A Review of Andrew Rowe's Arcane Ascension Series.

S: Special place in my heart.

One of my favourites. Intelligent, authentic characters using deep magic systems to creatively solve interesting and unexpected problems.

My rating is for the series as a whole as of writing. It’s amazing. I’ll make sure this review focuses on Book One: Sufficiently Advanced Magic.

Corin Cadence is one of my favourite main characters in all of fantasy. He is, as I image many of us think, how we would approach being a person in a magical world. Analytically. Carefully. Exploitively.

So here’s the plot - you get powers (attunements) ostensibly from the goddess, via blessings you receive in the spires. Corin’s brother goes missing in a spire, and Corin, when he is of age, goes in. Both to find his brother, but also to get his own power. He doesn’t find his brother, he does find Keras (who has two series dedicated to him, they are great, go and read them), and gets the Enchantment attunement.

Not what his father wants, but one that suits Corin, and allows us as readers into the nitty-gritty of rules that underpin the magic system. Super hard magic, here. And I live for it.

Corin and the supporting characters all feel genuine, with genuine relationships. The plot slowly grows wider and wider as events escalate, but always at a manageable pace, such that I didn’t get confused. It continues to expand in later books as well, with the students even leaving their home nation briefly.

Progression feels earned, magic items get created, and, the thing I love most of all, problems (contrived in a teaching dungeon or not), have realistic but innovative solutions engineering by Corin and his friends.

Magic problem solving, as it turns out, is what I love in a book, and this has it in spades.