Review: Sufficiently Advanced Magic or my first LitRPG (maybe!)

Hello everyone! How are you? And how is your reading going? I hope you are safe, and that things would get better really soon!
Today I am here with a review, or at least, I try because I am having some difficulties speaking about this book. I don’t know why, but I would try and see what would come out of this, be warned!

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Title: Advanced Magic
Series: Arcane Ascension #1
Author: Andrew Rowe
Publication Date: February 26, 2017
Page Count: 621

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.

As I was saying before, I really enjoyed this book, but I am having a hard time to collect my thoughts and write something that makes sense, and in part, it is due to the fact that this book feels a lot like a debut because there are some “rough” things and some things that aren’t really well managed, even if this is not a debut, and in part because, at least to me, it is impossible to not compare this to Harry Potter. And I am not saying it in a bad way, and it wasn’t a hindrance while I was reading. It is just that it is difficult to not compare the two. Anyway, let’s see what I would do with all of this!

I think that the best thing about this book is the magical system because it is complex and well developed. And magic is so present in everything and it is everywhere, in a sense. And since this is a book set in a magical school, where we get to attend some lessons (and I loved it so much!) we get a ton of explanations, we get to see a lot of this magical system, without feeling it like a big info dump. And the magic school was just so good!
It is highly original and it is well developed, and just so interesting!

And we have a magical school. And this is cool! The rhyme was unintentional, sorry! We see the lessons, we met the professors, and we learn more about this world and its magic. I loved it! And our MC, Corin, can create magic items, and we follow him as he is learning to do just so. I was in love with this part, and it was great to see his ingenuity and the way he can use what he knows and what he is learning to create something new.

Another peculiar thing in this book is the videogame vibe. Sometimes it really seems like video gaming more than reading, and it was a pleasant change.

And then we have the characters, yay! Corin is our MC, and he is quite original. And real. He is not a very sociable person, he is determined, he has a mission and with his goal in mind, he would not be swayed! But he also panics, from time to time (ok, quite often), and his fear cripples him (I know it is a harsh way to say it, sorry, but it is the clearest explanation I can give) in some ways. He fears to abuse his mental mana, and this would cause is mental health to deteriorate, so it is not a feeble fear, that’s for sure, but he lets his fear dictates some of his actions (and it is an understandable and relatable thing!), and he is a disappointment for his family, and all of this concur to create a more complex and relatable MC. And we have an interesting set of secondary characters to keep him company.
Sera, Patrick, and Jin are very interesting. Sera is a sort of relative for Corin, and their relationship starts out a bit strange, because they were apart for a long time (and the same can be said for Patrick and Corin, too), so they have somehow to start anew, and it was nice to see them interact. Also, their communication of choice is banter, or sort of, and so it was fun, too. And Sera has so much potential, both magical and not that she is very interesting.
Jin is the most mysterious, and even if I think that he is managed in a clumsy way, sort of, I think that, in the end, it comes out a good character. And I am really really curious about him, so it seems like it worked out good!
And Patrick is the sweetest. Maybe he is not the sweetest character ever, but he is the sweetest in this book. And he is one of the most loyal friends you can ever meet.

But, speaking about characters, we have one of the things that made me think of this book as a debut and not a mature work. There is the question about Jin, because I think that all his “mysteriousness” is quite roughly developed, it is not a smooth thing, because basically is
everyone: “what can you do/which powers do you have/etc.?”
Jin: “I cannot really say. I am mysterious”.
That’s all. So, since it works here (and yep, this is confusing, but trust me, it works!) it is not a big hindrance, but it has to be mentioned because it is not the smoothest way!
And since we are speaking about the rough things in this book, let’s talk about the not so sociable MC. I appreciated it, and I think that this part is, in some ways, well done. Because for once we really have a character who doesn’t want to be with other people much. He really is solitary, and he is well done. But it seems to me that it was a way for the author so he doesn’t have to manage a lot of characters. It seems like sometimes the author forgets about the other characters, and the biggest example of this is Roland who sort of disappears on the landscape. So, an interesting idea, well done in some parts, but sometimes I had the feeling that it was, again, something not so smoothly done. It may be just me, but I had the impression that this was a scapegoat sometimes.

When I started this review, I thought that this was going to be a short review but it seems like I was mistaken, because it is pretty long, and I am not done! The good news is that you have to bear with me for a short while and I would be done!
So, let’s talk a moment about the magical artifacts. They were so cool! And seeing Corin creates them, see how he thought about all the different ways to combine what he is learning with the different kinds of mana, magic, and runes and seeing how much work he put behind his creations is fascinating. I think that this was one of the best features of the book (and one of those things that made me think about videogames, and about that, also the thing that when our characters are in the Tower it really seems like the dungeons from videogames, even the thing that you can pick up objects while you are exploring, really really cool!) and some of the artifacts, both the ones he creates and the ones he (or the other characters) find, are simply amazing. My favorite one was a journal Corin found in the beginning, during his judgment. It is a notebook with white pages, but once you wrote in there someone responds to you (doesn’t it ring a bell??But, I am just saying, not complaining here!). This someone is The Voice of the Tower and it would help out our MC quite a lot. I was in love! But even this wasn’t perfect. I know that I just said that I loved it, but I think that it could have been exploited a bit more, again I had the impression that the author had an amazing idea but then he had some difficulties to play it quite right. It wasn’t bad, but I had a distinct feeling that it could have been better managed. And this is quite the refrain for my relationship with this book.

And the ending! That plot twist was just so good!!!!

Even if this book was far from perfect, I loved it! And now I am looking forward to reading the sequel. I can’t wait!!! It really was a good book, with a ton of things going on, an amazing magical system, good worldbuilding, interesting characters, and a solid plot. It is also a chunky book, but it is a fast reading anyway!

I am not so sure about this thing, but I think this is a LitRPG book. If I am right this was the first book of this genre I have ever read, but it won’t be the last!

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This is really the end! What do you think? Have you read this book? Or do you have it on your TBR? And do you have some other LitRPG books?? Let me know!!!

Happy reading!
S.

16 thoughts on “Review: Sufficiently Advanced Magic or my first LitRPG (maybe!)

  1. Tammy says:

    I’ve seen this book around but I’m not sure I’ve ever read a review. It almost sounds like Harry Potter fan fic, in a way. But I’m glad it was interesting enough for 4 stars, even if there were some parts that didn’t work. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: June Wrap-Up!

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