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Secrets and Spellcraft

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Now a student at Wurthaven, Will is confronted with the truth of the present. The powerful magic embodied by wizards like his grandfather is but a distant memory, while the practice of the current day is timid and uninspired, and yet he needs the knowledge still preserved and managed by the college. At every turn he finds that sorcery is supreme, while wizards are trained Now a student at Wurthaven, Will is confronted with the truth of the present. The powerful magic embodied by wizards like his grandfather is but a distant memory, while the practice of the current day is timid and uninspired, and yet he needs the knowledge still preserved and managed by the college. At every turn he finds that sorcery is supreme, while wizards are trained merely to assist and support those who hold the real power—a power based on an evil so deep that few living know the truth of its foundation. As a student of wizardry, he’s expected to know his place and stay in it, but Will isn’t like the other students. His grandfather’s teaching has made him into something different, something forgotten—something they will learn to fear. If he can grow into his power. With every choice, every refusal to submit, Will creates more enemies, enemies who aren’t content to let him live in peace. Without friends or support, Will must survive the knives in the dark, for Cerria is no place for those who refuse to follow the rules.


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Now a student at Wurthaven, Will is confronted with the truth of the present. The powerful magic embodied by wizards like his grandfather is but a distant memory, while the practice of the current day is timid and uninspired, and yet he needs the knowledge still preserved and managed by the college. At every turn he finds that sorcery is supreme, while wizards are trained Now a student at Wurthaven, Will is confronted with the truth of the present. The powerful magic embodied by wizards like his grandfather is but a distant memory, while the practice of the current day is timid and uninspired, and yet he needs the knowledge still preserved and managed by the college. At every turn he finds that sorcery is supreme, while wizards are trained merely to assist and support those who hold the real power—a power based on an evil so deep that few living know the truth of its foundation. As a student of wizardry, he’s expected to know his place and stay in it, but Will isn’t like the other students. His grandfather’s teaching has made him into something different, something forgotten—something they will learn to fear. If he can grow into his power. With every choice, every refusal to submit, Will creates more enemies, enemies who aren’t content to let him live in peace. Without friends or support, Will must survive the knives in the dark, for Cerria is no place for those who refuse to follow the rules.

30 review for Secrets and Spellcraft

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luiz

    If you were bothered by how stupid the main character was in the previous book, don't even start this one. He gets much, much dumber. Borderline retarded, at times. One exception. At the start of the book, he manages to put in motion a plan that was pretty smart and devious. I like it a lot. Unfortunately, that was the last time it happened. The worst offender was, at the middle to end, when (view spoiler)[the elf grandma asks him for one year with his girl in exchange for her help. He tells her If you were bothered by how stupid the main character was in the previous book, don't even start this one. He gets much, much dumber. Borderline retarded, at times. One exception. At the start of the book, he manages to put in motion a plan that was pretty smart and devious. I like it a lot. Unfortunately, that was the last time it happened. The worst offender was, at the middle to end, when (view spoiler)[the elf grandma asks him for one year with his girl in exchange for her help. He tells her that "the price is too high" and declines. She asks instead that he offer her one unbound favor, and he accepts. (hide spoiler)] This was so, so retarded, I almost dropped the book right there. Luckily, from his past choices and interactions with other characters, I gathered that the author wanted to write about a retarded protagonist, so I continued with that mindset. I could write a whole essay about how dumb the protagonist is. It's honestly a bit insulting at times. Almost physically painful. To the point of the only reason he isn't dead despite being so dumb is plot armor.

  2. 4 out of 5

    James Geary

    The main character became stupider rather than smarter as time wore on. The characters went from three dimensional in the first book to good or evil in the second. The main character seems to fluctuate between murdering people without blinking because they upset him, to crying over killing a mass murderer that he didn't really know. Still quite readable though. The main character became stupider rather than smarter as time wore on. The characters went from three dimensional in the first book to good or evil in the second. The main character seems to fluctuate between murdering people without blinking because they upset him, to crying over killing a mass murderer that he didn't really know. Still quite readable though.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve Naylor

    Rating 3.5 stars I wanted to rate this book lower because of the stupidity of the main character. Almost every decision he makes is a wrong one and just leads to his suffering. Here's the list (view spoiler)[ 1. The duel - Killing that royal was the only thing he could do? Really? He had to come up with 1000 gold crown to pay the blood debt. Couldn't he have just paid him to leave the woman alone or bought out her service? Or any number of other things. That lead to him being ostracized by everyo Rating 3.5 stars I wanted to rate this book lower because of the stupidity of the main character. Almost every decision he makes is a wrong one and just leads to his suffering. Here's the list (view spoiler)[ 1. The duel - Killing that royal was the only thing he could do? Really? He had to come up with 1000 gold crown to pay the blood debt. Couldn't he have just paid him to leave the woman alone or bought out her service? Or any number of other things. That lead to him being ostracized by everyone, going to jail for a while, working his ass of to pay the debt and making an enemy of the kids father. Then he pays for that girls tuition after she has to leave school anyway? What happened to not accepting any debts or giving or receiving gifts? 2. The troll piss. Since he had an unbound favor from his aunt, couldn't he have just told her to come up with the money? Nope he goes to get the troll piss and messes it up. He was told he needed 2 barrels of ale but he decided that 1 big barrel would be just as good, right? Nope. Now he can never go back. Which with how stupid he is, I am sure he is going to try and go back in future books. 3. The deal with his grandmother. She offers him a deal that he refuses and then agrees to a deal with an unbound favor? An unbound favor could be anything, including what he already said he didn't want to deal. That was the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. Here's an analogy for what he did: " I will sell you this thing for 100 dollars." "No deal!" "Alright then I will sell it to you for everything you have ever owned, will ever own, and anything you ever loved or will ever love." "Sounds good!" (hide spoiler)] There are many more but those are the main ones. While almost every life decision he made was stupid, once the decision was made I did enjoy reading about how he accomplished the plan. I know it doesn't make much sense. While the overall plan was ludicrous, it was interesting to read about the execution of such plans. Most of the time I can't stand main characters like this, but the magic system and action were enough to keep me from hating it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vintearis

    In short. Worldbuilding is great. Plot is interesting. Author has got good writing style. But everything is destroyed by main character who is idiot (-1 star) who is constantly rescued by strong author's plot armor (-1 star). MC doesn't grow. He is adult-kid who is self-righteous and imposes his righteousness on other people. He regurarly plunges into dangerous situations without thinking only to be rescued by luck. He is also great danger to his family. He has secrets that no other mage has. But h In short. Worldbuilding is great. Plot is interesting. Author has got good writing style. But everything is destroyed by main character who is idiot (-1 star) who is constantly rescued by strong author's plot armor (-1 star). MC doesn't grow. He is adult-kid who is self-righteous and imposes his righteousness on other people. He regurarly plunges into dangerous situations without thinking only to be rescued by luck. He is also great danger to his family. He has secrets that no other mage has. But he is giving those secrets left and right! He is not even thinking about his mother that his enemies know about that he posses dangerous knowledge or place where his family lives. I had to drop the book because MC is way too stupid and insufferable to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    I have never in my life had a series take such a sharp turn from enjoyment to pure horror(not the good kind either, but rather seeing a horrilbe car wreck right in front of you). This book and series went from a fun story to an awful mess in what seemed to be just 2-3 chapters. It did not redeem itself. I fought through, in the hopes that perhaps the ending would at least be ok and set up something good in the next book. Nope.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nibra Tee

    ”Why am I always goddamned stupid?” Will swore at himself. Yes, William. You can say that twice.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Absolutely astounding that this book was written so well and so quickly! I was not expecting such a climactic ending and I can't wait for the next one. My only wish for the coming books would be to explore more of the world. We still know so little! Elves, other countries. Other types of magic. Absolutely astounding that this book was written so well and so quickly! I was not expecting such a climactic ending and I can't wait for the next one. My only wish for the coming books would be to explore more of the world. We still know so little! Elves, other countries. Other types of magic.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Douglas O'laughlin

    Kinda shit, book 1 was good and original book 2 feels like male romance novel crossed with every predictable archetype in the book and super ezpz ending with little consequences. Readable as hell, slammed this guy down in a day and was good fun I guess.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Esme

    I really loved the first book and so I bought the second in the series of Art of the Adept. I almost never do that, I just read the first in a series and move onto the next since most of my reading is either for SPFBO or review requests. Unfortunately, I DNF’d this book around halfway through. The reasons for that are varied, and each of the issues by themselves wouldn’t have been enough for me to DNF, but put them all together and I just wasn’t enjoying myself like I was with the first. One of th I really loved the first book and so I bought the second in the series of Art of the Adept. I almost never do that, I just read the first in a series and move onto the next since most of my reading is either for SPFBO or review requests. Unfortunately, I DNF’d this book around halfway through. The reasons for that are varied, and each of the issues by themselves wouldn’t have been enough for me to DNF, but put them all together and I just wasn’t enjoying myself like I was with the first. One of the issues for me was the drastic tonal change from the first book into the second. In the first he was in the army, people were dying all around him, it got pretty dark and it was action packed. This one takes place in a school and it feels like he was re-doing all the learning and training he did in the first book. I wasn’t really in the mood for that kind of story. I do love magic schools and training but in this case it leads into another issues I had. Will became too overpowered and was breezing through just about everything. He was picked by his teachers to be an assistant because he was so powerful and knowledgeable, and in some ways he was superior to his teachers. It just got old after a while. I also feel like the characters weren’t as nuanced as they were in the first. I don’t know why, but it felt like they went from shades of grey to black and white, good vs bad. One of the reasons I loved the first book is because it brought up questions of morality, justice, and what it means to do the “right thing” when there isn’t an obvious answer. I looked at the reviews when I finished and I was relieved to see I wasn’t just being overly critical, people site Will and his horrible decision-making skills as a reason most people marked it down or didn’t enjoy the second installment. “I have never in my life had a series take such a sharp turn from enjoyment to pure horror(not the good kind either, but rather seeing a horrible car wreck right in front of you).” I’ve got to say I feel very similar. Womp. Womp. Womp.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The most fantastic part about this book, and author, is that even while I wait anxiously for the next book to be in my hands, the ending of this book doesn't leave me in a void. I couldn't put it down for the last quarter of the book and I expected to be left with an awful cliffhanger. I was ready to be extremely pissed off. So many other series will leave your jaw open in the middle of chaos, but this had a real ending and seeds of a great beginning to book 3. I'm feeling a little bad for Janic The most fantastic part about this book, and author, is that even while I wait anxiously for the next book to be in my hands, the ending of this book doesn't leave me in a void. I couldn't put it down for the last quarter of the book and I expected to be left with an awful cliffhanger. I was ready to be extremely pissed off. So many other series will leave your jaw open in the middle of chaos, but this had a real ending and seeds of a great beginning to book 3. I'm feeling a little bad for Janice though. I hope she is compensated in the next book for being such a good friend. I'll be preordering the next installment as soon as it's out!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarz

    Another great book in the series Tons of tension all the way through the book, with some hilarious and some poignant moments to lighten the atmosphere. Great ending too, no stressful cliff hangers, but still plenty to go at in the next book. Definitely worth the full five stars. Thanks Michael.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dániel

    Irritating. Dnf at the granny bargaining scene. Liked everything in the book, except the main character. I didn't care about his rudeness in the previous book, but his stupidity just overwhelmed me. Even worse: the author made him look smart and pragmatic at the start, then completely changed his mind, and made him retarded. For the sake of your sanity, don't read it. Irritating. Dnf at the granny bargaining scene. Liked everything in the book, except the main character. I didn't care about his rudeness in the previous book, but his stupidity just overwhelmed me. Even worse: the author made him look smart and pragmatic at the start, then completely changed his mind, and made him retarded. For the sake of your sanity, don't read it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Moralez

    Amazing! I loved this book so much and I eagerly look forward to the next one. Much to my wife’s dismay I started this book on our honey moon and had to power through it. 😂 thank you Mr. Manning!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Strickland

    Good and fun Likeable characters, great world building. There are tantilizing hints about where the story will go, and waiting for the next installment will be hard... Maybe I should read it again... Again...

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Stevens

    Brilliant Every book I’ve read has been brilliant. The traditional coming of age story and wizardry school was completely turned on its head for a story I absolutely loved. Already reading again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Cross

    Excellent as always Somehow the author has managed to create new characters that are as engrossing as his other series. I had to take off work to finish it, after I had started.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Art Winsor

    Another amazing book! Once again Mr. Manning has delivered an amazing book. The book is a wonderful compliment to the first of the series. Better than the Mageborn series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Madison Stuckey

    Cant wait for thr next one Just another great book in this series, starting to really like how the main character is maturing and understanding what he needs to do.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Awesome boom just keeps getting better I love this author and every one of his books is better than the last. Can't wait for the next one! Awesome boom just keeps getting better I love this author and every one of his books is better than the last. Can't wait for the next one!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brent Hill

    Can't wait for the next one Great book couldn't put it down. There's definitely a lot of stuff happening and it's a funny action packed adventure. Can't wait for the next one Great book couldn't put it down. There's definitely a lot of stuff happening and it's a funny action packed adventure.

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Ford

    Good I could follow up book to the first, I am looking forward to see what happens next for William and Selene.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Reaper Hound

    This book is my new fav it's soo wholesome 😘😘😘 This book is my new fav it's soo wholesome 😘😘😘

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I enjoyed this book a lot and it was almost impossible to put down. However, the same issues I had with the first in the series have carried over to the second. The main character Will has "better" magic than everyone else, confounding his teachers, while winning the love of a beautiful princess in addition to being the target of feelings from a secondary but also stunning love interest...it's kind of the definition of a fantasy coming-of-age novel. Will being stereotypically oblivious, stubborn I enjoyed this book a lot and it was almost impossible to put down. However, the same issues I had with the first in the series have carried over to the second. The main character Will has "better" magic than everyone else, confounding his teachers, while winning the love of a beautiful princess in addition to being the target of feelings from a secondary but also stunning love interest...it's kind of the definition of a fantasy coming-of-age novel. Will being stereotypically oblivious, stubborn, and relatively noble even when it's a bad idea is the cherry on top. I still devoured this novel, probably because I'm a sucker for this coming-of-age genre.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Graham Herrli

    Lively characters, albeit rather gender-normative Engaging plot line, but sometimes a bit predicable Interesting magic system, but severely lacking in other worldbuilding

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lee Floodgate

    Amazing asbusual, if he writes it I will read it Amazing story, amazing characters if you don't read Michaels books I feel sorry for you as your missing out more than you can imagine he is the Picasso of writers I wish I could express how great his books our you won't be disappointed Amazing asbusual, if he writes it I will read it Amazing story, amazing characters if you don't read Michaels books I feel sorry for you as your missing out more than you can imagine he is the Picasso of writers I wish I could express how great his books our you won't be disappointed

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heavy

    Trope fest 2000 The fist book in the series was somewhat original, this second was an entirely predictebale read. Trope after trope and no real originality. It's an bog standard hero's journey. The MC gets everything with no real effort... Trope fest 2000 The fist book in the series was somewhat original, this second was an entirely predictebale read. Trope after trope and no real originality. It's an bog standard hero's journey. The MC gets everything with no real effort...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sulemana Mukhtar

    Great This was a great read. Well written, good character development, a little bit darker than book 1, but hey, you don't want to miss this. Can't wait for book 3. Great This was a great read. Well written, good character development, a little bit darker than book 1, but hey, you don't want to miss this. Can't wait for book 3.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Noah Wofford jr.

    Wonderful Story Micheal G. Manning has become one of my favorite authors. This series is turning into something great. I cannot wait for the next book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    It was through some difficulty that I finished reading through Will’s many trials and tribulations. From the obscene amount of stupidity to general tomfoolery, it felt like Will always wanted to be caught or place himself as the centre of attention for his extremely misguided behaviour. It seemed like he matured towards the end of the book, but that didn’t make this any easier to finish. On a whole, there were some entertaining aspects but it took a while for things to come together. It’s hard t It was through some difficulty that I finished reading through Will’s many trials and tribulations. From the obscene amount of stupidity to general tomfoolery, it felt like Will always wanted to be caught or place himself as the centre of attention for his extremely misguided behaviour. It seemed like he matured towards the end of the book, but that didn’t make this any easier to finish. On a whole, there were some entertaining aspects but it took a while for things to come together. It’s hard to be engrossed in a story that’s throwing fictional formulas and rules at you regarding Will’s affinity for magic and controlling his turyn. I don’t mind there being a systemic, yet logical lifestyle that holds the story together, I mean it’s the reason to follow Will’s journey in the first place potentially being the next powerful wizard and all, but it just felt too complicated to keep up with. It’s not like you could give your verdict on what class of spell Will should cast or the best thing to do in an upcoming scenario - it felt like a visual aid would have been more handy than reading through nonsensical methods of magic. I get why it goes through the explanations, but I don’t think they need to be that longwinded or repetitive. It just lessened the entertainment value for me. Most notably from his many lessons of monotonous magic practice are his exchanges with the ring (aka a means of contact to his Grandfather). Yes the constant use of profanity is hilarious - so funny - but besides that it was boring whenever Will had to consult his Grandfather’s spirit. He was pretty abusive towards Will who we already know is in desperate need of guidance. I don’t think negative reinforcement through insults will do him any good. Whether he’s just used to his Grandfather’s ways or not, the kid needs a better mentor; his Grandfather may be helpful in expanding Will’s knowledge of magic but certainly not in improving his mental self, no wonder Will’s constantly derailing from the norm or getting into predicaments. I actually don’t mind Will as a character, but when he just does something that you can’t excuse (a specific example involves one of his peers towards the start of his wizardry, academic journey), it makes it hard to root for him given his immature and unpredictable nature. Will’s not a bad dude, he is caring especially with his family and also particularly intelligent, but he is quite unstable. The consequences of Will’s actions, particularly at the start of the book, are pretty dire especially in the long term, since he never entertains adding sense to them; it doesn’t float well for his decision making throughout the rest of the book - other than his grandfather who just eggs him on. Not all of his decisions lead to such carnage, a lot of the times the situation is rather unusual in itself - which is to be expected when you’re reading about wizardry - so Will’s ways of retaliating are probably the most effective defence mechanism. It’s not an awful story, but I think it needs to be compressed into something not as longwinded and quicker in its pacing. This is quite a long book; it would make it a lot easier to get through if there were more intermittent scenes of faster paced action, especially to balance out the overload of information regarding the rules of wizardry - which I’d appreciate if it was genuinely useful, but it isn’t.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Otton

    I can't remember the last time I both enjoyed and hated a book so much at the same time. At the close of the book, I realise I enjoyed it just enough to fall this side of a 3-star review, but it was a close call at times. The main reason for this dislike is that the two driving elements of the book are majorly flawed for my tastes: 1 - Will is an idiot - Will is one of the more proactive protagonists I have come across and that is a good thing because a proactive protagonist drives the plot and I can't remember the last time I both enjoyed and hated a book so much at the same time. At the close of the book, I realise I enjoyed it just enough to fall this side of a 3-star review, but it was a close call at times. The main reason for this dislike is that the two driving elements of the book are majorly flawed for my tastes: 1 - Will is an idiot - Will is one of the more proactive protagonists I have come across and that is a good thing because a proactive protagonist drives the plot and keeps up the pacing of the novel. In the first book that was a great thing, in this book it was undercut by the fact that Will made the most stupid decisions in existence continually. Every single plan he made was an obviously terrible one right from the outset and were he not wearing such strong plot armour, this would have been a much shorter book. 2 - Terrible Romance - I touched on this in my review of the last book but it is considerably more evident here. Without the war to drive the narrative, this book is driven by Will's desire to be with the princess. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of action and fantasy fun in this book, but those elements don't drive the plot throughout the majority of the novel. Now, I don't have a problem with this on the whole as I don't hate romances in my fantasy, save for one little issue... show don't tell! The writer has tried to create a romance between Will and the princess for two books now, but the only actual romance we see between them is in their words when they say they love each other, and when they kiss or sleep together. Outside that, every single interaction is an argument of some kind and over the course of two novels now, they have spent so little time together that their 'love' has grown out of nothing. Therefore while the characters keep proclaiming one thing, there is a disconnect because our minds have seen something else. We have been told they love each other, but we have never been shown it. Ultimately it's an almost pointless novel (view spoiler)[ I'd say 80% of this plot, if not more, was built up around the fact that the king would not let Selene and Will interact with one another. Yet, at the end of the novel, he doesn't have a single problem with this because he has decided that he only wants an heir and doesn't care how he gets it. Considering this is where we ended up, it undid all of the reason for the majority of the troubles getting to this point. The conflict was never real and that is a great way to cheapen the reading experience for your readers right at the end of a novel. (hide spoiler)] So if everything is so bad, why the 3-stars? Honestly, some of that is loyalty from the first book which was much better. However, there is also still promise here. Whenever there is magic involved the story is interesting and enjoyable. The action is well written and the overarching series story is worth reading. This novel travelled a little off the path I was hoping it might take and there was a little too much reliance on tropes, but I am hoping that with the way this book ended that the next book might fare better as there is less room for at least one of my above complaints to rear its ugly head. Overall, the world-building, magic system and overarching story are enough that I will pick up the next book and even look forward to it, but this book was a misstep for this reader. Given that it is so long, that makes this book a hard one to recommend.

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