Hey, this is the 1000th book on my goodreads ‘read’ list. Hooray!
Having really enjoyed Andrew Rowe’s other books, I was excited to give this one a read. The premise looked really interesting. It’s very magical school oriented, which is a trope that I’ve always liked in all its different forms.
This one is in the SPFBO this year, and it’s doing great so far!
I received a free copy of the kindle book from the author, which I then upgraded to the audiobook because I have more time to listen to audiobooks as of late (and so, to get to it faster, I jumped at the cheap whispersync upgrade). Good call, me!
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.
“Uh, yeah, so that didn’t go as planned.” I tried to smile. My face felt… weird.
“I’m resisting the urge to smack you right now.”
“Your willpower is, as always, admirable.”
Sera sighed, rolling her eyes. “Ugh. At least you didn’t break your snark.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. My snark is indestructible. It’s the core of my being, and quite possibly the universe as a whole.”
Oh snark. I love you. ❤ Kristen + Snark 4ever ❤
This one grabbed my attention right from the beginning. The story plops us right at the door to the tower, right as Corin Cadence, minor noble, magic user, and 10/10 little brother is about to enter it to be judged and more or less ‘sorted’ into his specific magical attunement. It’s going to be a tough test. There be monsters inside this tower and he’s armed only with a backpack full of food and supplies. At least he was smart enough to bring some rope. Rope’s always useful.
From there we head right into the action, and Corin’s adventure starts. We meet unique people, and we run into unique situations. He picks up magical artifacts, fights magical monsters and runs into all kinds of things, but he does run into a prison in the tower with some dangerous people inside it… so of course he lets them out. Luckily, he comes out unscathed, attuned to his magic and ready to start magical university!
We learn about this world’s magic as the students learn it, and that worked for me a lot. It definitely has the feel of a magical school, but it really feels like the world of a video game sometimes too. It doesn’t feel like a LitRPG at all, but I still feel like if there was a video game made of this particular universe, I would play the absolute shit out of it. Each person has a class. Sometimes more than one. There are levels of power in a class. You can do more spells if you’re a higher level. That sort of thing. It’d make a good game.
Rowe’s books tend to have a really awesome layer of wit in them that usually make me laugh. The language used is just modern enough that these witticisms peppered here and there don’t at all seem out of place. The dialogue just flows wonderfully.
The narrator, Nick Podehl did a stellar job bringing this book to life for me. Accents and tone were on point, and it turned into a couple of days of more or less putting my headphones on in the morning and then all of a sudden it was time to go home. I love books that immerse me so hard that a work day just flies by, so, I mean…. points just for that, lol. He really made my favorite character (Vanniv, the best snarky AF summoned monster ever) even better. Love love love.
Finally, the magic system in this world is so incredibly well thought out and is written in a way that makes it feel a bit like we’re learning it as Corin is learning it, so it’s not just one giant info dump of all the rules and regulations. The magic of this world is really, really quite thoroughly thought out and can be complicated at times, though it is well explained. I’m going to compare it to Sanderson’s Mistborn series in that respect. There’s a *lot* going on, but this is quite a long novel, and all this is spread over it. There are attunements, which are all different. Each person can have more than one of them, and what they can do depends on what their attunement is. Magic takes mana to cast. Each mana is different. Each mana has an opposite, and if those are cast at each other, it’ll (more or less) nullify it. It goes deeper. It’s really interesting.
The ending made an already fantastic book even better to me. It twists and turns and things are definitely not all what they seemed. Loved it!
Guys, this was a really good book. The audiobook was about 22 hours long and I enjoyed every single minute of it.
I can’t wait for more in this series! What a cool 1000th book!