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Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Arcane Ascension, Book 1
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Series: Arcane Ascension, Book 1
Length: 21 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22,782 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Five years ago Corin Cadence's brother entered the Serpent Spire - a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire's trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire's goddess.

He never returned.

Now it's Corin's turn. He's headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

If he can survive the trials, Corin will earn an attunement, but that won't be sufficient to survive the dangers on the upper levels. For that he's going to need training, allies, and a lot of ingenuity.

The journey won't be easy, but Corin won't stop until he gets his brother back.

©2017 Andrew Rowe (P)2017 Podium Publishing

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    2 out of 5 stars

Lackluster

Book has interesting concepts but main character is needlessly ignorant of many seemingly well known concepts in the world. For a person who was privately trained to be a magical warrior he seems to have missed a large portion of the magical part. Was hard to keep listening and finally dropped it when the author randomly added a love path with an interesting character out of no where for seemingly no reason or purpose.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Feels like an RPG

In most magic based series it's hard to understand how strong/skilled a person really is and even harder to truly understand their growth. This author made it a whole lot easier by giving us actual numbers and words any gamer could easily understand.

One of the reviews here states the reader couldn't get passed a certain point because the protagonist of the series isn't remotely as skilled with magic as the reader assumed he would be based on the characters background, I happen to disagree, but maybe we understood that background a little differently.

The main character grew up in a family famous for being very skilled in regards to dueling. In fact it is their militaristic prowess that helped them become nobles in the first place, the author makes it clear that the character was pulled out of public school to be privately trained for the previous 5 years in the art of dueling. And one could assume this meant magic too, but reading onward you should realize that until they receive an attunement magicians are fairly weak and have little to no useful skills. Thus, the character was brought up as a "melee" duelist, he happens to be far more skilled than most of his peers in terms of physical combat. Not magic although he certainly has potential.

I'm not in any way a writer so please pardon any grammatical errors, I have also begun the second book so I'll stop here to avoid any spoilers. Give this series a shot, I definitely believe it deserves it.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't make it through the whole book

Any additional comments?

I got to chapter 9 and just had to quit. (minor spoilers follow)

Let me explain the problem: The main character is the son of a noble house known specifically for their ability to fight and win in magical duels, and his parents are particularly famous for this. It should be noted that he was removed from public schooling specifically so that his father could teach him (for years) to fight in such magical duels. His family lives in a magically warded house that has a library full of books on magic, and virtually every aspect of his world is run by people who have magic abilities gained from 'atunements'. He comes off as studious, intelligent, introspective, cautious, prepared, and completely focused on one goal, going into a magical tower and participating in a coming of age type challenge, where he will fight magical creatures and overcome magical traps, to gain an atunement (granting magical abilities) and to find his brother, who disappeared 5 years ago in his own tower test. Notice how many times I used the word 'magic'?

Now, the story starts with the hero going into the tower, and moving from room to room on his quest fighting monsters and such. At this point it's pretty good, and I would probably give the story a 4 star rating. However after the first few chapters he makes his way out of the tower and gets sent to a Hogwarts style academy for new people to learn how to use their new magical powers. It is at this point made painfully clear (for the reader) that the main character knows NOTHING about how magic works. zip. zilch. nada. No understanding WHATSOEVER other than that it exists.

Now, this would make sense if our hero was a peasant from some distant village who had never had any schooling or reason to learn about magic, but, considering the character's backstory, it makes no sense at all. This would be like talking to an intelligent 18 year old whose parents are doctors, and whose whole life mission has been to also become a doctor, and when you point out that he's going to have to take an admission test says to medical school says, "words? letters? sentences? numbers? what are those? I've heard of them before, but I've never seen them. What's a scalpel? You mean the human body has organs in it?" I wouldn't expect the main character to know complex magic any more than I would expect our hypothetical 18 year old to know about dissecting a kidney, but he doesn't seem know ANYTHING about it.

The reason for this is that the author has created a very complex and detailed magic system and needs some way to explain it to the readers, but good God if he didn't pick the absolute worst way to go about it. I really wanted to like this story, but I can't get over this MASSIVE plot hole.

Oh, and the other thing is that the kid never gives any reason for why he might believe his older brother is still alive after FIVE years in the tower when it's made very clear that anyone who doesn't come out after a very short period (given the lack of food and water I'd say it lasts no more than a day) has died from some monster or trap .

617 of 733 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very good book

Books I like.

Name of the wind series
Anything from Brandon Sanderson
The warded man series
The light bringer series.

I say this to you in hopes that if you liked those books you will probably like this one as well. I won't tell you about the book as it does matter what I say. Nick is a very good reader makes the book easy to listen to. Looking forward to the next book.

276 of 336 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Sand bagging the audience

There are minor issues in the book, as in how at times it gets a bit tedious. The big problem though is that you have a main character who doesn't really seem interested romantically in anyone but also seems oblivious to characters like Marissa that are obviously interested in him, and then BAM he's gay. Literally out of nowhere. No hints of this anywhere, no mention of the sexual norms except that different guys are hitting on his sister which is what you typically expect. This really feels forced by the author, as in I think he wants to make a point. The problem is that it doesn't make any sense with the story based on what he had written, it just doesn't seem believable. Up until that point the main character just seems like a shy nerd, which is completely understandable and then this is just dropped on the audience like we should just understand. I'm sorry, the character had been developed one way for the entire book and then all of a sudden everything is changed. I didn't like it and I felt like it threw off the entire book.

96 of 117 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 07-10-17

Worth a listen.

What did you love best about Sufficiently Advanced Magic?

This could easily, with a few changes fit squarely in the Lit RPG category. It is not told that way but I get the feeling the idea may have started that way with the author. that is obviously just my opinion and I could be wrong. It is a good book and I will get the next installment as soon as it comes out. There is only one thing in the whole book that irritates me, and again this is just me and may not bother anyone else. The creatures, and there are many are all called simply "monsters" throughout the book. I don't know why precisely, it just grated. Also, I think at this point I would listen to a cook book if it was narrated by Nick Podehl as he seems to only narrate stuff I like, within whatever category it resides. This is no exception.

56 of 69 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Overall great

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author did a great job of creating well thought out world.

My problems, which keep me from giving a 5. ** may contain slight spoilers **
Corin - it is annoying how he can so scared and brave throughout the book. In addition, he wants to (has to grow stronger faster than anyone) progress but refuses to use his own mental powers. It's so frustrating.
Plot line - the are many different threads that the author will probably get to but they are weaved in and out and a lot aren't answered.
Characters - are all unique but don't have the greatest depth or growth
Pace - jumps around and gets slow at points.

71 of 88 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great first volume of a series

Andrew Rowe is definitely writing for me specifically. Both of his series scratch the itch that I feel for Anime/Game-inspired Hard Fantasy. The characters and plots are fun. There are some nice twists at the back end. As far as structure, it feels like each chapter is a chapter or so of a Manga, and the first book is roughly three story arcs. I dig that pacing.

Also, Nick Podehl is always a very consistent reader, and this time is no different. I look forward to more!

57 of 71 people found this review helpful

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Great Narration... ...and That's It

What a disappointment. Author had a great concept, but buried it amongst a never-ending series of subplots that went nowhere. Do not waste your money.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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My brain was engaged as much as my heart in this.

1st. it probably goes without saying. Nick Podehl is an outstanding Narrator. He is the reason i decided to pick up this book and I am so glad that I did. Not only does he make the story come to life like no other, but it seems like he only reads books that have worthy content.

This book has a lot of world building, a richly thought-out magic system, and strong main characters that really feel good to root for. At the end of the book I found myself drooling with anticipation. Truly a Gem of a book. I cannot wait for the next.

77 of 97 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • 08-05-17

Fun "D&D" style adventure.

I really enjoyed this. If you like coming of age stories where a protagonist has to apply problem solving to overcome difficult situations and underdog encounters then you will probably like this.

The style is a bit unique, and I can see a huge influence from D&D or similar. The majority of the "fights" are dungeon type encounters, and other puzzle rooms reminiscent of games and tabletop gaming.

I really enjoyed it, but I could see some might have issues with the pacing in the middle-end of the book.

The narrator was excellent.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-27-18

Glad I kept going!

I regretted purchasing this book for some time as I struggled with the narrator's voice, but im.really glad I persisted. The story is excellent, a unique fantasy world and a twisting story that is well written. I even grew to... tolerate the narrator. I'm already looking for more from this writer!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-31-17

Awesome

Tower is interesting, the magic is well thought out with good rules and it keeps you on your toes. great ending to book one 1. loved it

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven Richardson
  • 08-22-17

Amazing world building

I loved this story and was amazed by the level of detail given to the world. I could imagine this being made into a epic RPG game I would love to play.

The story was excellent and well thought out. I didn't see the final twist coming and it was very interesting.

I am looking forward to any more in this series as there is so much more to be explored in the world and the story line.

Also I though the narrator did an excellent job and made it an enjoyable listen. Hope it's not too long till the next.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-18-18

not too bad... well just okay... it was alright.

the magic system was unique but some times un-necessarily over powers the story. the main character's progression through the story is always underwhelmed by his mental regression so the two contanstly flip-flop back and forth which becomes tedious at times. Nick Podehl does an excellent performance but sometimes his voices don't range very well, which mixes up whose actually talking. otherwise enjoyed it and looking to what follows.

1 of 1 people found this review 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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  • J. Smith
  • 02-10-18

Very niche book

I brought this audio book after really enjoying Nick Poedhels narration of Cephraels hand. I enjoyed his voice regardless of the story.

The book itself is more like a narration of a dungeons and dragons game than a fantasy epic. The characters are unfortunately fairly typical, I didn't feel myself warming to them sadly.

The story revolves around a 17 year old in a 'magical school'. The world building and magic system are good and offer some interest but in terms of story it fell flat. The author tries desperately to draw the audience in with a number of twists, however they are so cliched that I was waiting for them to happen. I will probably buy the next part to pass the time driving to work. All in All, the story is ok, it just didn't wow me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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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  • Jonathan Blackwell
  • 01-15-18

Trash fantasy but really fun

I really enjoyed this book. It was exciting and fun. You always feel as though the characters are progressing & improving in their skills, part of the reason people love playing RPGs.

It is a book I would be ashamed of telling anyone I had read mainly because the author makes it too much like an RPG. There is so much focus on “levels” & people having 48 mana that I started to cringe. More like playing Diablo 2 than reading a book in the end. I hope the sequels feel more genuine as a story and less focused on the magic system.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Erik Vellama
  • 10-19-17

A computer game?

like a literacy form of a (computer) game, for people, who doesn't play themselvea. More specifically, a RPG (roleplaying game). Thus, it doesn't justify the execptionally high rating for me.

On a positivw side. Main character wasn't hero himself, he was a glue, which held group together. Emphatic guy, relatively witty and also doing smart things and acting quickly; also not a selp blaming type ("oh noes, it is all my fault!" starting with bad guys actions and ening with poverty and famine in the world).


Overally, I'd rather play a game, than listen to another part in series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • ThatLibraryMiss
  • 10-17-17

Whingy teenager plays RPGs

Listen to the preview. If you can deal with that, you might enjoy this book. If the winy voice recounting what appears to be some sort of quest game sets your teeth on edge, do yourself a favour and stop. It doesn't get any better when the self-obsessed teen's friends show up. I literally lost count of the number of times they rolled their eyes.

And what's with authors making up swear words? You've imported names and offensive gestures from our English-speaking world: why make up some new swear and use it exclusively? Ooh, so edgy.

Maybe it gets better in the second half. I returned it before that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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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  • Aslanenlisted
  • 09-29-17

forgettable

Not the worst book I've read but easily forgettable. The book never seems to show any growth... although the a sexual lead was an inspired choice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 08-31-17

The Name Of The Wind meets The Maze Runner

Rather than swishing a wand and having all sorts of crazy magic spring out of it, this is a world in which magic and the products of this magic are a tradeable resource, and those lucky enough to weild it will inevitably battle to weild larger amounts and more complex versions of it to improve both their wealth and standing within society. It sets up an interesting dynamic at the university, where everyone is not just concentrating on learning how to use their various types of magic, but battling to gain access to more magic than their peers.

As most young adult books tend to, this story has about 40 hours of reading/listening crammed into half of that so as to not lose the attention of the young adult reader/listener. This isn't a terrible thing, but in the end you are left wondering what might have been, had the author fleshed out some of those ideas a little. Still, not everyone is prepared to sit through 40-50 hours of listening to get through a book, and to cut some of the fringe scenes in favour of an action-packed story could be a winning combination. Reservations though I might have, I am sufficiently hooked and will be continuing on with the series.

Nick Podehl narrates the book in his own well known style. He has this elastic, cartoonish voice which means that the lead character is reminiscent of the likes of Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon, Hiro from Big Hero Six, or even Jim Lake from Trollhunters. As a result of this, I haven't been able to shake the CGI cartoon imagery from my minds eye, and the whole story plays in my head as a computer generated, animated movie rather than a live-action one. There are worse things that could happen, and there is always a chance that I'm just a crazy person who sees weird things.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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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  • Brenton Roberts
  • 09-12-17

great story and charecters but .....

its a great book with a fun story but the author repeats details ALOT. i think it needs to have a bit more faith in the listeners memory for major details

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-26-17

Bursts of entertainment

This story is very intriguing. Well, parts of it are. Unfortunately, the characters are all very dislikeable. In addition, most of the story is just exposition dumps. If I have to hear the words "I'll have to research that more later", or something along a similar vein, I will lose my mind.

The main character whines about everything. Hates physical contact, avoids people (except he doesn't), and basically just complains the whole way through.

His sister is a hypocrite. Main character gets hurt? "Don't ever do that again! You worried me!" She gets hurt? "Leave me alone corrin! It's my body I'll do what I want!" Main character has a secret with a god? "You can't keep secrets from me! I'm your sister and it affects me too!" She has a secret? "I'm allowed to have things to myself sometimes!"

The tone is also all over the place. It's a very serious story, usually told in a serious way, but just randomly tries to be funny. It's not funny, so this doesn't work. Even in the middle of major conflicts, the author tries to be funny. It is incredibly jarring and annoying.

Most of the backstory is just from people talking over and over and over in classes about things that would be cool to see in real time. I get that rules have to be established, but having someone lecture you is just not entertaining to listen to.

The book has moments that are good. There are a few fights and interactions that are awesome. Unfortunately, for every good 30 mins, there is 5 hours of exposition and grating dialogue or character thoughts that just do your head in. This story would be better told by another author.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-08-17

Spectacular

This is an absolutely amazing find for anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre, definitely reccomended

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • 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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  • Damien
  • 08-30-17

Pretty good story

Like a cross between Harry Potter and The Name of the Wind, but not quite as good as either. Good story, original world and well defined magic system but the characters didn't ring true for me. Excellent narration however.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dean
  • 10-19-17

The heroic procrastinator of irrelevant things

Loved the world, Nick Podehl is one of my favorite narrators - but the MC is constantly just thinking along random trains of thought that have absolutely no relevance to the story from what i can see. Maybe the author wants to give the MC a contemplative air or something, but really its infuriating. If he did less thinking about things that he NEVER does and just acts on is intuition this book would be awesome.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Everett
  • 07-27-17

Read it!

loved it.my new favourite book. read it do not wait! I love magic schools and the main character is really smart. it is so nice not to hate the protagonist ideas

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 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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  • Kevin
  • 08-07-19

Where is it going?

Interesting characters. Well performed by the reader.
but no real indication of where it was going.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joel
  • 09-04-17

Immersive worls of danger

Towers and serpents, gods and family drama, what more could you ask for in a good book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-15-19

Great book with a great reader

Great book with an interesting basis. Not overly in-depth or complex, in line with young adult fiction, but not unenjoyable for a more experienced reader. The performer is definitely one of the better ones I've heard. Main con is the repetitive writing style which gets annoying in some places.