I actually preordered the print version of this book but I haven’t had a chance to read it. When I got a notification from Audible that the audiobook had been released, and I found it had a whispersync discount, I jumped all over that opportunity. I always have more time for audiobooks! 😀
Corin Cadence finally has a firm reason to believe his brother, Tristan, is still alive.
Unfortunately, finding more information isn’t going to be easy. Tristan appears to be entangled with a clandestine organization that calls themselves Whispers. And Corin’s last brush with the Whispers didn’t exactly end well.
As much as he wants to follow that lead, Corin has more pressing problems to deal with.
Sera is still suffering from a mysterious malady that has stolen her voice and her magic. Corin knows that a portion of that is his fault, and he’s determined to fix it.
His mother is still off in another country, and there are growing odds that she’s involved with a conspiracy to overthrow the visages.
Corin has also been branded with a new magical mark on his right hand — one that even veteran climbers don’t seem to recognize. He’s going to need to figure out how it works, otherwise it could be more of a vulnerability than an asset.
Corin still hasn’t finished his first year at Lorian Heights. If he fails his final exams, he’ll be sent off to the military, and lose his chance to investigate his brother’s fate.
And finally, there’s the issue of enemies.
He might have made a few of them.
The biggest problem?
He’s not sure if Jin, once one of his closest companions, is one of them.
“There is no realer man than I,” Vanniv replied with a nod. “Excepting for the fact that I am a magically created copy of the original Vanniv, of course, and thus completely fake.”
Welp. This audiobook is 24 hours long and I finished it in 2 days. So, that might put how much I liked it into perspective. I really enjoyed book one in this series, Sufficiently Advanced Magic – and so I had a good feeling that I’d love this one too.
This is the continuing story of Corin Cadence, a first year student at a magical university, who is dealing with learning his magic on top of having to fight all number of heinous monsters in all kinds of situations. This story brings us into final exams too, so there’s more magical school going on, while shenanigans are going down regarding the spires, the creatures in the spires, and how they connect to other groups who are doing shady nonsense.
Like its predecessor, this volume has a hard AF magic system: magic has rules, those rules are explained thoroughly, and those rules are, for the most part, followed. I find that the fun part here is how Corin and his friends use the rules to their advantage, or find loopholes in the rules to cheat at things without really cheating. Corin is very clever, but he’s not super smug about it, so he remains a character that I can cheer for. It feels… sort of like LitRPG without quite being LitRPG, if that makes sense. The classes and spells, and magical abilities and summons and monsters and the like make it seem rather Final Fantasy-esque at times to me, but it isn’t a game at all. It’s just how this land is.
This book and the world it takes place in is also a really rather unique example of awesome LGBTQ+ representation in the fantasy genre. There appears to be no stigma in this society about gender or sexuality. At least, not in this part of the world. Corin is asexual, for example. There’s also a really interesting character named Sheridan who is non-binary. Corin even explains to someone who is foreign to their land how this idea of gender neutrality is completely normal and that it is polite to use the pronoun ‘they’ until notified which pronouns the person prefers. Sheridan ended up being one of my favorite characters because they are mysterious and dangerous and rather aloof at times. They are a necromancer, which is a restricted attunement. They can heal things that may seem unhealable. Also their dog is named Mister Eviscerator.
My absolute favorite character is still Vanniv, one of Sarah’s summoned monsters, who is still just as snarky and just as amazing as he was in SAM. Which brings me to the narration on this one: Nick Podehl nails it, just as he did the first. Each person has their own voice, their own tone which makes them unique. Sheridan is sly and a bit smug, Vanniv is stuck up and snarky (and amazing), Mara’s accent is amazing, and another of my favorite characters, Professor Vellum, is just an amazingly snarky old woman. She’s like Professor McGonagall if she was 800% more snark.
So, all told I really liked this one, and I think it’s safe to say that I can’t wait for the next! I also think I’ll just wait for the audiobook, because I just love these characters being brought to life like this. I definitely had 4.5/5 stars of fun with this one!