I may not have one of my own books to give away, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give away someone else’s. Every month, I’ll pick a new book that I like to review and give away. This giveaway ends June 25 at 11:59pm EST.
UPDATE: This contest is now finished. Thanks to everyone who participated.
To see how you can win, check out our giveaway rules here.
Author: Andrew Rowe
Published: April 23, 2017
Print Length: 623 Pages
Description (from the author):
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.
I picked up this book looking for a good Indie fantasy, and I wasn’t disappointed. In terms of genre, it is a bit of a cross between something like the Maze Runner and Name of the Wind. There are almost two books here, one that involves the mysterious towers of the world full of deadly puzzle-rooms and deadlier monsters, and a second story of young man learning to use his new abilities to enchant magical items.
As always, I look for elements of writing craft that the author does exceptionally well to help me grow in my own writing. There are two things I think Rowe excels at:
1. The book opening.
2. The world building (especially the magic system). I my mind, it is these two elements functioning together that make this book sing.
The book starts with Corin Cadence at the start of a test inside one of the mystical towers where he must risk his life to receive a blessing (called an attunement) that will grant him one kind of magical ability. It creates immediate tension and allows for world-building as Corin must work out in his mind how to solve the deadly puzzles presented and escalates when Corin’s test strays into non-standard territory. Without giving spoilers, it sets up the key elements that will all be used to resolve the main plot by the end of the book. The action drew me in and allowed the world building to flow naturally without feeling “info dumpy” as Corin reasoned through the challenges.
By the time we get to the middle, things do slow down as Corin goes to school to learn his new powers (probably a little too slow), but by then, Rowe had grabbed me so thoroughly that I didn’t mind moving through a few of the slower chapters before things escalate once again and Corin must return to the tower and face even more difficult challenges. The depth of magic system reminded me of Branden Sanderson with its detail, and Rowe certainly didn’t skimp in when it comes to other detail including both religious and political detail.
For people looking for clean fantasy without the grittiness and sexuality of things like George R. R. Martin, this book is a good fit. There are a few romantic overtones, but no relationships ever materialize and the violence is very tame and mostly monster-focused.
Overall, I found Sufficiently Advanced Magic a very enjoyable read and happily recommend it to fantasy fans.
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