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The Awakening: Aegis of Merlin Series, Book 2 by James E. Wisher and narrated by Joe Hempel is the second in a trilogy of books. The story picks up at the end of the summer break as Conryu and Maria head to The North American Alliance’s Arcane Academy by a magically powered train. He is once again harried by the press and one reporter in particular. Conryu is a fish out of water at the academy. He does not want to be there any more than most of the student population that views him as an abomination wants him to be there. This could not be made more clear that his initial reception of being bombarded with tomatoes upon arrival by three upper-class wizards.
The first book in the series was devoted to world building and giving broad strokes to a wide canvas to give the reader and listener a feel for what kind of scope there was to this magical world. This time out the author has pulled back to focus on the hero’s journey. We get to see the highs and low’s Conryu endures during his first semester at the Academy. He is ostracized, attacked, and even Maria has little time for him. What is the only male wizard to do?
Conryu strives to make the best of it while trying to slowly understand his magical abilities and learn to live in a world foreign to him. He slowly makes friends and joins a Wizards club. As the semester goes on life moves on for both Conryu and Maria. When she is No longer the center of Conryu’s universe leads it leads to Maria’s consternation.
The story is excellent at holding my attention and was over much too soon. There are bound to be some comparisons to Harry Potter due to the Magic Train and a Magic Academy. But that’s about where it will end. These books are for older audiences and Harry Potter never signed a contract with a Demon. The world is unique and thought-provoking and holds the listener's interest due to the great story and the great narration.
The narration is by Joe Hempel. Mr. Hempel again provides an outstanding vocal performance in this second audiobook in this series. He delivers not only compelling narration but also provides a wide range of vocal character’s interpretations. Each character was recognizable with unique voices done in a natural manner. The production quality by Tantor was top of the line as always they never fail to produce a high-quality audio product. Tantor delivered a crystal clear product of the highest listening quality.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
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2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The beginning of the academic course has started and Conryu and Maria join The North American Alliance’s Arcane Academy. Not only is he unhappy about having to attend the academy, but it also seems he is not very well received by the girls. Conryu will have to work hard to gain his place within the academy, and also try to survive, because even there he is not safe, since there are some people who want to end the abomination.
After listening to the previous book I was looking forward to this one. In this book the story is focused on Conryu, unlike in the previous book, where half of the book was focused on secondary characters. Here we have to chance to know Conryu a little bit better, and to see him interact with the other students. There are some new interesting characters in this book, they are not ultra developed, but they feel differentiated enough to be able to identify them, since each of them has unique characteristics. I especially liked Conryu's relationship with the girls at the club.
I am a bit bothered about Maria's attitude towards Conryu, and it makes me want to roll my eyes and slap her in the face, but I guess that attitude will work against her in future books, making for an interesting plot.
There is plenty of action and tension, and a couple of twists and surprises. While listening to this book it is almost impossible not to think about Harry Potter, since it's about a similar subject, but this one is for an older audience, since is much darker at least than the first HP books.
Joe Hempel has excelled at narrating this audiobook. He has brought the characters to life in a subtle way. All characters are recognizable, but at the same time, the voices don't sound forced. There is a very thin line between differentiating character's voices and overdoing it, and Hempel knows very well where that line is and doesn't cross it. He has a very pleasant voice and has a compelling style, making you want to listen for hours. The audio production was spotless.
I am really enjoying this series, and I am looking forward to see what happens to Conryu and Maria, and also see how they and the other characters evolve. I am sure it will be amazing.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful