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Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Arcane Ascension, Book 1
Written by: Andrew Rowe
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Series: Arcane Ascension, Book 1
Length: 21 hrs and 58 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (784 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

What listeners say about Sufficiently Advanced Magic

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Fun

The whole book is structured like a dungeon crawler video game. Right down to the progression stats, loot system, items, and monsters. If you want to read a book that mirrors an RPG or rogue-lite format look no further.

6 people found this helpful

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Overall a Great Listen

I enjoyed the story, really have nothing negative to say. It is in my opinion geared more towards a younger audience, in saying this, regardless I still found it entertaining. The bottom line is entertainment. Would I listen to a sequel- absolutely!! Nick Podel is an awesome narrator, I have listened to several books read by Podel and he does a great effort in taking on the characters in each story. Basically, any story that he takes on to narrate is a safe listen!!

4 people found this helpful

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I love this book.

Just finished my second time through this book. I can't wait for the sequel. Donkey.

3 people found this helpful

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A little slow

It took me a long time to like this book but by the end I'm fully onboard, I want the next one right now.

1 person found this helpful

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possibly my all time favourite

Fun story, great characters, original ideas and lots of mystery to keep you guessing. First book I loved enough to write a review for though I've listened to many great books.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Luc
  • 2019-09-05

Slow start, strong finish.

A bit of a slower start, but really picks up steam after the halfway point. Definitely leaves you wanting more by the end.

1 person found this helpful

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The MMORPG novel I always wanted

The world works like an MMORPG and it's fantastic! The story is very interesting the characters are cool yet flawed, and the magic system is well done. Overall a solid book! Would definitely recommend to fantasy fans and gamers.

1 person found this helpful

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listened 3 times time a row.

enticing world, loveable characters and a story that moves. The main character thinks like a real person.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great narration, bad plot.

Nick Podell absolutely kills the narration of this book, he is an incredible voice actor. There is however, many flaws with the actual writing. The main character is a poor man's kvothe. He is more angsty and needlessly 'witty'. The plot feels a lot like it was designed to be a D&D campaign or a video game rather than fiction. That being said, I am a fan of those genres, and so I was interested in the extremely gamey magic system, and enjoyed the grinding montages. If you want to enjoy a great actor, and have at least a base knowledge and enjoyment of game systems, this will be a book you can enjoy.

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entertaining

loved this book. Hopefully there is a game made out of this world. Exploring towers to get attunements would be a cool game.

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  • P
  • 2020-01-13

Levels doesn't matter

So the levels of the power doesn't really matter as you can see even a first year student can hold off experienced higher level opponents with some prepping. Let's just make up stuff while we go, shall we? And the LGBT bit was dropped in like a bomb without preamble. It is got a good world setup but all gone to waste.

94 people found this helpful

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  • Colton
  • 2019-02-10

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.

70 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 2019-04-10

The protagonist gets on your nerves...

I almost sent this book back, but I kept slogging through it because the story had some potential. I liked some of the characters, some interesting plot twists, but it could not stay on track. It obviously is playing on the success of the Harry Potter line, which I really enjoyed, but it did not do a good job. The plot had "dragon-sized" holes in it. The Tristan "thread" did not ring true or authentic. The whole story with Corin's family was very thin. What is up with Mom?! Corin's level of angst, second-guessing himself and seeming incompetence (which the author describes in excruciating, annoying detail) does not make sense based on the level of training he did. This book was unnecessarily long (please don't have a spell that takes over five seconds to say while you are in combat!). Having said all that I did finish the book. I am still debating whether I will buy the second book. I have not read the reviews and I don't know if I can take any more of Corin Cadence. If I do, I will have to change my mindset. Just try to enjoy what is done well. I read/listen to a lot of this genre. This is not IMHO a book as good as Rowling, Card, Bujold, Hearne but it has some good points...just not enough of them.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Keith Murray
  • 2019-01-23

Book is pretty bad

The narration is good, but the story is honestly not very good and poorly written.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Midwest Male
  • 2019-03-22

juvenile

I assume the target audience is teens, because this book has no plot whatsoever. it's like a lame D&D RPG game brought to life. It essentially starts in a dungeon and assumes the reader gets excited by listening to how someone else chooses their adventure. literally that's how new characters are introduced....random encounters.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Foster
  • 2019-04-10

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.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Andrea
  • 2019-01-15

mc

an extremely unlikable main character, and even some of the side characters. I will not read the second book

6 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 2017-07-11

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 .

690 people found this helpful

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  • Jason N.
  • 2017-07-20

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.

291 people found this helpful

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  • JJenkins
  • 2018-05-21

Convenient Conventions and Poor Development

I got this because it was suggested by Amazon based upon my previously read books. I really wanted to like this but ... couldn't. The book starts off really interesting and full of adventure and action. The characters are interesting in the first few chapters and then, when Corin exits the first spire, the book takes a dive and never recovers. There are a few reasons that I really didn't enjoy this: 1) The relationships are really forced and feel inconsistent. For example, one character is shown to be Corin's sister and everyone is just like, "Cool. No worries." The love interest just kind of shows up and there is no real lead in to it and Corin is just like "Cool." They never really gel together. Corin's friends, who left him when he was young (they followed his mother who abandoned him as they were pledged to her) were just like "Hey dude. 'Sup?" and he was all "Cool. Good to see you. We're still great friends." The only relationship that seems to develop from anywhere is that between Corin and another girl who he treats kindly (nobles don't treat her kindly) and sees her potential (nobles don't see her potential). But even that feel like it's thrown together. 2) Corin has anxiety and social issues...when the story feels like making Corin have anxiety and social issues. The entire story is narrated from his point of view and he spends extensive amounts of time planning things, considering magic, and thinking deeply on issues, but somehow forgets to express his social anxiety and fear of being close to others or even touched unless the story really needs him to feel this to create some false tension. This seems to disappear at times, so that he can easily interact with teachers and students, and then reappears when the author decides he should feel awkward around teachers and students. It makes for a very inconsistent character. 3) The beginning of the story sets up that Corin is on a quest to free his brother (or return him to life) from the Serpent Spire. He focuses a lot on this quest in the beginning of the book but then, once he goes to school, that's about it for this quest...unless the author thinks it's necessary to bring it up for some reason. He doesn't think on this quest. It barely makes an appearance until the author realized "Oops, forgot about that. Better make Corin think of his brother real quick" but not in any kind of motivation kind of way (such as "I better work hard to better my magic so that I can rescue my brother"). 4) Exposition and magical explanation....so much explanation....over and over again .... all the way through the book .... Sometimes, an author needs to explain their magic, but this shouldn't be the author's main way of presenting the magic to the reader. It's important to "show" the magic happening and have the reader discover the magic in that way too. There is WAY too little "showing" of magic and all too much "explaining and pondering" on magic. Another reader had it right when they said that it read like a D&D Manual. As to the narrator, Podehl does a decent job with the book. It isn't anything super special, but he does do a good job of differentiating characters so you always know who is who. I think that this book doesn't give him much to work with emotion wise, but he does his best to compensate for that and add his own interpretations to it. I think were Podehl given another, better written book to narrate, I would have enjoyed him more. I do want to say that this author has some promise and needs to continue to write so that he can grow in his skills. Perhaps, once Rowe gets through this series and begins another, he will have enough experience and honed his craft to a point where I will give him another shot. I think that if you do not demand much from a story and you just want something to pass the time, then you may enjoy this book, but if you're looking for a moving adventure or a story with any amount of depth, that won't happen here. I wish Rowe good luck and am glad for his success. It takes a lot to write a book, and he should be commended for doing so when so many are too afraid to even begin.

46 people found this helpful