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Publisher's Summary

After concluding their first year at Lorian Heights, Corin and his friends catch a train from their native Valia to the distant country of Caelford.

For most, this would be a simple vacation. Corin has other plans: 

  • Meet Anabelle Farren, the eccentric owner of Farren Labs, and learn about artificial attunements.
  • Seek out Warren Constantine, a previous Arbiter, for training and a potential alliance.
  • Find the visage Ferras herself to seek a cure for Sera's condition.

Of course, Corin is Corin, and there's absolutely no chance he's going to be able to stick to a list. Even if he miraculously developed a sense of focus, he isn't the only one with plans.... 

The Blackstone Bandit. Everyone's favorite mysterious book entity. The aforementioned Farren. A vacationing professor. The mirror of a figure from Keras' past. When their plots intersect, Corin and his friends are, predictably, stuck at the center.

It's going to be a long vacation.

©2021 Andrew Rowe (P)2021 Podium Audio

Critic Reviews

Winner of the 2020 Stabby Award for Best Self-Published/Independent Novel!

What listeners say about The Torch That Ignites the Stars

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Massive MEH

This book is terrible. I can’t believe it’s got so many 5 star reviews. It has absolutely no plot line. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen and was severely let down.
There is too much introspection and self doubt in the main character. His thoughts are not witty comments that keep you entertained, instead they are repetitive and unnecessary after the first time.
The first book in the series had good potential, the second fell short of the mark. This book was just a waste of time for the author and reader.
If I could give this book zero stars that would count towards the rating, I would.

2 people found this helpful

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Enthralling!

I cannot wait to experience the next book in this utterly enchanting series. The character growth is unparalleled. The narration is so smooth and entertaining - I’ve chewed through three of these books in the last 2 weeks! Please tell me there’s more! Lol. Thankyou.

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another amazing novel

I love these books so very much. I hate the fucking cliffhanger at the end you cruel son of a bitch why do you have to do that to us

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Book 3 - Fun and a great pace

Although I sometimes get impatient with the technicalities of how a character achieved progression, I truly enjoy the strategies and plot line. Looking forward to book 4

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Awesome story

The characters are always growing and the story leaves you wanting more every time. Absolutely love these books and the narration is perfect.

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worth the wait

I've been waiting for this book for a while but it's been worth the wait as usual nicks narration is spot on can't wait for the next book

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everything you can expect

Great storytelling and audio as always. This book keeps delivering the story with just as much twisting and turning previously.

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incredible

the only downside to these books is that they're not longer! I cannot wait to see where the story heads

Nick's narrating is amazing as always

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Fantastic addition to the series

Good enough to compel me to write a review!

As per usual the voice acting was outstanding and the story, while not as focussed on progression (characters or story), provided a wealth of much needed background information and insight into the different magic systems in the universe.

10/10 would buy this book in order to listen again (although I don’t have to).

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Cure for analytical souls

This is 1 of 3 series i absolutly enjoy, as having difficulty with my focus reading.

An exelent sientific and magical story of socialy akward young person.
Personaly i feel connected due to the similaritys of real life the main character is going trougth minus the magic, sadly.

The story continues stifts and turns we still have a lot to uncover.
I wish the series Eternal life if not some fan spinoffs as well.

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  • Joseph
  • 13-05-2021

Starts a lot of plotlines, doesn't continue any.

I think this series is turning in a direction that I really don't like. I am not a fan of long-running series in general. I like the tight trilogy, the three, maybe four book arc. Unfortunately this author is writing this book like he has 14 more in which to explore his plot. He starts a dozen new plotlines and introduces a bunch of new characters while moving the pre-existing plotline almost not at all. Also it heavily references the author's other books that are part of this universe but not part of the main series which is just annoying. If I had to read the side books to understand this one then make them part of the main story, don't make me feel clueless just because you don't know how to write a cohesive plot.

I'm probably done with this series after this installment. What a letdown.

74 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 13-05-2021

Boring and Tedious

I literally could not listen to this anymore. This book was going nowhere. It consists of back and forth banter that does not advance the story in any way. I listened for a few hours on and off and finally decided to return it.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series, as well as the spin-offs. I think this might be the last one in this series that I listen to. The reviews obviously can't be trusted. I cannot believe that someone actually gave this book a five-star review. Lately it seems as if authors are just adding filler books in the series to boost profits and not advancing the plot or storylines.

61 people found this helpful

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  • D. Neill
  • 14-05-2021

Relationship Fails

Relationships. That’s what destroys this book, and really, the overarching story. The first book, Sufficiently Advanced Magic was great, though signs of relational incompetence were there, the overall story, presentation, and especially, Nick Podehl’s performance, saved the book. Each subsequent book has seen the gross incompetence of the author, when it comes to relationships, subsume the rest of the book and the characters.

There is nothing realistic in the way these characters interact. The dialogue and reactions read like a mental conversations I had with myself in my early teen years. The main character, Corin, demonstrates either supreme selfishness or split-personality disorder. In one moment, he’s a neurotic boy on the autism spectrum, in the next, he’s the psychologist who’s treating a neurotic boy on the autism spectrum. Corin will simultaneously identify the appropriate human reaction and deliberately refuse to do it because: reasons. It appears that Mr. Rowe is attempting to portray a autism spectrum person in a sympathetic light, but all he’s done is prove that Corin is not on the spectrum, rather is a self absorbed, spoilt brat. Being in Corin’s head is what I imagine being a trust-fund baby is like.

Time and time again, interactions between characters read like “ought to behave this way” lectures, rather than genuine human companionship and conflict. I suppose if you were to establish a group of people by requiring a minimum number of psychiatric disorders to be included, you may find naturally occurring group dynamics like those that surround Corin. To say the relationships seem force and artificial is about the best compliment I can give the book’s character development. Decisions are arbitrary and often capricious. The most common reaction I have to the characters’ behaviors is confusion followed by annoyance. This has quickly turned to apathy. Corin, Sara and the gang do not act like any people I’ve ever known. Their alien behavior makes them boring.

Unfortunately, relationships seem to be the keystone that this story is meant to be built on. Relationships are the weakest and least engaging aspect of the Arcane Ascension series. The world is interesting, the characters are not.

38 people found this helpful

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  • cody king
  • 18-05-2021

And then nothing happens

This book is a definite downgrade from the previous books. The end of two relieved alot of the building tension and this book feels aimless without it. This is made worse by the fact that Corrin feels almost superfluous to large portions of the book. Rowe seems to be writing Sarah as Corrin+. She's always right and and is better than him in basically every scenario they run against, and her tendency to treat Corrin like a child got old fast.
To summarize: This book barely feels connected to the plot and poor use of character just makes it worse.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 14-05-2021

Boring.

Nick P is one of my fave readers and he did a great job. The book itself sucks. The story slowed way down. The book does a lot of 1x1 battles for each character, but Even in the 1x1s they’re mostly characters asking, “do you mind if I take this on myself? Jump in if I’m going to die” so there’s no real feel of danger, just everybody showing how strong they are. It sets up for a seemingly stronger endgame. The trials are long, and drawn out, often with 1 short battle with minimal danger. The murder mystery trial was absolutely terrible, I chalked the book up as a dud after that.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Sergio Mathurin
  • 22-05-2021

This is not it. Not at all.

I've read/listened to every book that takes place in this book's world. Previous entries, side stories, everything I've enjoyed some much more than others, but the world building is good so I've kept going.

This book took considerable effort to finish.
First off this IS a side story there are no two ways about it. This book is 95% cheap filler, with painfully slow pacing. It felt like a way to artificially power up the cast for the next entry. This also made the power ups feel unearned and lazy. I understand Andrew likes his side stories, but this was supposed to be a main line book. I am confident you could move onto the next book with a two page summary of this one and be fine. That's how inconsequential most of the events here felt.

Secondly, I am coming to realize that though Andrew Rowe's world is interesting, his characters are not. Their behavior is unrealistic at best, and akin to cringy teenage fanfiction at worst. They simply do not come across as real people as their behavior, choices, dialog and relationships feel extremely artificial. I can go into this from numerous angles but then this review would become an essay so the only one I'll mention here is the dialog. The dialog between characters outside the main group is fine enough, but dialog and especially banter between members of our main party feels like it was written by a nerdy 13 year old girl. This would be fine if all of these characters were nerdy 13 year old girls, but clearly that's not the case. Thinking back, I believe this issue comes up in all of Andrew's works (that I've read) but is overshadowed by the world building and intrigue brought about by the wider plot. As the world building is scaled back here and the wider plot barely inches forward, these problems become much more evident in this entry.

The last thing I'll bring up in this review is how unlikable I found the character of Sera to be. I don't know if the author's goal was for that be the case but it most was the achieved result, at least for me. She came accross as extremely selfish and self serving, which wouldn't automatically make her character unlikable if it was intentional and executed well. That didn't seem to be the case here. This dislike is exasperated because it also feels like the author would like Sera to be our MC, rather than our actual MC.

This book was severely disappointing. I'll get the next entry, because I enjoy the overall world, but if this level of quality persists that'll be it for me and the works of Andrew Rowe.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Elena Foulkes
  • 12-05-2021

kind of a side quest

Sarah is suspicious of every person they meet and that is completely warranted but gets old quickly and the quibbling between corin and her gets annoying so annoying that if you drank alcohol every time they said a witty remark towards each other you would get drunk within a chapter.
Sara is op as hell now or going to be when her scaring is completely healed which is not a big problem in her fight's, Corin and mara are also op though for Patrick it's hard to tell because it's mentioned that he's talented but there aren't actually many fights and Patrick doesn't really fight or even appear in any of them,Cecily is new and doesn't have that many appearances ether but her relationship with Corin is wierd and I'd rather see more of jin plus not big on the Shy thing and the romance parts are cring

in total great world building not much action at all which made a lot of bots boring especially when they went into the tower but it's a good precursor for book 4 that will probably be action packed, some questions awnsered but even more have been raised which is how I like it, would have liked more Caris in general but I guess I'll have to wait around two years for book 3 of the sacret sword side arc thing and even longer for the next book in this series to come out but as long as it's got a lot more action I'll be happy

19 people found this helpful

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  • Amy R.
  • 11-05-2021

So glad to hear Nick bring the story to life again

The gang is on break in Caelford and so much happens! I love how much we learn during this book and an interaction with a certain professor stands out as one of my favorite moments from this book.

The tone shift is different in this book - we had school and the newness and fun of magic in the first two, and now we are really learning about the broader socio-political implications of the world and just what Corin is involved in. The stakes are higher and I can’t wait for AA4!

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amber J.
  • 17-05-2021

It’s all coming together

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a book to hit my library! I will say this book was a little different than AA 1 and 2. It seemed to me like a crossover. If you haven’t read The War of Broken Mirrors and Weapons and Wielders yet read them first. It will really make you appreciate this book so much more. There are a lot of little things that you will absolutely love of you have the relationship with the previous characters.
When a certain red head comes in I literally did a little squeal.
I’m so excited to get the next book in Andrew Rowe’s universe no matter which series it’s in.
Nick of course is a master as always! Top notch.
This book really gave him lots of little ways to show his narrative powers.
Basically if you like Rowe you will love this reshing book. Read it now. If this isn’t your style you are missing out. Keep it up Rowe

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • steven
  • 17-05-2021

NOTHING HAPPENS

waited years for this book and it was for a filler arc. It's all set up and very little pay off. Bad

14 people found this helpful

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