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A Wizard's Forge

Woern Saga
Narrated by: Leah Casey
Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (3 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 listeners say about A Wizard's Forge

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

At times challenging but a brilliant listen.

Hard not to give too much away. This deals with some very mature themes and the main character Vic is certainly put through it. However, I found her evolution from victim to empowered hero was handled sensitively and believably. I enjoy a thought provoking listen and this certainly is that but it's also filled with rich characterisation, a very strong plot that sweeps you along, and ultimately the most important thing: I enjoyed it. I'll be certain to pick up the sequel. I recommend this book for anyone who appreciates gritty fantasy that isn't afraid of tackling the big issues. Narration: I considered giving this four stars, as for the first fifteen to twenty minutes I didn't entirely take to it. By the end, I was thoroughly enjoying the narration so I suspect it was just a case of my ear getting acquainted to the voice.

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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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  • Jeff M.
  • 21-08-19

Compelling story

The title says it. This was a compelling story that I'm glad I listened to. Fair warning though -- if you've ever suffered abuse, particularly emotional abuse, you might find parts of this one triggering. I've never had to deal with that, but from what I understand (my wife's a therapist), it was uncannily accurate on the long-lasting aftereffects of such experiences. I felt the treatment of the resulting PTSD was honest, raw, and respectful. As for the story, it was a little slow to get going. It's also definitely a blend of sci-fi and fantasy. If you're looking for wizards and witchcraft, it will take a while to get there and won't be in the style of 'high fantasy'. I'd suggest you remember a quote from Arthur C. Clarke as you read: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". This book starts from that premise and really explores it in cool ways in my opinion. Disclosure: I received this book as a review copy from the author and provided this review voluntarily and with no expectation of it being a positive one when receiving the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Zora Marie
  • 16-08-19

Pretty Good

First off, if you are triggered by sexually oriented psychological manipulation then this is not the book for you. That said, it is done tastefully and shows a strong young woman working through a horrible ordeal. This is in the heart of it a fantasy novel and the world building is spectacular with how it is woven into the story without info dumps. As for my rating of the performance, while it was good there were several places where the audio would suddenly take on a different tone and become muffled as though recorded with different settings or edited differently...

2 people found this helpful

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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.

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  • Justin
  • 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 people found this helpful

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  • Crysta M
  • 03-09-20

A powerful story fantastically written

This is a very emotional book. It's a sometimes uncomfortably close look how emotional and physical abuse can impact a person's mind and how long lasting the effects can be. While A.M. Justice doesn't shy away from showing you the emotional pain laid bare, she does still do it with compassion and understanding, which is a fine but important line to walk. I never felt it was there for the shock value or as a plot device, even though it does serve to launch Vic into the world at large and her role in it, Vic's pain felt real and raw and my heart broke for her. The world building is fantastic and I'm very eager to explore more of it with Vic. It is mostly fantasy with hints of sci-fi story lines and some sci-fi tech. And I love that it feels by the end of this book that it could go in any direction. I want to know more of this world's past as well as it's future and get to know more about the people who live there. For the narration, I thought Leah Casey did a good job. I noticed some of what other reviewers are mentioning with the sound quality shifting abruptly on occasion but it wasn't too frequent, and for me it was only a brief pull away from the story as I noticed it happen and then I was back in it. I thought she did a good job with her pacing, voices, and handled the emotionally difficult scenes with grace. I hope there are many more books in the Woern Saga!

1 person found this helpful

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  • James
  • 05-09-19

OK listen

Decent story with good narration. “I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

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  • Al
  • 20-08-19

A solid fantasy yarn

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author in return for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinions. In the future, humankind has reached the stars. A malfunctioning ship forced its occupants to land on a planet, where they’ve been stuck ever since, hoping to find the right materials to get back to their ship, and home, but they remained stranded, and their descendants have remained, still wallowing in the belief they will escape, but their society has evolved. Or devolved, as the case may be.Vic is a Lorekeeper, a person who is tasked with remembering the old ways should the opportunity to return to their ship arise. On her maiden voyage, she is taken in a raid and made a slave, but she escapes and flees to another country, where is she welcomed in by their royal family. Vic becomes a valued soldier, but always has an eye on revenge. When one of the royals is taken, one Vic has feelings for, will she finally get the chance for the revenge that often sours her thoughts? Here’s my thoughts on the audiobook. Worldbuilding It’s in the future - only it’s not. Don’t let that put you off though. In every way, this is a fantasy novel. We’ve got warriors wielding swords and spears, weird critters (insectoid, no less), minstrels (fantasy needs more bards and minstrels) and magic. Wait, magic is supposed to all but gone, but this is called “A Wizard’s Forge” so go figure. To be fair, as worldbuilding goes, it’s not the most original, but it’s definitely solid. The different beliefs are kind of fun, as is the idea of a royal family having “real” jobs, and it’s interesting to see how such a technologically advanced society could regress over a period of time. Score - 3.5/5 Characters Vic is a fine lead character. Proud of her achievement of becoming a Lorekeeper at an early age, her life quickly goes downhill as she is captured and abused as a slave. Her life takes more twists and turns as she is chosen to join the army. A career her pacifist self struggles to come to terms with. Turns out she’s pretty good at the soldiering lark, and rises through the ranks, although not everyone believes she did it on merit alone. Her captor, Lorn (I think) is interesting in that he’s not boo-hiss evil, although he’s no saint either, Ashel, Vic’s will-they-won’t-they paramour is entertaining, and there is some conflict between then down the road. That being said, the romance between the two is a bit irksome, but that could be just me. Oh, and I like the queen who takes Vic in. She’s kinda badass, and needs more page time. Score - 4/5 Plot Straightforward, for the most part. Girl achieves great things, becomes enslaved and treated like crap, but escapes and finds kind family. She joins the army, where she kicks ass, but not everyone likes or trusts her. She finds an opportunity for revenge, but the stakes are really high, and she must go through hell and back to obtain it. Score - 3/5 Writing I know this is an audiobook, but the author (literally) sounds like a fine writer, evoking some nice imagery while breathing life into the various characters, places and things. The narrator was good, doing a nice job with both genders (not always a guarantee), but at times she sounded like one of those old Garmin navigation systems. Score - 3.5/5 Personal Enjoyment It was mostly good. As I mentioned, the relationship was a bit too teeny for me (although they are teens), and while this was portrayed as grimdark, and it was somewhat light in done for the most part. Maybe it’s teendarj. In saying that, the author certainly knows how to stick in some nasty stuff, that may cause some readers to veer away. Their loss. Score - 3.5/5 Verdict A solid dark fantasy that’s worth a read, Total Score - 17.5/25

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  • Charles A.P. Wetherington
  • 31-07-19

Excellent Fantasy!

Story opens well with excellent vocal pressure from narrator. Plot thickens with steady progression, and grows to an excellent closing with room for a sequel story. I recommend this audiobook for ages 17 and older due to some adult situations and violence. I was given this audiobook for free and I freely give it my rating and opinion

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul Vasquez
  • 25-07-19

She has to do what she had to do to Survive!

Here is a grand little Audio book that is all about determination. Victory is a happy little scholar girl, very happy with life when the really Bad Guy Lornk comes along and tears her life apart. Destroys the ones she loves and makes a slave of her. Now she has to do what she has to do to survive. Victory turns herself into Vic the Blade. Still she has Bad Guy Lornk on her back. What is she to do? A very good story that is well written. I received this audio book for free in exchange for an unbiased review. Well worth a credit!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 20-07-19

Intense and disturbing but also fascinating story.

A Wizard's Forge is 100% science fiction/fantasy, with incredibly detailed and intriguing world building. The author skillfully describes the world in which Vic the Blade, the main character, lives, and that world is often a bleak and cruel one. After being kidnapped away from a world in which she was prized and cherished, Vic is sold into sexual slavery, and her experiences are both haunting and disturbing. I didn't find these scenes of abuse overly detailed, but I must admit that my heart broke whenever she was reliving her torture. Vic's skill and intelligence are very obvious from the beginning of the story, but I was amazed at how, rather than wallowing in self pity, she turned her anger and despair into an intense determination to punish her slave master. Although I would normally be turned off by abuse such as Vic suffered, I can see that the author used this to make Vic the incredibly resilient woman and warrior she needed to be to survive and thrive in this new and dangerous world. I am very curious to see in what direction the author takes this series, so I will definitely be continuing the series. Leah Casey's narration is excellent. She has a very pleasant voice and a smooth delivery. I found her very believable for both the male and female characters, and she used the right amount of emotion for both the heavy and the action scenes in the book. I would listen to another of her performances in the future. I received a copy of this audiobook at my request in exchange for this honest review.

1 person found this helpful