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Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe – SPFBO Review

Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe – SPFBO Review
4.25
Book Name: Sufficiently Advanced Magic
Author: Andrew Rowe
Publisher(s): Self-Published
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): LitRPG / Fantasy
Release Date: February 26, 2017

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’ve come to conclusion that if you name one of your characters Corin then the book’s a good one. Where Loyalties Lie has a Corin. Sufficiently Advanced Magic has a Corin and I’ve read another with a Corin as the main character. There’s something about that name!

If your book makes it to the final round, you know that people are going to love your book. It might not be everyone, but you’ve beaten 289 other books to get here and that says a great deal – more than a review can in many ways. Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe is a good book – pick it up, read it and you won’t find much in the way of disappointment. There are a lot of people out there that will tell you the same thing… almost 500 reviews on Amazon.com, this book is already doing well!

In a strange way, the start is not the strongest aspect of this book. Unlike others that doesn’t last the whole first half, just the first chapter or two. If you’re anything like me and have played MMOs since UO first debuted you’ll get the references throughout the book, but at the start they just seem… I don’t know… false, out of place, the tone of the book has not been established enough for them to work. It felt a little forced.

However, once you’re past those two chapters, the book settles into the world and the tone evens out. Eventually, even those first two chapters begin to feel right, if never completely gelling with the rest.

The book falls firmly in the LitRPG sub-genre so you have to be aware of that going in. It is all Sword Art Online (series one) with more magic – and that would have sold me on it right there and then.

The basic idea is of a young man who enters a tower which he must climb, completing puzzle room after puzzle room, in order to gain the power to find his long lost brother. It sounds simple, but the plot thickens and there are betrayals just around the corner. There is also a strong hint of Harry Potter about the book. The thing is, the book wears its influences proudly upon its sleeve.

Magic is simple, yet complicated and we are treated to a treatise on how it all works. Some of this is a little info-dumpy but it is also engaging and forms part of the wider story. Each climber, should they succeed, gains an attunement – a mark which confers magical power. Every nation has different attunements and the wearers must learn to use them.

There are all sorts of MMO references through: the tower (a dungeon), the soul gems which slain monsters leave behind, the mana points (which one of our judges found a little hard to swallow), the levels of magery. You do get the feeling that this could be a game world… and perhaps this might put some off.

Overall, the book has a slightly YA feel. There is an innocence to it, in contrast with Where Loyalties Lie, where there is conspicuous absence of innocence. Sufficiently Advanced Magic is an enjoyable read which I find myself recommending to the young people (everyone is younger than me) I work with on a regular basis. I enjoyed reading it and at times found it hard to put down.

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