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A Wizard's Forge

Woern Saga
Narrated by: Leah Casey
Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

★★★★★ "I was blown away." (Booknest

★★★★★ "One of the best books in the genre." (Underground Book Reviews)

Wizards are forged, not born. 

Vic the Blade was once a shy but ambitious scholar. That life ended when a vicious tyrant stripped away everything she was, forging her into something darker. Deadlier. Now she fights a war against him, seeking to avenge her lost innocence. A rescue mission may bring her quarry within reach, but she must traverse a vast wasteland and reckon with a race of giant, sentient insects, who hold the key to to defeating the tyrant. Their legendary power may be her only chance to destroy him, if it doesn’t kill her first. 

Fans of dark fantasy will love this gritty, award-winning tale of empowerment and revenge in a setting that echoes the classic science fiction/fantasy blends of McCaffrey and Herbert. 

Finalist, 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards 

Honorable Mention, 2017 Reader's Favorite Awards                              

©2017 A.M. Justice (P)2018 A.M. Justice

Critic reviews

"One of the best books in the genre." (Underground Book Reviews)

"A masterpiece that keeps readers awake into the late hours of the night." (Reader's Favorite)

"I was blown away." (Booknest)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

A vivid and detailed character-driven fantasy

A Wizard’s Forge follows Victoria through her mid teens to her early twenties, starting with her innocent beginningsbut quickly plunging her into a brutal sexual servitude, far from home, in the clutches of a narcissist of the worst order. The unrelenting months of physical and psychological abuse shred Vic’s psyche, the constant rape and mental dominancy brainwashing her into a meek girl who exists only to sate her master’s cruel appetites. Through sheer luck of circumstance, she eventually manages to escape her imprisonment and finds herself in a comparatively safe haven. She’s free from the clutches of her once-master, but the emotional wounds run deep. Haunted by the memories of her captivity, the broken Vic begins to rebuild her life and her self, but the girl she had been is gone, and the future she should have had is a shattered dream. Though it takes her a long time to rise from the ashes of her ordeal – battling through a gamut of real and overwhelming emotional responses – she does finally manage, but the woman who emerges is one of steel, broken in a very different and deadlier way, forged into Vic the Blade, with one strong undercurrent driving her every action – vengeance.

At the opening of the third act, the story skips forward five years, but, although Vic has reinvented herself as the Blade, the scars still remain. What follows is a slowburning narrative that follows Vic as a military captain through patrols and skirmishes and power-play, through her connections to the supporting characters, and a plot that takes her slowly but surely towards the man she escaped from all those years ago. But this isn’t just a story about one woman’s self-healing and desire to right what had been wronged her; though Vic and her actions are at the core of it all, the stakes run much deeper and wider. The tyrant who kept her as his sex slave is a lord of great authority and power, the sort who rules by domination rather than respect, a man who has wronged far more people than merely Vic.

I’ve skirted over the edges of the plot there because I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but suffice to say that A Wizard’s Forge is a story that is clearly at A.M. Justice’s heart, that is so comfortable in its telling and its pace that even the mere details of character actions and at-times poetic narrative descriptions bring it to vivid and detailed life. I mentioned that this is something of a slowburner; though interspersed with plenty of action, the story does focus strongly on Vic’s relationships with several major characters and is in no rush to skim the minutiae. In a very loose sense, A Wizard’s Forge put me in mind of The Handmaid’s Tale, but, to be honest, I’d say it blows that famous novel out of the water. That’s just my preference, of course. Slow-paced does not have to equal boring, so, if you’re happy to immerse yourself into a less-rushed story that explores relationship and emotion dynamics and has a rich, gradually unfolding world, then you should enjoy immersing yourself into A Wizard’s Forge. Four and a half stars from me, and I’m certainly looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

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A rich tapestry for the ears.

An enjoyable read and a decent audiobook, whose narrator sounds very believable as Vic. Reminiscent of the chronicle with the Lady in Black Company.

 Personally I'm not that struck on the style of the narrator, but I thought the same with Kings of the Wyld.

Fans of descriptive works will be in for a treat with the novel being a rich tapestry for the senses (ears), with the prose elegantly painted.



Vic is an interesting character and without giving much away, she isn’t just put into a wringer, but thrown into it and yanked in and out several times and scarred on several levels.

 A true survivor's story.

A world I look forward to being revealed further with peripheral characters I’m especially curious to see how they evolve after the conclusion of book one.



It should appeal to a fair range of readers. In part seeming almost Young Adult (in the vein of Abercrombie) and in part downright grim. I do have to admit muttering ‘just stab him’ a couple of times, but that would have spoiled the wringers last cycle and the occasional big bang.

Well worth the purchase / token and I look forward to the following books.

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  • Jessica
  • 28-12-18

A fantastic story to listen to.

Slow start with a satisfying ending. I haven't read anything from A.M. Justice before so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect here. The beginning started simply enough, steadily building the world the story takes place before shattering everything around you. Death, war, deception... this novel doesn't hold back on anything. I look forward to seeing what's next to come.
My only complaint is that for a fantasy book, you don't see much of the fantasy elements until much later in the book. While the ending made it worth it, I do hope the next book allows for more magic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-18

the reader read in a way that was a bit confusing

it's a good story, but the reader gives hardly any pause in chapters so when the perspectives switch, it's a bit confusing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • C.T.
  • 03-10-18

Amazing novel

his book was an unexpected pleasure and I am going to recommend it highly. It's not going to be for everyone because it deals with some very dark subject matter. However, it's a story that I think benefits from dealing with different things than you normally see in a Young Adult fantasy novel. These include slavery, sexual assault, and Stockholm Syndrome.

Vic is the Logkeeper for her village in the far future where humanity has colonized a world after a starship crashlanded on it. Humanity has mostly forgotten this fact and embraced a local religion as well as superstition (except it's not nearly so superstitious as Vic believes). Vic and her friends are kidnapped by slavers early on before the depressingly realistic outcome of her never seeing them again. Worse, Vic is made into a slave. A sex slave.

Its treated almost entirely psychologically and is handled offscreen. However, the consequences for the act reverberate throughout Vic's life from that point on. Really, I would have appreciated more insight into this period because seeing Vic try to keep her sanity under the conditions she lives is in fascinating.

The rest of the novel is somewhat more conventional with her escape leading to her being adopted by a nearby royal family as a ward, taking up the art of war, and learning that wizardry is a thing. Despite being in the title, Vic doesn't do much magic and doesn't even learn magic is real until the end of the novel.

The book is interesting because it deals with its dark subject matter while squarely feeling like a Young Adult novel. Vic is a skinny and low self-esteem suffering woman who, nevertheless, attracts multiple Princes as well as other men to her side. She's also someone who eventually rises to be a chosen one. Seeing such a character deal with the struggle of being brainwashed as well as fighting those elements puts an interesting spin on it.

The book is full of excellent worldbuilding, action, and likable characters. I am interested in the sequel and where it goes. Leah Casey does an amazing job that manages to capture the various characters, especially the primary one, and its great variety of emotions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathon
  • 13-07-19

Fairly neutral

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

Didn't really get that interesting to me, between the beginning of the book to be kind of slow and wandering with a lot of it not seeming to be all that relavent as the story went on and the narrator who wasn't bad but just had a voice that didn't keep my attention it wasn't much of a hit for me but it wasn't bad.

WARNING: in case anyone is sensitive there is kidnapping and being held captive in a semi sexual nature.