Redo Review for SPFBO: Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe

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I read this book a while ago, but right now the review is in massive wall of text form, and not in the format I’ve been doing the other reviews, so I’m redoing it.

I loved this book, it was the first time I dipped my toes into the LitRPG genre, and its a mix of LitRPG and epic fantasy. It’s a great place to start for people who enjoy traditional fantasy and want to try out LitRPG.

This is also a semi finalist and I totally agree with the nomination because it’s awesome.

http://www.bookwormblues.net/2017/08/21/spfbo-2017-round-3-mini-reviews/


Bingo: Self Published


Plot:

The book starts out with Corin, the main character, starting his way through an enormous spire filled with puzzle rooms and monster rooms. He’s going through a trial to see if he can earn his Attunement, this worlds way of being granted magical abilities by god like beings.

After the trial he sets off to a magic academy where students typically spend two years of study before starting their careers.

 

There’s a lot of magic school stuff where you learn how the magic works and how the world works through their classes and professors, I had a lot of fun with that, there’s a lot to learn about this world.

There’s also a second test where students are put through mock spires in preparation for their real re-entry into the tower as a judgment for how well they’re doing. They have to get into groups and go through several mock trials before they are ready for a real re-entry.

While in the spire during his first Attunement trial he had a bunch of things go wrong in the tower that I can’t talk about without too many spoilers. He may have gotten himself involved in a war against the gods, or a war between the gods. The details are murky and he’s not sure what’s going on, other than he’s involved in something way over his head.

There’s also a subplot going about a possible war between the nations as well, with sabotage and spies trying to take down their cities defenses.


Characters:

  • Corin – the main character, and since this is a single POV story we see everything through his eyes. He’s a really easy to like character for me, a softy for animals he doesn’t want to kill a cute bunny like creature in one of the first rooms of the trial, so he goes another way. He also second guesses killing monsters and feels bad when they cry out in pain. I’m a sucker for animals so this is an easy way to get me behind a character. He also has a lot of interesting almost ocd like tendencies and social anxiety disorder where he prefers to be alone, is awkward in social situations, and doesn’t like to be touched. He’s smart and likes to experiment, although sometimes that goes poorly and he ends up in trouble. He makes some dumb decisions, but I’ve come to expect that from 17 year old protagonists. Ultimately, I was very much on his side rooting for his success through the book.
  • Sara – his half sister, smart ass, very smart and very capable. I liked her a lot as a character, she was level headed most of the time and a great asset to the team of students going through their second trials in the mock-spire.
  • Jin – One of the members of the group, very mysterious. He won’t reveal what his Attunements are or where they are places, he’s possible spider division. He’s also foreign and he won’t disclose anything about that either, he was a good friend to Corin and a capable team mate.

There are a lot of side characters I loved, especially Professor Velum who was like Professor McGonnagall with even more sass. There’s a bunch of professors and students and they were all pretty interesting. Vanniv was a summoned monster that Sara can use during battle and he’s the absolute best, fully intelligent and not just a monster he’s sarcastic and powerful.


World Building:

There are all different sorts of Attunements, and depending on which one you were granted depends on which dorms you’re put into – almost harry potter like with the division of the school into different subsets competing against each other for points.  There could possibly be a, “Spider division”, that’s a class of students training to be spies, and if you can correctly identify these spies your house gets 50 points.

There are too many Attunements to go into them all, but they are markings that are gifted from the gods on your head, hand, thigh, chest, or back. Hand marked Attuned cast through their hands, Leg marked Attuned can deliver crippling blows in melee, Lung Marked Attuned cast through spoken spells, Heart marked Attuned channel through both their hands and heart it’s dangerous but more powerful, Mind marked Attuned can cast spells in their minds without any form of motion or spoken spells. The MC is Mind marked, but it comes with a serious downside – if you deplete your mana you can go insane, and this is a big part of Corins obsession through the book, not wanting to end up like his grandfather.

Some people can go back into the spire and get multiple Attunements. You also level up your Attunements, with each level up your aura changes color according to how powerful you are.

You start as clear (Quartz), then red (Carnelian) , orange (Sunstone), yellow (Citrine), green (Emerald) and hypothetical blue (Sapphire).


Writing/Pacing/Tone:

This was fast paced at points and other times it slowed down to talk about magic theory and how it worked – for some people this may slow you down but I loved reading about that so it sped by for me.  I think the book was about 630 pages but I blew through it in a couple days, and then re-read it several months later for fun. The audiobook by Nick Podehl is also fantastic.

The tone is light and fun, the dialogue is sarcastic and witty which kept things in high spirits even during danger. There were puzzles and monsters and so much going on, but there was also down time from action with character development and world building.


Audience:

  • For people who love a lot of magic
  • For people who like LitRPG
  • For people who like magic schools
  • For people who like a lot of action
  • For people who like monsters
  • For people who like puzzles
  • For people who like a lot of adventure
  • For people who like twists and turns
  • For people who prefer single POV
  • For people looking for LGBT elements in the book (not a huge part but it’s there)

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