful book: the book of names.

He and Luca face great danger in trying to achieve that goal.

What I think:
Although the idea that the real, secret names hold power, and that whoever knows them can wield power over the person holding them is not a novel idea, the way it is presented in this book is novel and intriguing. 

Syndrial is a colourful world, and it is a world of inequality. The ruling priests pretty much do what they want, and they don't shy away from being very cruel in order to get even more powerful. The gods don't usually interfere, and it is up to a couple of semi-gods to stop the priests. 

I was drawn into the book right from the start, and there wasn't a dull moment. 

There are very many twists and turns, and nothing is as it appears. Poor Nathan has to learn the hard way, and in the end he has to make a very difficult decision about a loved one. 

Scott Bennett did a marvellous job at narrating the story, his characters were convincing, his pace exactly right, just the way I like it. 

Going by the subtitle (Casters of Syndrial, Book 1) it seems to be the start of a series; however, it can well be read as a standalone -- there's no mean cliffhanger, which is great.

This was my first book by both the author and the narrator, and I'll certainly check out more of their works. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this audio book and I chose to willingly post an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

Great story, interesting world(s), I want book 2!

This was my first exposure to Rain Oxford and J. Scott Bennet. I am happy to say that I will be adding this author and narrator to my list!

Book of Names was a great start to a series i now plan to follow. Something to keep in mind is that it starts out pretty light-hearted but does turn a bit dark in the last third of the book. The book wraps up in a satisfying manner and I am definitely interesting in hearing what happens next!

For the narrator, J. Scott Bennett (in this presentation) doesn't have as much variation in voices as some narrators do but the entire performance was pleasant and I thought the delivery was more than acceptable. I'm looking forward to hearing more by this narrator.

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

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great book

What did you love best about Book of Names?

Amazing book.
I loved this book very much, the writer brought the world of magic to a new level.
Its ability to involve incredible worlds. An excellent book that requires concentration.

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

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Norma Miles
  • 01-07-18

Denial is just a river in Egypt.

Nathan and his younger adoptive brother are very close. With the only parents they ever knew both dead, Nathan protects Luca whilst Luca just tries to make his brother happy. Both are students, and though Luca has an interest, it seems, in just about everything often switching courses, Nathan wants to write books, be an author. But he has felt cursed for almost as long as he can remember, bad things happening not to him but to the people close to him. On the way home one evening the brothers see graffiti painted on the ground at the entrance to a lane they were about to enter, then, stepping into it, everything changes and they fall into a different place, a different world, one where magic and gods exist in everyday life. And Nathan's life is forever changed.

Book of Names is an extremely well written story, often very humerous (especially in the first half), with excellent main protagonist characterisation and conversation. It is a gentle mystery and thriller with unexpected twists and the world building is visual. Yes, there's magic as Nathan learns of his potential and starts training to control the powers he never previously knew that he had. But it is far more than a story of Wizard's and spells, it is about relationships, perception and trust.

As always, J.Scott Bennett's narration is excellent,. his perfectly paced reading expressing the wonderment and terrors inherent in the story. He is the voice of the often bemused Nathan, whose love for his brother is paramount. All characters are distinctly and subtly voiced, also, and his performance overall greatly adds to the enjoyment of the book.

I am rarely a fan of fantasy and magic, but this one is special for this reader. Combined with the empathy instilled for the two transported brothers, and Nathan in particular, there is also a shifting of perceptions, a re-evaluation of the character of others and the consideration in basic form, of what constitutes right or wrong, good and evil, or are these "only differences of opinions"? Simply written, easy to read, this is a book I am happy to recommend to anyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • J Smith
  • 01-09-18

Waiting on the next book!

Would you listen to Book of Names again? Why?

Yes. Probably as a refresher once the rest in the series are released.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Was a nice performance, although the narrator didn’t distinguish between a lot of the characters as well as some other narrators I’ve come across.

Any additional comments?

This is an unbiased review of a free review copy. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come and was disappointed when I got to the end to realise there wasn’t yet a follow on.