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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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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe
  • UK
  • 05-08-17

Fun "D&D" style adventure.

I really enjoyed this. If you like coming of age stories where a protagonist has to apply problem solving to overcome difficult situations and underdog encounters then you will probably like this.

The style is a bit unique, and I can see a huge influence from D&D or similar. The majority of the "fights" are dungeon type encounters, and other puzzle rooms reminiscent of games and tabletop gaming.

I really enjoyed it, but I could see some might have issues with the pacing in the middle-end of the book.

The narrator was excellent.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Awesome

Tower is interesting, the magic is well thought out with good rules and it keeps you on your toes. great ending to book one 1. loved it

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Amazing world building

I loved this story and was amazed by the level of detail given to the world. I could imagine this being made into a epic RPG game I would love to play.

The story was excellent and well thought out. I didn't see the final twist coming and it was very interesting.

I am looking forward to any more in this series as there is so much more to be explored in the world and the story line.

Also I though the narrator did an excellent job and made it an enjoyable listen. Hope it's not too long till the next.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Glad I kept going!

I regretted purchasing this book for some time as I struggled with the narrator's voice, but im.really glad I persisted. The story is excellent, a unique fantasy world and a twisting story that is well written. I even grew to... tolerate the narrator. I'm already looking for more from this writer!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This Author Needs a Dictionary

To look up and learn the meaning of the word, "Appearance". I cant name the protagonist's hair colour...or anyone of the other character's hair colour. Or what they look like. Or anything else about them.

A good story. But I have only the vaguest idea of what the world looks like.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Loved the funny voices of the narrator, good night

I can finally have a proper sleep, it's indeed true that, it will keep you up at night and now I can't wait to start with the next one. The narrator improve the experience, making it more colorful with the different accents given to the different characters. Overall all it's a good book for teenagers, with a good vocabulary and it is amusing for both genders. I would recommend it after the works of Jk Rowling and Suzanne Collins

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

not too bad... well just okay... it was alright.

the magic system was unique but some times un-necessarily over powers the story. the main character's progression through the story is always underwhelmed by his mental regression so the two contanstly flip-flop back and forth which becomes tedious at times. Nick Podehl does an excellent performance but sometimes his voices don't range very well, which mixes up whose actually talking. otherwise enjoyed it and looking to what follows.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Very niche book

I brought this audio book after really enjoying Nick Poedhels narration of Cephraels hand. I enjoyed his voice regardless of the story.

The book itself is more like a narration of a dungeons and dragons game than a fantasy epic. The characters are unfortunately fairly typical, I didn't feel myself warming to them sadly.

The story revolves around a 17 year old in a 'magical school'. The world building and magic system are good and offer some interest but in terms of story it fell flat. The author tries desperately to draw the audience in with a number of twists, however they are so cliched that I was waiting for them to happen. I will probably buy the next part to pass the time driving to work. All in All, the story is ok, it just didn't wow me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Trash fantasy but really fun

I really enjoyed this book. It was exciting and fun. You always feel as though the characters are progressing & improving in their skills, part of the reason people love playing RPGs.

It is a book I would be ashamed of telling anyone I had read mainly because the author makes it too much like an RPG. There is so much focus on “levels” & people having 48 mana that I started to cringe. More like playing Diablo 2 than reading a book in the end. I hope the sequels feel more genuine as a story and less focused on the magic system.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

A computer game?

like a literacy form of a (computer) game, for people, who doesn't play themselvea. More specifically, a RPG (roleplaying game). Thus, it doesn't justify the execptionally high rating for me.

On a positivw side. Main character wasn't hero himself, he was a glue, which held group together. Emphatic guy, relatively witty and also doing smart things and acting quickly; also not a selp blaming type ("oh noes, it is all my fault!" starting with bad guys actions and ening with poverty and famine in the world).


Overally, I'd rather play a game, than listen to another part in series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason N.
  • 20-07-17

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.

153 of 173 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 11-07-17

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 .

268 of 325 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bee Fisher
  • 23-10-17

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.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • 10-07-17

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.

40 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • JJenkins
  • 21-05-18

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan
  • 09-07-17

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.

55 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph Zurat
  • 08-07-17

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!

46 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gus
  • 04-07-17

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.

64 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin
  • 21-07-17

A cliche w/in a worn out trope w/in a derivative.

This book is basically every magic school, coming of age book ever. Magic college? check. introspective hero? painfully check. Parents out of the picture, but somehow looming? check. Female character that outperforms hero? check. Intrigue that's "bigger than a student can handle?" check.

If you liked any of:
Harry Potter Series
The Magicians
The Kingkiller Chronicle

Rowe beats a particular trope to death though. He puts the hero in danger. Hero does something to protect himself. Kind of succeeds, but then gets chewed out by teachers for having done something even more dangerous. It happens roughly once every two chapters. The "teachers" at his school barely teach. The entire premise of this magic school is like turning monkeys loose in a bomb factory. Give the students mountains of power, don't teach them what to do, then be super freaking surprised when they blow something up, then curse them for their ignorance. Over and over and over.

I'm not asking for reality in a fantasy book. I am trying to accept the author's premise, but if I am to do that, I'd have to believe that the entire school would have blown itself to fine powder and bone fragments by the end of the first semester.

Do not play a drinking game triggered by the words "honestly boy, how could you not have known?" I keep wanting to shout at the book, "Maybe, because the faculty in this school is so monumentally disastrous they couldn't teach their way out of a wet paper bag!" Even J.K. Rowling tried to keep "first years" out of the "restricted section." Here, the librarians hand out matches along side of copies of the Anarchists' Cookbook. And then blame the students when things go awry.

I have a bunch of other hangups, but to be fair there are some things that redeem this book a bit. Rowe is able to capture snarky teenagers pretty well. His teenagers actually sound like you would expect. Faux-clever wordplay, shyness, angst, posturing, even distorted self-awareness. The teens sound like teens. I didn't think this would be too hard until I read Card's "The Gate Thief." Rowe definitely clears the bar here.

The book also has quite a few "puzzle rooms" like in the computer game "Myst." These can be interesting. I suppose whether or not this device is overused is up to the reader. I found them interesting.

Podehl has a strong performance. His accents and voice characterizations are well crafted.

98 of 128 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • 28-08-17

Listen to tons of fantasy. Easily my favorite of the year

Listen to tons of fantasy. Easily my favorite of the year and possibly before that. I started reading because I like the narrator and quickly got super into this specific story and now listening to authors other books. I cannot wait until the next in this series comes out it was just sooo good.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful