The highly anticipated sequel to The Sorcery Code...
After the battle with the Sorcerer Guard, Gala and Blaise take shelter in the mountains, a place of unique beauty and danger. Augusta, however, is determined to exact revenge - even as Barson, her ambitious lover, implements his own plan. But amidst politics, battles, and intrigue, something far bigger is brewing...something that could disturb the balance of the Spell Realm itself.
©2014 Dima Zales (P)2014 Dima Zales
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"Captivating and every bit as good as the first!"
I definitely would. Emily Durante's narrative style is in many ways an ideal to uphold, and an absolute pleasure to the listener. She strikes the perfect balance between a neutral tonality for the narrator, and a diverse spectrum of emotions and modulation for the various characters. But what is even better is that through all the subtle variations that she manages in order to portray the different lead characters, you always feel Durante herself coming through. I've heard audio-books where the narrator tries too hard to create too big of a distinction among the different characters' voices, and it ends up sounding fake and forced. Durante, on the other hand, maintains a consistent and pleasant tone throughout the 7 hours of narration and imbibes enough personality into each characters' words, that listening to the book is as exciting a journey as it is a comfortable one.
I cannot choose between Gala and Barson, so I'll say: both! In the first part, we see significant changes in Gala's understanding of this world, as she accumulates experience and exposure to wondrous and incredibly trying situations. In this second installment, that journey continues as she is tested again and again, as she becomes familiar with new emotions, and discovers newfound ambition. Barson, on the other hand, takes on a much more central role in this book than in the first one, and for me personally - he replaces Blaise, as the pivotal male character, filled with naive ambition and hubris. Right from the beginning of this part, we see Barson taking matters into his own hand about turning the calamity of the battle and the ensuing disturbance in the kingdom to his advantage. Also, I always have had a soft corner for flawed characters, especially in a central role, which is what drew me to Blaise in the first part, and to Barson in this one.
I have always preferred reading a book and am fairly new to the world of audiobooks. I have been disappointed more than once, because as I mentioned earlier, narrators have often turned out to be more of a distraction from a comfortable flow of a story, than an aid to help with it. In this case, though, Emily Durante brought with her voice a distinctive extra element, that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but it positively added to my experience. She set the mood brilliantly for each scene - whether a sombre one between Augusta and the councilmen, a sensuous one between Gala and Blaise, or one filled with deviousness between Barson and Larn. This is a narrative that shifts among the points of view of the lead characters, and Durante does a great job of exploring the subtle changes in voice and expression with her vocal control and modulation.
In general, I found Zales' descriptions of the natural surroundings in this fantastical world quite beautiful and moving. World-building is most definitely one of his strengths, and crucial for high fantasy such as this. In particular, though, I loved the parts where Blaise and Gala were taking shelter with peasants in the mountain villages, and their general interactions, with folks whom the sorcerer population mostly never bothered to know about. Gala's wonder at the terrifying storm that shook the village, her and Blaise's protective instinct for these people made for quite a touching passage in this book.
Just like the first book, the story has a very smooth and well-paced progression, which I prefer in light reads such as The Sorcery Code. The world-building even though just as deftly handled in this book as the first, was ever so slightly less belabored; while in the first book much more attention was given to characterizing the physical and magical world that was Klodun, this book did far more in terms of exploring the depth of individual characters, their intentions, and interpersonal relationships.
Overall, quite an enjoyable read. Zales is able to achieve exactly what he set out to with this light but engrossing, high fantasy sequel to a rather promising series. With sufficient twists in the plot, and a rather interesting new character introduced in this book (who will likely play a very important role in the next part), he makes sure that his readers definitely come back for thirds!
I personally LOVE having the audible copy of a book, as I am so busy. With audible reading the story to me, my infant son and I will be playing, or I'll be doing dishes during his nap time, and I can still enjoy "reading" a book, while getting things done around the house.
There were a lot of moments I enjoyed, but IT think the most memorable moment would be during the large storm and a giant battle. (I don't want to give away some of the best moments here.
She brings a voice to the characters, though not always with the same emotion or feeling I would think the author intended, it helped to separate characters a little with her inflections.
While some reviewers who posted on the first novel had issues with things such her how beautiful Gala is (for example) I was able to suspend my disbelief during several scenes and truly enjoyed the storyline. We are left hanging a little with dabbles of a promise of more to come, so I hope that there will be a third story in this series!!!
"Fast-Paced Romance Keeps You Wanting More"
I liked the battle scene the best. It was well-choreographed and full of tension. I could feel Gala's emotions throughout the entire conflict. I wanted to fast-forward the audio to find out the conclusion of the battle - it filled me with so much excitement. I am glad I didn't though. Each moment gave such insight into the characters' motivations and goals.
I would compare The Spell Realm to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Frankenstein's monster was more powerful than anyone society had every seen. Everyone was frightened of it. All Victor Frankenstein wanted was to create life. His creation was innocent and caring. But, his emotions made him do things he regretted. He had more strength than he could handle. That strength led to his destruction of those he loved. Most of the Sorcery Council is terrified of Gala - of her extreme power. None of them stop to consider what her motives might be. The Council, Augusta in particular, hates Gala and will stop at nothing to see her (and Gala's creator/lover) destroyed. Gala only wants to help others, but her spell power is overwhelming and she has so much trouble keeping those powers in check. Will she ever learn to control them? Or will they overpower her so much that she will destroy the one man who can save her?
Emily Durante did a great job with Gala and each of the female characters. I was a bit disappointed with her portrayal of the male characters, however. It was a distraction at times.
There were several times I wanted to skip ahead to find out what was going to happen. I was on the edge of my seat. Would the Council decide to go after Gala? Would Augusta go after Gala herself? Would Gala ever be able to control her powers? I had such concern for Gala and Blaise.
I was really looking forward to reading this sequel to The Sorcery Code. The story had me glued every step of the way till the end. This 2nd volume, The Spell Realm doesn’t disappoint. It takes off where The Sorcery Code ends. I was enthralled with the narrative description of the Spell Realm, and the authors continued to give life to the main characters with more action and intrigue as they try to keep the balance of the Physical Realm and the Spell Realm. Emily Durante kept the story alive with her engaging rendition of each of the characters’ voices and painted the imagery of the fantasy worlds. I liked her voice better in this 2nd book. Her voice has the quality that evokes a spectrum of emotions for each character, unlike other narrators that try too hard to differentiate voices sounding faked and forced as a result. The Spell Realm is truly a story for every fantasy lover like me. A definite MUST and highly recommended book!"
The way the story is written and Emily Durante's narration.
I think my favorite was when the people where trying to escape from the storm and Gala was able to break the storm apart.
When Gala knew she had to go back to the spell realm.
I hope that Dima Zales and Anna Zaires allows Emily Durante to narrate more of the books!
"Definitely Worth the Wait"
I really enjoyed the first book of this series by Dima Zales and Anna Zaires, The Sorcery Code, and so I was very excited when the second book came out. Once again, I was completely satisfied with the story, the authors, and the narrator. And, once again, I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in this series!
The story line of The Spell Realm begins right where it left off in The Sorcery Code, and the characters all are the same people we came to know and adore in the first story. I was very happy about that since sometimes; authors decide to take the characters in entirely new directions of personality in sequels. I was also happy to find that Emily Durante was the narrator for this second book because I loved her use of voice in the first volume. Emily perfectly captures the personality elements for each of the characters, and through her, we are right there with Blaise, Gala, and all the others as they make their way in this wonderful world of magic and mystique.
If you haven’t read, or listened to The Spell Realm yet, I suggest you do so as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed, but you will be surprised!
"A Worthy Sequel"
I just finished The Sorcery Code last week, and I just had to read the sequel immediately! The Spell Realm is, in every respect, a worthy sequel and a great addition to any fantasy fan’s library. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this book is packed with action, fantastic worlds, and political intrigue. The authors Dima Zales and Anna Zaires also greatly expanded on the universe that they’ve previously built in this series. They introduce some interesting and thought provoking concepts that are rarely touched upon in the fantasy genre (in my experience, anyways). Emily Durante really gives life and livelihood to the world. She does an excellent job giving a unique personality to each and every one of the large cast of complex characters. I highly recommend this book to any fantasy fan who's looking for great read!
"Did it again!"
I was very eagerly awaiting the sequel to The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales, and I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The story picks up exactly as I had wanted it to, and I was left feeling as though I had to keep listening to hear what would happen next. All of the elements that I love about a story can be found in this series. Great characters that you want to scheme along with. Exciting plot that keeps you on the edge wondering what each character is going to do next. Fantastic imagery that helps put you into the story. The fantasy elements add just the right touch without taking away from the story itself. Overall, this is a series I suggest that anyone loves a good story should pick up as this has a little bit of everything. Romance, revenge, intrigue are all intertwined throughout the story that keeps it anything but boring.
"Way better than the first"
This book begins as abruptly as the last one ended so you may have to pick up the last book and familiarize yourself with the characters again. Once it got started though, it was great. Characters got a lot more complex. Plots that were alluded to In the first book get fleshed out this time. Unfortunately it ends just as abruptly and I'll probably have to Reread it before the next one comes out as well.
"A very intriguing and catchy story!"
I would absolutely listen to it in the future. It was really catchy and in a way I kind of became addicted. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
It was absolutely a book that I wanted to listen to in one sitting. Just like volume 1, this volume was intriguing and I fel anxious about what was going to happen next.
I have to mention that the voice telling the story is really nice! She manages to play all the characters incredibly well.
The stoy is really descriptive, you can easily picture everything in you mind by just listening to it thanks to the imagery used.
Great plot, great characters, great story.
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