A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan is the first in an epic fantasy about an orphan learning to use his particular brand of magic in a complex and interesting world. Sounds rather familiar huh? While the story has been told before, the particulars of the magic and world are fascinating and I can see why this originally-independently published book has taken off. The narration left a bit to be desired with the typical problem of a male narrator that can’t help but make the female characters sound ridiculous, but I got used to it.
Note: I received an audiobook copy of A Crucible of Souls from the publisher. Listening to a story impacts my experiences with it.
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
Narrated by Oliver Wyman
(Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #1)
Published by Audible, Harper Voyager on Sept. 22nd, 2015
Page Length: 512 pages
Audio Length: 18 hrs and 13 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
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An imaginative new talent makes his debut with the acclaimed first installment in the epic Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing tale of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery
After young Caldan's parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery.
Growing up plagued by questions about his past, Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous 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 become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers.
But the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowy evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction. Soon, he must choose a side—and face the true cost of uncovering his past.
- I always love a new magic system that I haven’t encountered before and A Crucible of Souls offers several different types of magic that kept me intrigued. Caldan is quite skilled at imbuing materials with magic to serve various purposes, but it is the decisions of what materials to use and how to create those materials that makes it interesting. There are a number of other powers that seem to be brewing, including the ability to always determine if someone is lying, and I’m looking forward to finding out about these new magics emerging.
- We are of the generation that can’t help but love magic schools right? ;-) Caldan spends a lot of his time balancing classes and everything else, though the focus of the story is less on the school than certain other popular series, ha.
- The world is introduced through a couple of different perspectives though Caldan doesn’t actually travel much in this first book. There is clearly a lot going on in the world including different humanoid species and big changes happening.
- A lot of possible future plot lines are opened in this book, promising some great potential for the full series. It’s always nice when you end a book wondering where the second book is going to go and excited to see how things develop!
- The narrator does a pretty good job with most elements of the narration, especially Caldan and the various male characters. Everyone gets their own voice and the acting worked well to enhance the dialogue.
- I have a huge pet peeve with male narrators that can’t pull off the voices for female characters without sounding really fake. Women don’t all sound falsetto! The narrator of this story made me cringe whenever a female character or young child was introduced unfortunately, though I got used to it eventually.
- The ending of A Crucible of Souls really felt like it dragged. There was a whole lot of action and things happening, and then more and more getting added on to the point where I was really wondering when things would end. A lot of that had to do with the main plot being rather unfocused so that I didn’t know what the ultimate goal of this story was and couldn’t tell therefore when it had been achieved.
- Adding to the problems with the ending was a serious lack of closure. It is one thing for there to be some possible directions for the story to go next, but A Crucible of Souls seemed like nothing but loose ends without anything concrete having been accomplished by our heroes. When it is difficult to describe the main conflict of a book, that isn’t a great sign in my opinion.
A Crucible of Souls is a fun fantasy read, especially for those who enjoy cool magic and magic schools. The audiobook format works well enough if you are used to audiobooks, but isn’t probably one to start with if you can’t handle male narrators going falsetto. I’m looking forward to the sequel to see what happens next!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
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