Review: The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell

February 18, 2015 4.5 stars, Book Review 14 ★★★★½

Review: The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack CampbellThe Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell
Series: The Pillars of Reality #2
Published by Audible Audio on February 10, 2015
Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 54 minutes
Narrator: MacLeod Andrews
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
My Reviews in this series: The Dragons of Dorcastle, The Assassins of Altis

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

It’s Book 2 of The Pillars of Reality, the exciting epic fantasy series written exclusively for Audible by New York Times bestselling author Jack Campbell!

Someone wants to kill Mari, a young Steam Mechanic in the Guild that controls all technology. She has learned that her world of Dematr is headed for a catastrophe that will destroy civilization, and that Mages really can alter reality for short periods. Someone also wants to kill Alain, a young Mage who has learned that Mechanics are not frauds as his Guild teaches, and that Mechanic Mari is the only person who can prevent the oncoming disaster.

Narrowly escaping death, the Mechanic and the Mage stay alive thanks to their combined skills, an alliance never before seen. But it becomes clear that both of their Guilds, the most powerful forces in the world, are trying to destroy them. Other powers, like the great Empire and a mysterious secret Order, also seek to kill or capture them, using every weapon from Imperial Legions to Mage-created trolls, dragons, and rocs.

Trying to survive and learn the truth about their world so they will know how to save it, Mari and Alain realize that the answers they seek may lie in the dead city of Marandur. But Marandur is guarded by the legions that have sealed it off from the rest of the world for more than a century. Mari and Alain's only hope may rest with the unseen Masters of Marandur.


The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the second book in the fantasy mixed with technology series Pillars of Reality. Taking place on the continent of Dematr in what I believe is a planet not our own, that humans must have colonized hundreds of years ago. The common people have their kingdoms and governments but are basically under the thumb and control of the two great guilds of Mages and Mechanics. These guilds hate one another except for Mari (mechanic) and Alain (Mage) who came together previously in the first book, The Dragons of Dorcastle, under very dangerous circumstances. This second installment is just as action packed as the first and continues their struggles together against their two guilds, various other nefarious forces and sets them on the road to fulfilling prophecy.

​- I was worried at the end of the first book that Alain and Mari wouldn’t be featured together in the second book. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and we get to see them together again navigating dangerous scenarios, trying to figure out what their guilds might know about the two of them working together, escaping dark mechanics and meeting old faces from both of their past lives. I definitely continue to greatly enjoy the dynamics between these two characters especially their dialogue.

​- Both the Mage Guild and Mechanics Guild seem to operate in a similar manner in that they try to teach their members to blindly believe nothing but the doctrine of their guild and to place a lower value on the lives of the common people. They take what they want and give little in return except for those services which are highly paid for. The Mages are taught that nothing and no one is real and that the whole world is an illusion and that they must deny all feelings or they will lose their powers as a mage. While the Mechanics are taught that common people don’t have the ability to learn mechanics skills and that they must never make anything new and innovative. Both guilds want to maintain a stagnate state within their guilds and for the entire populace. When one group or common government becomes too strong they pit them against each other in wars to keep them indirectly under their control.

​- Each guild does seem to have a group that has broken off that does whatever they please. They are referred to their respective guilds as Dark Mages and Dark Mechanics. They are not part of the guilds and operate outside it’s ruled and regulation doing whatever they please.

There is a much heavier focus on the romance between Alain and Mari this time around, but I adored it! Alain is starting to show more emotion and Mari is of course very forthcoming with hers. These are two new or young adults exploring feelings neither have had before. I found this to be such a sweet budding relationship that it gave me quite a few, ahhhh I love this book moments. Which says a lot since I’m not usually a sucker for young romance.

Alain is definitely my favorite character. This might be because he is the most mature character while at the same time has the most potential for growth. He is so intelligent and logical, seeing things so clearly and also having an objective and sticking to it. For being taught not to care about others he still innately seems to know what is right and wrong, having a really strong sense of morals. I loved the way we continue to see Alain slowly learn about simple things like what emotions and different actions mean. I thought that perhaps I might tire of this but have realized its one of my favorite parts about his character.

– Mari is also a great character. Even tho she is a very good person, wanting to help people and respecting each person regardless of their station and wanting so many things for all people. Seeing how things are not fair for everyone and wanting to do things to change the bigger picture she has her faults just like everyone else. She can frequently be so stubborn and pigheaded. She will insist on her way, or get overly emotional about things or even refuse to use logic to see things that are so obvious. And at times she will inconveniently forget that Alain doesn’t understand and see things the way that she does and fly off the handle at him. In a way I got upset a few times at her for being that way and then at other times I got upset that she was written to be that way. *smile* But ultimately I still really adore her character and her fiery personality is a great balance to Alain’s calm and collected one.

I highly recommend this to fantasy lovers, especially if you enjoy reading about young protagonists coming into their own and fighting against a stronger force then themselves. The world building has been strengthened even further giving the reader more history. Along with the characters flight from their pursuers and search for knowledge allowing us to see more of the continent the pace is constant and had me finding excuses to continue the book. The Hidden Masters of Marandur also leaves off at a fabulous point for the third book to pick up which I believe is going to take us and the characters delving even deeper into the world and history of humanity and how they came to Dematr.


My review of Book 1 – The Dragons of Dorcastle

Audio sample courtesy of Audible

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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14 Responses to “Review: The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell”

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Oh this is definitely a Nathan kind of book. You likely have never heard of it because it is an audiobook only available through Audible. The book was written specifically for audiobook exclusively for Audible. I only heard of it because I have become an audiobook junkie lately. If you’ve never used audible they offer a one month free trial with one free audiobook. I would say give it a whirl!
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    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Oh as I mentioned to Nathan, it is an audiobook exclusive to Audible. I have become addicted to audiobooks lately and that is how I found about it. I researched the author and looks like he previously has written a number of science fiction books that are popular. This is a mix of fantasy and Sci-fi. I think you’d love it. If you’ve never tried audio you should try Audible they have a one month free trial with a free audiobook of your choice. First book is The Dragons Of Dorcastle. 🙂
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack CampbellMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

      I just noticed Tammy and Nathans comments (and your replies). That’s interesting that its only available as audiobook, I’ve not heard of that before. Should mean that it makes a great audiobook though!! (love listening to books in addition to reading, but some are much better suited for it than others)
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      • Tabitha (Pabkins)

        Yeah I thought it was odd that it is only available as an audible audiobook, but I guess they specifically contracted the author to write it exclusively for them. Kind of like how some video streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime or even cable tv subscription channels are now making shows that are only for their subscribers. Course anyone can buy the audibook without the subscription.
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  1. Lynn

    Aw, that’s kind of a shame – I’d like to read this but literally I have never tried audio books – and I just don’t think they would be for me – attention span wandering and all that *just keep swimming, just keep swimming*!
    Lynn 😀
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