On the Shoulders of Titans (Arcane Ascension #2), Andrew Rowe

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“Is there someone just giving out legendary magical swords to children?”

Corin Cadence finally has a firm reason to believe his brother, Tristan, is still alive. 

Unfortunately, finding more information isn’t going to be easy. Tristan appears to be entangled with a clandestine organization that calls themselves Whispers. And Corin’s last brush with the Whispers didn’t exactly end well. 

* * * * *
5 / 5

Sufficiently Advanced Magic is one of the best self-published novels and the most amazing example of LitRPG that I have ever had the pleasure to read. Andrew Rowe knows what his readers want: that nostalgic sense of playing an RPG video game – levelling up, discovering new characters, clearing dungeons and developing your party – combined with some fascinating and original world building, and lots of cool fights.

“I haven’t had a decent scrap in a while. Let me get my trouble coat.”

On the Shoulders of Titans is pretty similar to Sufficiently Advanced Magic in terms of writing, plot structure, magic, and general style. The actual plot is, of course, different; we open with Corin Cadence having received a mysterious message, his sister Sera completely burnt out by magic overuse, betrayed by his sort-of-romantic-interest, and with a sparkling new attunement on his hand. Helpfully, the book begins with a recap of the last weighty tome in case you’d forgotten all of this.

Exhausted and battle-weary, Corin and his school buddies settle down with Derek Hartigan and Keras Selyrian to recover and learn some flashy new combat tricks. The core cast of the last book remains similar (and Marissa is still my favourite!) with the exception of Jin and the introduction of a host of new characters including notable standout Sheridan Theas. There’s more school, more gods & monsters, more magic, more epic fights, and more of the Spire (though not enough!).

“My, my. When someone banters about trading with a visage, I generally presume it to be all sand and no salt”

Titans is a natural extension of the first book – maybe it loses a bit of the wow factor that the first book had, maybe it’s a touch too long and drags a little in place, maybe it’s a bit too cheesy when the characters shout out the names of their moves in the middle of a fight and the banter is ridiculous. There’s also a couple of weird plot points where something is mentioned a couple of times and then just gets forgotten about. But I also loved it. I tore through this 750 page door stopper in five days (I was going to get the audiobook because I loved the narration of the first book, but I was just too eager to get my hands on the sequel to wait) and was entertained for every minute of it.

The intrigue, the drama, the school “missions”, the fights that are won and lost, the totally overpowered nature of everyone – Arcane Ascension is a series with a clear vision and it is executed really, really well. I can’t wait for the next one!

 

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