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Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Arcane Ascension, Book 1
Written by: Andrew Rowe
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 21 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (331 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 46.30
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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love this book.

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Speechless

listening through to the end, it left me speechless. well worth a full listen, and maybe losing a few hours sleep

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A wonderful LitRPG

This os a wonderful litrpg story, without being too much a litrpg. I love the genre, but I admit they sometimes go a little too heavy on the stats. No need to worry about skipping the end of chapter stat lots here!
The story is well written and quite witty, the author using turns of phrase that make me laugh out loud.
The character run a gamut from loveable to outright wanting to punch them in the face.
The author get many bonus points for making Corin a introverted asexual, who, despite hating dealing with people, still manages to go about his plan to save his brother. And even finds it in himself to try dating!
The narrator is good, but not the one I’d have picked. Most of the tome when they try to convey arrogance, it comes off as smarmy instead. And while Patrick is a bit of the magic equivalent of a jock, the narrator’s voice makes him come off as stupid, which he isn’t. He does fo Corin and his Sister, Sarah, well though!
I’ve just finished listening to it a second time, and am enthusiastically listening to the second book now.

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Did not know what to expect

Thoroughly enjoyable storytelling; author and narrator. Protagonist correctly imperfect, serving as a sufficiently relatable foil

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loved it

I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked from the moment I started listening to it and couldn't put it down.

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Sufficient

I found it sufficiently entertaining, with sufficient humour and action to keep my interest. There was also sufficient use of the word, and variants of the word "sufficient". I do hope to hear more uses of the word in the next book. Have a sufficient day.

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fantastic story

such a good story and well read by the narrator although all his female voices sound the same. they are all female high pitched Irish women haha. Still, it was a fun ride.

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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.

232 of 273 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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 .

435 of 517 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick
  • 2019-01-16

Well that's disconcerting....

The author uses the word "disconcerting" every five minutes. It's like he has no additional vocabulary to pull from. At this point, I'm expecting a cliff hanger at the end, after which he ends the book with, "Well that was disconcerting." Also, "I'd have to look into that later." and "I'd have to research that later." over, and over, and over....

The characters are one dimensional, and Sarah almost ruins the book for me. Rather than being fortunate to be in the position she's in, she constantly berates the main hero and is a total jerk the entire time, with no context to why she's such a jerk. "You should have run that by me first." "You don't make decisions without me." etc, etc, etc. and despite the main character going out of his way to be kind to her the entire time, she still spits in his face constantly, back talks, and every time, the main character caves. He can run his mouth and stick up for himself against magical beasts and powerful faculty, but she turns him into a pansy and effectively neuters him in every conversation. I don't feel bad for him...I despise him for it.

Almost the entirety of this book is the main character thinking/talking to himself. There could've been so much more story if the author didn't fill two thirds of the book with Corin contemplating what he wants for breakfast, where he's gonna go, who he's gonna talk to, what he wants to do, all inside his head, rather than actually stating these things. I realize a characters thoughts add depth, but so does action, and this book desperately needs more of just...doing... It's to the point that I want to slap him and tell him what to do the entire time...

The magical system is really well done though. The author clearly put the majority of his work into the magic system, rather than plot/character development.

I won't buy the newly released sequel until I know "Disconcerting" and "I'd have to think about that." aren't used every other sentence though. Rough....

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy Jones
  • 2018-05-23

Good enough for fluff

Excellent narration, the plot holes could get a bit frustrating , and the author relies on the crutch of making the main character painfully stupid too often for a 5 star review, but for a lighthearted fluffy read it was enjoyable. Dont expect anything more and you wont be disappointed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eric
  • Charlotte, NC
  • 2017-07-10

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.

48 of 57 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 2017-07-09

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.

62 of 74 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph Zurat
  • 2017-07-08

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!

52 of 62 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gus
  • 2017-07-04

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.

69 of 85 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • United States
  • 2017-10-16

Pretty Darn Good

There's not much to complain about with this book. We have Magic, magical creatures, a school for magic, sword fighting, and more. Hell, there's practically a dragon in a dungeon full of other puzzle's and treasure to spice things up.

The way he presented all these parts of the book was also so fresh in the world of Fantasy that it made the book even better. He presented it like a game. You get so far up the tower, then you save. Train up, hone your skills and go back into the tower to get higher. And you keep doing this until you've reached the top and you're all powerful! Add in a plot to seize power, a twist you really don't see coming, friendships gained and lost, and some really cocky word play...and you get the start of what could be a true epic.

I'd highly recommend this book and I can't wait for the next in the series.

(5 stars only for the truly greats. This was good, but not a truly great!)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bee Fisher
  • Austin, TX
  • 2017-10-23

Great beginning to a series

This was such a fantastic book. It took certain things I don't normally care for in a story and made them interesting and good. I like the idea of DnD style challenges and puzzles. And I absolutely love the concept of getting new powers items and abilities thus changing the fundamental capabilities of different characters. I can't wait to read more of the series and see where it all goes.

29 of 36 people found this review helpful