Legend of the Arch Magus (Books 1 & 2)
I’ve talked a bit about Scribd in previous posts so I won’t repeat how much I love that platform. Suffice it to say that it is my “go to” source for content 80% of the time. However, every now and then I run across another book or title that seems interesting on either Audible or Amazon and I feel the necessity of splurging.
In this case, a title that I’m waiting for with baited breadth is the upcoming new release of Book 4 of the Stormlight Archive – Rythm of War. It will only be released in November and I’ve absolutely loved everything else Brandon Sanderson has done so wanted to get this immediatel. As I’m trying to multitask now more than ever, audio books are my go-to source when exercising or even driving around so Audible had to be my port of call. Now I’m not a fan of paying $30 for a book so the monthly $15 membership seemed logical (although if you do the math, I’ll have paid more than $30 by the time the book is actually released) as that would give me credits I could use. Which is where Legend of the Arch Magus comes into the picture.
You see, as a past member of Audible, they were offering a promotion where I could get 2 credits for coming back. So with one credit being dedicated to Rythm of War, I had to find something else to spend the 2nd credit on. Reading the blurb about this book, made it seem like a good, uncomplicated read that could help me fill some time. Surprisingly, the book jacket did not lie!
As fans and readers of this blog know, I’m a fan of SciFi and Fantasy. However, I’ve recently become quite hooked on a sub-genre of Fantasy known as LitRPG or Literature, Role Playing Game. Initially, I thought that this book fell into that category, but without the character sheet elements, as you had a character that progressively got stronger and more capable throughout the course of the series. However, I was fairly quickly disabused of this notion in the early chapters of this book. With this series, the main character is a little bit overpowered (aka a Mary Sue) and with his knowledge, able to do almost anything he wants. There are some growth and development as the body he inhabits is a bit weak, but I’m currently halfway through the 3rd book in the series and he’s yet to run into any significant roadblock.
The book starts with a wizard and his disciples. This wizard (I’ve forgotten his name, to be honest) had attempted to come up with an elixir for everlasting life, but instead, his attempts only ended up killing him. He eventually “woke up” in a different land thousands of years later in the body of a spoiled rotten noble named Lark Marcus. Marcus had been exiled from court and his family due to his actions and he was basically just a drain on society. However, he had been kidnapped for ransom and the criminals who took him went a bit far and ended up unknowingly killing him, giving the wizard the empty shell he needed. This all occurs in the first couple of chapters so I don’t believe I’m ruining anything for you if you were to read it. As the story progresses you come across the accepted tropes you’d be looking for – the redemption of the character (check), character skills growth (check), unbeatable monsters that are handily defeated (check and check).
However, there is also lots of world-building which is nice and one big mystery that has still not been answered – why did he wake up at that time and in that body? Also, considering how advanced he was – you would expect society to continue to advance afterward… but something has curtailed that advancement. What is it? OK, maybe two big mysteries – at the least!!
The book has been written by Michael Sisa and in itself, each book is quite short, however, the good thing with Audible is that they were combined into a two-book omnibus which made it still very palatable and easy to read. The recording and narration itself were quite good with each character being easily recognizable based on the changes in tone and voice. The characters themselves are fairly one-dimensional, good guys are good and bad guys are bad with very little in the way of grey tones. However, if you’re looking for something simple and easy to get into you, you are probably not looking for complex characters in the first place.
Overall, I’d probably rate this book quite highly as I did enjoy it and it definitely distracted me and made me want to come back for more. It is by no means perfect – for that, see my feelings on Brandon Sanderson – but it was a lot of fun and I’m very curious to see where Lark ends up in book two and beyond.