On the Shoulders of Titans

On the Shoulders of Titans is everything Sufficiently Advanced Magic was, only bigger and more so.

Crazy magical battles chock full of colorful spells, summoned beings, and magic items? Oh yeah.

The next thing I saw was Marissa, flying upward above the fire, then soaring downward with a gleaming fist. “Star descends from sky!” Then she punched the dragon in the face. The dragon staggered back at the impact of her fist. That was an image I would not soon forget.

A magic school with all sorts of students all mixed and thrown in together, along with teachers designed to make the students as powerful as can be… one way or another? Check.

At the academy, I learned all sorts of things about Enchanting. Like how to blow off my own hands by experimenting without asking the right questions first. No, I didn’t literally blow off my own hands. After that, Professor Vellum — who didn’t want to spend the money on buying me new hands — decided to teach me some things about enchanting in non-combustible ways.

Detailed magic systems with all sorts of twists and corners to discover along with the characters? Of course.

“Certainly, Arbiter. Your attunement is only granted to one who has successfully completed a diplomatic task for one of the visages. Typically, it involves assisting in a political matter between visages and human cultures. Arbiters have demonstrated that they can be trusted with delicate matters, and thus, they are often employed by visages for additional assignments.”

Magical beings on the scales of demigods that you have to fight ? YES!

Cecily frowned. “Who could possibly be as dangerous as Mizuchi?” “He’s a child of the Tyrant in Gold,” I explained. “…Oh.” She blinked, then adjusted her glasses. “Wait, really?” I gave her a gesture of acknowledgement. “Wow. You have had a terrible few weeks.”

Wonderfully dry, snarky sense of humor? Yes please.

Vanniv flapped his tiny wings, turning toward Sera. “What is the meaning of this? Why are you gigantic?” He floated around. “Wait, why is everyone gigantic?… Oh.” He folded his arms. “You probably can’t tell, but I’m glaring at you very intensely right now.”

Gay, gender-fluid, and probably autistic, and otherwise non-‘typical’ characters taking central roles with a few small pointers in the right direction about handling such things, without taking over the plot? Neato!

I was just starting to figure out that sexual and romantic interests could be distinct…and then I’d blown up my love interest.

and

Second, if Sheridan was usually genderless, I’d have to try to remember to call them by neutral pronouns like “they” unless they asked me to use a gender. That was the polite thing to do.

If you liked the first book, you’ll almost certainly like this one. If you didn’t, in particular the feel of the battles and the magic system descriptions–why are you still reading this?

The biggest bummer was finding out that the next sequel isn’t out… but there are two other series set in the same world with a pair of books out each! So I’ll have to ‘to read’ those about now.

Spoiler:

People who work for Aayara tend to adopt names that start with ‘ess’. ‘Sterling’, ‘Silver’, that sort of thing. Ones who work for the Blackstone use gem names.”
So... Sera?
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