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A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan ~ Book Review (2015, YA fantasy, @HoganMitchell, @HarperVoyagerUS)

A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan ~ Book Review (2015, YA fantasy, @HoganMitchell, @HarperVoyagerUS)Author: Mitchell Hogan
Title: A Crucible of Souls
Series: Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #1
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 512
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy

The Aurealis Award-winning e-book bestseller now in print. 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. When 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 violently 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 shadowed 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. "The story is strong and the writing style simple but assured as a promising new series begins." - Daily Telegraph
Format: Paperback
Also by this author: Blood of Innocents
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS is the first book in the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence series by Mitchell Hogan.

POV: 3rd person, alternating

Tense: Past

Setting: the Mahruse Empire (fictional)

Sexual Content: none

my review image

A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS is a great fantasy read. If you haven’t read this one yet, I strongly suggest checking it out. Even though it is young adult (despite being promoted as fantasy), the story can be enjoyed by everyone. The main character, Caldran, is naive because he has been raised by monks. However, he isn’t foolish or immature. He’s a likable character who grows as the story progresses.

The story is about Caldran, a young man about to come of age. He has been raised by monks because his parents were killed when he was young. The beginning of the story is a little slow, because it shows Caldran in his normal environment and prepares him for his journey. This isn’t unusual for a fantasy. Once the inciting incident happens–Caldran is forced to leave the monastery because he accidentally injures a student–the story picks up. I’ll admit I was a little bored at the beginning, but it set a nice contrast for what was to come.

The author did a wonderful job of creating mystery and intrigue. Caldran himself is an enigma, because he is physically changing–into what we never learn. There is also a great deal of mystery about the evil sorcerers, Amerdan, and some other minor characters. Many questions remained unanswered at the end of the book, which is okay because I plan to read book two very soon.

Other strengths of this novel are: the rich setting descriptions, the interesting system of magic, and the development of the history of the sorcerers and protectors. Also, I thought the author did a good job of humanizing some of the villains; they weren’t all evil, which made them more believable.

The only complaints I have about the book are: a few minor inconsistencies in details, insufficient political and cultural worldbuilding, and (as I already mentioned) the fact that it is young adult but not marketed as such.

I don’t believe any of my complaints are significant to warrant taking points off my rating. I really did enjoy reading A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, BLOOD OF INNOCENTS.

I give A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS five stars for a well-developed and likable main character, vivid descriptions, and solid plotting. If you like fantasy about sorcerers and young men finding their place in the world, you should definitely check this one out.


About Mitchell Hogan

When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases filled with fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For ten years he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of SoulsA Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author. Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Isabelle.


Jen Schaper
I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

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