Summary

Lusam grew up in the relative safety of the Elveen mountains with his grandmother. She taught him the basics of magic and discovered, quite by accident, that he possessed a unique skill never seen before: the ability to hide his magical aura from the mage-sight of others.
Dark secrets surround Lusam's origins, and the dark agents of the Empire will stop at nothing to kill Lusam. But before Lusam can be taught all he needed to know about his past, his grandmother unexpectedly dies of a fever, and Lusam finds himself homeless on the unforgiving streets of Helveel. Unbeknown to Lusam, the only thing keeping him alive is a promise he made to his grandmother to always hide his aura, no matter what. Lusam meets and befriends a young thief fleeing her old city of Stelgad before making a magical discovery that will change both their lives forever, and possibly the fate of the entire world.
©2015 Dean Cadman (P)2017 Podium Publishing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Sam on 21-11-17

Just awful.

I wouldn’t normally write something like this but as I paid full retail price for, albeit two books and a teaser of the third in one, I expected a much higher level of writing.
Spoilers. Obviously.
Apologies if I misspell any character or place names as I have not seen the print edition.
 
Plot
I found the plot tolerable but horribly derivative. The story follows a group of protagonists including a mage, rogue, paladin and eventually an archer whose adversaries are a heartless guild of assassin/thieves and a group of necromancers. It’s essentially a party plucked out of any fantasy video game or D&D campaign.
Lusam himself is a cookie cutter super hero chosen by destiny. Raised in isolation, unaware of his immense power, by a faux grandparent he lives a humble life in the forest. Scared for his survival his ‘grandmother’ convinces him to conceal his abilities and does not train him, but don’t worry he finds a magic book to download all sorts of grand sorcery into his brain later on. This also saves any time explaining how he actually performs any magic and instead he can just cast spells at will.
Lusam ticks just about every Mary Sue box there is and then some, so virtuous and well raised he lived as a street urchin for two years and refused to steal to feed himself. Lusam always makes the right decision over one that might humanise him and make the character more believable. There will presumably be some extravagant reveal where he is a ‘dragon mage’, or some other supernatural being, and the cornerstone of world survival in a later book that I will not be reading.
The paper thin cult of antagonists (led by lord evil fantasy name generator) may as well have been named the hooded, devil worshiping, demon summoning group of evil. There is a feeble attempt to humanise their interactions by repeated mentions of a family to return to, but they’re bleak and infrequent at best.
Other popular tropes include a forced love story, faux medieval Europe and shapeshifting deities.
I could go on.
 
Writing
This is where the book really fails. The author commits the unforgiveable sin of relaying all the information in long walls of text and through detailed tellings of backstories rather than allowing them to progress organically throughout the novel. We know Lusams entire upbringing from a chapter telling us, it’s far more interesting to let it out in drips during dialogue rather than tip the entire bucket on the reader as early as possible. In addition to this, we are told everything that goes on around the characters rather than showing us, allow us to use our own imagination.
Examples:
“He quickly reduced the temperature within his forcefield and began to freeze the water inside. As the water froze it quickly expanded within the fissure, creating a great force that pushed against both sides of the rock. Until, finally, it split with a loud cracking sound.”
Don’t tell us what is happening to the rock. Show us. The rock cracked like a hatching egg. Shards of rock crumbled from the shell and exposed the block of ice that forced itself through the gaps like an overstuffed sausage. Etc. You get the idea.

 
 
“The boy deftly caught the coin in mid-air.”
The boy snapped the coin from the air like a frog catching a fly.
 
I’ve been presented first drafts asking for advice and editing that have been more formulated than this. Words are repeated sometimes as many as five times in a few lines. I even transcribed a couple of examples.
‘Barrel’
“Skelly walked over to the huge barrel on the left and removed a knife from his belt. He reached around the side of the huge barrel and put his knife into the groove of one of the steel hoops that held the barrel together. There was a loud click and the entire lid of the barrel swung inwards creating a huge round doorway. Hanging inside the barrel were three lantern…”
‘Shield’
“As each blast struck his shield he knew if he was only shielding himself that it would have affected him much less, but with such a large area to protect it quickly sapped his strength. Blast after blast pounded at his shield as they ran on towards their goal. At one point he turned and fired a shot back at his pursuers, only to see it fizzle on their shield with little or no effect. Noticing the bombardment intensify on his shield…”
 
The author may well have been trying to get in every adverb in the dictionary for all we know. Characters could not perform the simplest tasks without doing them slowly, quickly, curiously, gingerly, sheepishly, amiably, suspiciously, briskly, confidently etc. Count the amount of times the group does something ‘quietly’ in the chapter where they infiltrate the Hawk’s Guild. A lot of the times these are just unnecessary. We don’t need to know that Skelly got off the horse quicklyor walked over to Neela slowly. At one point Zed even grins evilly.
 
Rant over. I didn’t want to write such a negative review of this, but I really expected more from Audible when I could have paid the same price and received a Lord of The Rings book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By craig on 13-03-17

Compelling listening!!

Eagerly anticipating the next instalment of this series. I especially like the multi angle approach to the story and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Would recommend to anyone.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Scott on 15-05-17

Sadly this is a pretty mediocre book...

What would have made Lusam better?

Much less exposition, greater character depth, less predictable story arcs. Having the main character simply handed all of his powers was also an incredibly trite and frankly silly plot device that really stretched credulity. As others have noted, this is not two books - it's two sections of a book - which I find to be very dishonest advertising. I also found use of words like "force field" to be very off putting, those are not things a medieval culture has ANY conception of, and it could have been handled more creatively and originally in the world. Honestly the whole book suffers from a lack of creativity, polish, and general effort. It isn't awful... it's just very not great. The main villain is also very unbelievable, which is something I always hate.

Has Lusam turned you off from other books in this genre?

Nope.

Which scene was your favorite?

The "surgery" was fairly interesting.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Mild disappointment?

Any additional comments?

The narrator did a good job - each character has a distinct voice, and the emotions of the characters come across. If you are VERY forgiving about cliches and inconsistencies, it's not a terrible book - I've certainly read worse, but I won't be picking up any sequels.

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23 of 26 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Skipper on 12-12-17

Needs work, but has potential

Narration is perfect, demonstrating a commitment to excellence. Storytelling is imaginative and vivid, but some plot holes exist. Writing quality is weak. I did read books 3-4 after listening to this 2-volume audiobook, because the books are free with kindle unlimited. There are expected to be six books in the series.

Told in 3rd person through various viewpoints. Set in a fictional world of kings, castles, mages, dragons, and gods engaged in sibling rivalry. Main characters include a 15-year-old homeless boy, a street girl, a warrior paladin, an evil warlord emperor, etc. The main characters form a fellowship, central to the series.

The hero Lusam develops his powers too fast, too easily. Find an ancient book. Absorb its magical gifts. Lather, rinse, repeat. The romance occurs too easily. The kissing and blushing (and implied sex) gets old. As for the marriage proposal, I was almost shocked at the author’s bad timing, given the circumstances.

On the upside, the warrior paladin (Renn) is totally credible.

The story is engrossing at times. However, the writing quality is just mediocre. A bit too much exposition. Misplaced commas and anachronistic language. Renn seems to only know one way to address people: “old friend” crops up several times in short conversations.

The author repeatedly has the comrades roaring with laughter at things that are barely worth a smirk. Laughing until they cry. Nothing wrong with a simple smile. A smirk. A chuckle. Whatever.

Lusam strangely laughs at painful or discomforting accidents, like getting dunked, or getting dragged through the mud by a galloping horse. Saying that characters laugh does not comedy make.

But the big problem is the Empire’s goal, to open a rift to the Netherworld. Are all these mages suicidal idiots?

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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