When Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, he is raised by monks and taught the arcane mysteries of sorcery. Vowing to discover for himself who his parents really were, and what led to their violent end, he is thrust into the unfamiliar chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to earn an apprenticeship with a guild of sorcerers.
But he soon learns the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths.
As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that brings the world to the edge of destruction.
This is an updated recording from the original 2014 edition, also performed by Oliver Wyman, which matches the current reissue of the print book.
©2013 Mitchell Hogan (P)2014 Audible Inc.
"For a debut novel this is more than a little impressive. Characters are vividly drawn, multi-layered, and in one or two cases, compelling. Hogan joins with the new wave of fantasy authors in his use of morally ambivalent characters, distinct and tight points of view, believable world building, an intelligible magic system, and some edgy, gritty content." (D.P. Prior, author of The Nameless Dwarf)
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"Took a chance, hit a home run!"
Simply, I'm thrilled to find this. I really like Oliver Wyman as a narrator, listening to his narration of both the Monster Hunter series and Brandon Sanderson's Legion series. So I searched for other books that he narrated and found this gem. The author is not as polished as some, and his theme isn't original, but the book works, and really works well. This is definitely high or epic fantasy, and I'm writing this while book 2 is downloading.
Why you should read this:
The Characters: Character progression in this book is very well done. You care about the ones you are supposed to care about, and are outraged at the ones you are not. There are is a lot of mysteries and secrets about each of them, and you enjoy each morsel of the authors puzzles as he gives them to you.
The Magic System: Borrowed heavily from Patrick Rothfus in my opinion, but it too works, and works very well. The way magic is done in the book is logical, and it's not 'wiggle your fingers and shoot a fireball' magic. What is known in the authors world of magic, is known to the reader, but it's very obvious that a lot about magic was lost during an event he calls 'the shattering'.
The Pace: I dislike reading short books. I want a good long juicy novel, and that's what I got. The pacing is right, and nothing really drags on too long. At 21+ hours of novel, you are getting your credits worth.
The Narrator: Oliver is great. He has some great voices, and I really enjoyed everything I've listened by him. If you haven't listened to the Monster Hunter series (Which is the worst name for a series, but one of my favorites), or Legion, they are worth the credits as well. As a matter of fact, I think Legion is 5 bucks, worth just spending the money instead of using a credit. But I digress.
In short: If you are fans of Patrick Rothfus, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, or Tolkien, then this series will fit you like a glove. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.
Totally enjoyed this book!
I was engrossed from the beginning wanting to know what would happen next. The narrator is excellent. While the vocabulary was suited to the younger readers there was enough sophistication to be enjoyed by adults.
The story is long.
The foundation set in this first book of the series introduces numerous characters for later books with a variety of subplots.
The closet book similar to this is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.
If you liked this book I recommend that you will also like
"The Eye of the World"
"Eye of the Moonrat"
"Circle of Reign" .
"The Way of Kings"
"The Final Empire"
If you'd like a books that are more for older readers and are gripping/scarier/darker:
"The Warded Man"
"The Shadow of the Torturer"
"The Way of Shadows"
"Prince of Thorns"
"A Game of Thrones"
"A Rothfus ripoff"
I would try another book by Mitchell Hogan, but this one was too ponderous and derivative. I kept checking the cover to see if I'd picked up some kind of teen fiction book by mistake.
The voice performance was fine. The story... not so much.
Disappointed with the constant spoon feeding of plot via drawn out, ponderous dialogue.
This was a poor imitation of Patrick Rothfus's Kingkiller Chronicles. All it did was make me want to go back and listen to those again. The main character is... BORING. I quit with about 4 hours left. Couldn't take the meandering dialogue anymore. It takes 20 minutes just to get the main character to go find a jail key and unlock someone. The whole time you're thinking, "he's really building to something here, otherwise this rather mundane task wouldn't be such a focus." Then, another 10 minutes later... NOPE. It just took that much writing to get him to find a key and turn it. Nothing else happening. Just a run of the mill jail break that he turned into a half hour back and forth:
"Where are you going?"
"to get the key to get you out."
"please don't go."
"but I must"
"but you can't"
"I have to get you out!"
"Promise me you'll come back"
"I promise, it'll only be a moment"
in the end he unlocks her cell without incident. WTF?!?! a taste of that is fine, establishes her apprehension and all of that, but it goes ON AND ON AND ON well past the point of meaningfulness.
Parts of it were too delicate, too tame, other parts felt forced. The author is trying to bring several separate stories together, ala GRRM, but I found myself simply not caring about any of them, least of all the main protagonist, Caldan, who just doesn't have a whole lot of personality to care much about. Maybe the guy will become interesting at some point down the road, but it wasn't soon enough for my tastes.
"Good, but... Something is missing"
This was a really good book. It had likable characters. It was well written with good dialogue and action scenes. It had drama, coming of age, humor, love interests, intrigue, creative and well developed world and magic system. It has so much, it should be great. It even has a good narrator. But somewhere and somehow it didn't quite live up to the greatness that it should have. It actually isn't as good as the sum of its qualities. It lacks... Pizazz yes, it lacks that little spark that takes a really good story and makes it magical.
The real problem with this story is that it is so damned nearly magically great that you actually notice that it's not quite perfect. It needs so very little to push it into greatness, and you expect to find it on the next page.... But you don't the next page steps back away from greatness and forces the story back onto the outlined progression. And every time it does it, you are left feeling like maybe there was a page or two or two hundred left out of the final draft that would have made it it great. It needs something. I think it needs a more memorable character or two. It needs a Handrian and Royce, or the Bloody Nine. Or Sam Gamgee. Or a Vaelin Al Sorna. Or even an Oberon the Wolfhound.
I recommend the story. It's good. It's really good. But it is noticeable just how close it came to being great. And that oddly, is a difficult thing to quantify and explain. I feel bad saying it. But because it is so nearly great, I feel I must say it. Because nearly great is still much better than most people can achieve. So, in that, there is my review. Damn. It was almost perfect.
"Fantastic first book!"
As a fantasy author, I'm extremely critical of other fantasy works. Rarely do I find works outside of Sanderson, Rothfuss, Ryan or Martin in this genre that intrigue me on an author's level. The magic system here is well thought out and I look forward to its depth increasing in future books. The main character, Caldan, is very likeable as is Moranda (sp?). I wanted more development of the Protector master, Simmins (sp?) but that's a minor thing.
One thing I give high praise to this story for is the side stories. In truth, I was just as intrigued, if not slightly more so, by several of those. They were expertly weaved into the main plot and I never felt like I wanted to just move on to get back to the main story. Trust me, this is a skill and something author's struggle with. Hogan does it well. I was very captivated by Lady Kaitlyn and Vacille's (sp?) stories especially.
Caldan definitely felt naive at first as a character, but guess what? He was! Others have pointed that out as a negative point, but it didn't bother me as I felt that was intentional. By the end of this first installment, he had grown and grown quickly.
I think there's just enough tying up of loose ends to satisfy any reader of the genre and leaves enough open to make me want to eagerly move on to the next book (which is out, thank goodness). Final note: this book is VERY light on foul language and contains almost no sensuality, only a few references. It is YA safe and something I value in books. Hogan, like some other well-known authors, prove again that you don't have to muck up a book with profanity and sex to be entertaining and captivating.
Truly, for a first book from a debut author, I am impressed. So will you be.
"Almost worth the credit...."
The magic system was unique... Only wish the author had settled on a stronger word for his top tier component rather than "trinket".
Least liked the main protagonist. I get that he's new to the city, but seriously he's an idiot! Warned by everyone to mind the docks, he goes anyways: unarmed and with all his coins.
To make up for this lack of wisdom, Hogan wrongly chose to make him a master mage/fighter with a nice physique and lady-charming looks (i.e. all the ingredients for the arrogant, self-centered young man he becomes in Book 2, according to another review)
No, unless he greatly improved. I'd rather see my credits go towards other authors.
Admirably. But apart from the prologue, I found the pacing slow. Oliver couldn't save it.
"Every. Sentence. Must. Sound. Ominous!"
It took me a while to realize that this wasn't a sleepy novel with no plot to speak of, but that it basically is just the first act of a larger story which will be sold as several books. I hate it when authors do that.
Many mysteries are presented in this book and none are answered. There is no rising conflict, just characters dithering about and slowly revealing the questions which the author hopes you will find intriguing. Rather close to the end of the "novel," the author adds an inciting incident from out of nowhere, tossing aside all the foreshadowing that has come before, forcing the little adventuring party to finally assemble and flee. Presumably something will actually happen in the second book, but as for the first, this is one of the most poorly named books I have ever seen. A "crucible of souls" implies character development and testing. nothing like that even vaguely happens.
The narrator destroys any hope the book might have had by insisting on the exact same ominous pacing for every sentence and ALWAYS ending each chapter... with the same ominous..... pause.
"Rich characters, exciting and very well written!"
Book was very well written, story comes alive in your mind and it was hard to put down. Details are everywhere so enjoyed the second read very much!
There are many moments that burn bright in my mind but mostly they revolve around Caldan and his discovery and struggle with his sorcery abilities. But I'm also very intrigued with Amerdan, he is evil with one track mind but I admire his self control and discipline.
Caldan experimenting with his sorcery and crafting his first shielding medallion
something along the lines of ... the world that is know is not all what it seems, too many secrects have been hidden for too long, threatening to destroy everything
"Pretty Good Coming of Age Story"
The story kept moving,
He did a great job, the characters were easily distinguishable. This makes it easy to just relax and enjoy the story.
I tried this book hoping it would be at least OK, but from the very beginning I knew I was in for a pleasant surprise. Good story and great narration.
THE BAD NEWS, AND ISN'T THERE ALWAYS
The reviewer from Chicago hits the nail on the head. This story has almost no plot and kind of wanders sleepily. It starts out great, with one of the best introductions ever. A gifted solider fighting off 13 men to save his family, a sorceress not quite strong enough, evil shape shifters and a scared little girl. If even half of the drama set in the introduction could have happened this would have been a great novel, but this did not happen. BY THE ANCESTORS, the main character is very likeable, if not a little stupid at times. Hogan knew when he wrote this that it would be the first of a series, so he showed us he had writing skills, but he held back. The series or the trilogy is often the bane of good novels, causing authors to stretch out a story, so they can fit it into three long books.
At times this has a YA feel to it. At first I was even reminded of The Rithmatist. All the elements are there, a school full of rich kids, who hate the main character, who is poor. The main character questions the obvious so often, it's almost silly. A teenage boy who is good looking, but is not girl crazy.
He does good voices, has some great inflictions, but his slow pacing even during the few action scenes, can be mind numbing.
"Another story about Pug"
Similar to the Magician. Orphan meets wizards discovers he is special.
Orphan discovers he is special... again. Good enough that I bought book 2.
"An excellent approach and cracking characters"
The plot and character development are intertwined and intricate enough to to allow a retread.
The protagonist with his humble nature unaware of the power and potential within.
Chaldeans first test duel with the protector master and discovering respect through performance.
if only there were enough hours to listen in a day.
It was an entertaining read throughout.
Loved this book! Cannot wait to get the next installment!
Oliver does a great job of narrating.
"Good concept, but ..."
The magic and the background world-building is interesting and intriguing. But the characters is a bit bland. I have a hard time to feel really interested in the persons and their fate.
Perhaps, possibly to someone who is just advancing from really vanilla authors like Eddings.
The narrator is really good, almost every time he succeed in giving all involved their own voice, it is one or two dialogues it is hard to know which line belongs to which woman, but that is probably as much the authors fault as the narrator.
Not especially, sometimes I hardly felt the need to turn on to continue listening.
Perhaps it deepens and engage more when the author get some more experience and there is more revelation about the world.
"Good book, well performed."
It's very good. One of the best.
Wyman has a simple, no nonsense style that is easy to follow even when you turn the speed up. Sometimes readers affect certain styles that only serve to distract - Wyman does not. He is exactly right.
The characterisation was very well done. Also the world building. So much detail and great characters. Sometimes the detail meant that the story moved quite slowly, but it's involving enough that you don't really mind that. Great book.
Similar to other stories in the same genre, like name of the wind. I'm thinking about it and I'm not sure if this is actually better than name of the wind, I can't decide. For me that's just about as glowing a review as Ican give.
Narration was good as well, although I would like to hear a change in pace as action hots up. But again it worked and it worked well.
"A good start to an interesting story"
I already have listened to the next book. so Yes :-)
same as above
Oliver Wyman has a great voice and can really get you feeling the mood and story much better than many other narrators
Listen to the next book. this is an odd question
This is the first book in the series and is a good first effort. basically its a young lad with magic powers cast out in to the world to find his way on life. facing all the issues such who is he, how can he get better at magic and who killed his parents. while I enjoyed this story to a level the main character is going from one crisis to the next, this is all very well and good but because he is so Super duper amazing he hardly seems to try to get out of them. also he lacks depths no whit or anger only much remorse and shame, this detracts and his character is too plain no quirks or flaws to draw you in. he acts to dully there are very few twists or turns in this book. As a frame work this story could of been better but hey its ok.
totally different from what I usually read. loved every minute can't wait for next one
Slow to start but only
setting the scene! Cracking when you get into it!! Great stuff and I enjoyed it
This was no Patrick Rothfuss or Brent Weeks. more akin to Terry Goodkind.
That still means good. Not excellent, but well worth the read/listen.
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