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Level Grind

(The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1-4)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  43 reviews
An omnibus of the first four books in the USA TODAY bestselling fantasy series—collected together for the first time in one volume. Jade Crow is a sorceress hiding from the most powerful sorcerer in the world: her ex-boyfriend.

Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.

Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho, hiding from a powerful sorcerer who wants
Hardcover, 470 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Saga Press
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

In gaming lingo, the term “level grind” often has negative connotations, typically used to describe having to engage in mind-numbingly tedious or repetitive tasks to gain experience or complete an achievement. Happily, this is not at all how I would describe my experience with Level Grind by Annie Bellet, which is in fact a very witty, vibrant, and entertaining urban fantasy. Collecting the first four novellas in the Twe
Milda Page Runner
Lite female-lead urban fantasy with a bit of humour. Redeeming qualities humour and main character being a gamer and nerd – gaming slang and references. Weakest points character development and romantic storyline – insta love based on looks. Everything else is a bit of meh really, nothing terrible but nothing too exciting either.
No sex scenes, no gruesome bits, nothing shocking – suitable for teens. Could be a few swearwords; something like ‘fucktoast on a stick’. YA level UF series.
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Level Grind is an urban fantasy collection of Annie Bellet’s first four books, Justice Calling, Murder of Crows, Pack of Lies and Hunting Season in the Twenty-Sided Sorceress Series.

Comic store owner and gaming nerd, Jade Crow is trying to fly under the radar to stay alive. She’s built a life and chosen family while hiding from her ex-boyfriend and sorcerer, Samir. He wants to kill Jade and take her powers for his own. To fly under his attention, she must not ever use her powers. But, when it c
I had tried on several occasions to read the first installment of Annie Bellet's Twenty-sided Sorceress series, to no avail. It was a combination of two things - the first book was quite short and I'm not overly fond of short books, and it also appeared that the subsequent books were also on the shorter side. So, to avoid disappointment on my end, I kept putting the series off altogether, even though the series has mostly favorable reviews. Big mistake on my part, avoiding it, because it turns o ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Review from Tenacious Reader:

3.5/5 stars

Level Grind is a fast paced urban fantasy with a gamer sorceress who lives amongst shifters. There are plenty of gaming/geeky references that make this a fun read and make the characters seem that much more relatable (assuming you’re a geek, which I hope you are).

Jade Crow is a great protagonist that kept me entertained. A gamer nerd who has been trying to pass as just an ordinary hedge witch, running a comic book a
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I expected to hate this. I think I even tried to hate it. Urban fantasy where the protagonist is a comic and game store owner? I was sure the nerd culture references were going to be painfully forced and gimmicky. Not so!

I mean, a few of them are, but for the most part they're really just things nerds would naturally say in these situations, and they're thankfully used pretty sparingly instead of being crammed into every page like I expected.

Jade is a sorceress, and what avid D&D player *wouldn'
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is an omnibus -the first four books although they are really novellas - The main character, Jade, has a 'big bad' coming after her - that is in the background throughout these four stories. At the end of the 4th story this 'big bad' hasn't arrived so I don't know if he comes in the next one or the one after that...

I don't really care and am not interested in reading more. Overall it's pretty ho-hum. It is something to read in-between other stuff.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Jude Crow is the Native American gamer girl version of the Iron Druid from the first Hearne book. The differences are mostly window dressing but for the power type and source. Jude is a sorceress hiding her powers from her evil ex in a comics and game shop rather than a bookstore. She has a group of gamer friends, a leprechaun pawn shop owner next door, and a crowd of shapeshifters who believe in her. With all the were-animals about, there is no need for a talking dog. The comic relief is shared ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
My initial excitement because of the lingo and pop culture references were quickly squashed by the rip roaring pace of the story. I understand it's a bind up but the writing was cheesy at best and cringeworthy at worst. I was slapped with cliche after cliche in this story. Not to mention I found myself disgusted with Jade and her inability to keep herself on track with her mind constantly on Alek's body despite the supposed importance of the 'murder' and how worried she was about her friend.

Kimberly [Come Hither Books]
Urban fantasy starring a sorceress who runs a comic/game store and taught herself magic using D&D spells as a focus. Fun and fast-paced, with a true love for gamers. ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
This was one of those books that I read for an hour and then decided that I didn't care what happened next.

I'm a role-playing gamer so I was hoping for a fun light read with some inside jokes that I could get. There are definitely references to gaming (both table-top and video) and that was fine. The set-up was okay, too. Our heroine runs a gaming store in a small town and as the story opens she's waiting to close up shop so she can run a game with her group. Her gaming group happens to all be
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Should be subtitled “The Sassy Sorceress “ was a fun, if at times queasy, read about the misadventures of Jade Crow. A powerful elemental who has been on the lam from her ex-lover/mentor who is such bad news, his public nickname is Hearteater.
Jade comes out of hiding to protect her friends, falls in love with a tiger, and takes him home to meet her birth family, which went about as bad as it could. As if it could not get any better, Jade finds out the crisis was manufactured by the old boyfrien
Cynthia Parkhill
Wylde, Idaho, is the "shapeshifter capital of the west," where nearly everyone is some type of supernatural being. Protagonist Jade Crow has settled in the area to hide from a dangerous sorcerer.

Among the population of Wylde, Jade conceals her own identity as a sorceress, because of sorcerers' reputations for killing and eating supernatural beings' hearts.

A stranger arrives, a "Justice" or peacekeeper appointed to uphold the law and preserve the secret that shapeshifters exist within human socie
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been wanting to read some of Annie Bellet's work for a while now, and I'm delighted with this omnibus form -- great series! Super joyful D&D references, yay shifters, and welcome badass sorceress. A bit gory (there is some heart eating), a bit repetitive (reading the first 4 books in a series all at once will do that), but an altogether solid and excellent introduction to the world. Yum.
Daniel Nissim
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I just like books with strong willed wise cracking women that do not have all their shit together but have some serious kick ass magic. I married one and (I hope) raised one. So I liked these books.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The stories move really well, and the plethora of nerd-pop-culture references are fun and charming.
Jade Crow is a well-developed character, and if she gives off a Mercy Thompson vibe, well, a fictional character could do worse than be reminiscent of Mercy Thompson.
This was super quick but filled with interesting characters and tons of pop/nerd culture and tabletop gaming references, the latter of which was something I didn't even know I really needed but I couldn't put these books down.
Elisabeth Fallen
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I really liked the MC. She's a D&D nerd, owns a comic book store and is a sorceress. She's my type of MC. That being said I found the book to be dragging in places. We keep being told that the danger is coming, but things take forever to escalate ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked it enough that I bought the next set of books.
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The book was really 4 novellas in one. With each story the just keep getting better. The mystery of Jade becomes more interesting. I cannot wait to see if my theories are correct.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This series has a strong female lead and on overarching baddie that appears in multiple books. I liked it and also enjoyed the geek/nerd references.
Meshia Chatman
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really fun, can’t wait to read the second half. It’s got magic, mystery, a gender and race analysis and at least one queer character- what more can you ask for?
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love this series. First read it on kindle and was so glad when it came out in hardcover. Now sitting proudly on my shelf. The characters are wonderfully developed and the story keeps you entertained. This book includes the first four e-books.
Jennifer Jamieson
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A collection of the first seven books in the series. They're great fun, and it's good to see this omnibus; it's a great way for folks to dive right in.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it

This review will encompass the first seven books of a series at once. They are relatively short, more episodes than complete works on their own, and build to one continuous overarching story.

This series is fun but not particularly serious. It’s good for light summer reading. Character change is minimal, and glossed over when it does happen. Most changes in how characters relate to one another happen at the beginning and end of books: Jade Crow, the main character, gets into a relationship, has i
Donne Knudsen
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was scrounging around for a new series to read after having just finished two other series I was reading. Loved this character!!!!! If you are familiar with Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, you will probably like this series too. Jade Crow is a Native American sorceress who is hiding out in a shapeshifter town from her wacked out, psycho ex who wants to kill her - as in rip her heart out with his bare hands and eat it in order to steal her powers. Freaky $#!^ happens, chaos ensues and al ...more
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Somewhere, there exists a Venn diagram of gamers and readers of urban fantasy. The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series lands squarely in the overlap of those two--full of geeky references (and fear not, nerds who don't play D&D - there are plenty of things here for you to chuckle at) while serving up fast, fun adventures full of shapeshifters and mythical beings and sorcerers along the way.

I'm glad I got to read this as a collection of stories because it does start off a bit wobbily with a confrontati
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked Level Grind which is a collection of 4 novellas. I think I probably enjoyed the collection more than the individual novellas since they built upon each other and I immediately benefited from that instead of waiting as a new novella was released. Each novella did stand alone though given the number of characters reading them in order is better.

The series is definitely UF and not PNR. Jade does have a love interest, but the time spent on that is minimal. As these originally were novellas,
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book is actually four of seven short stories/novellas put together into one hardcover. As such, there is an overreaching plot arc, but there is a conclusion to each of the four novellas inside this book. I wanted to let readers know ahead of time to make it clear what was going on in the book. Now, I must let you know that the book was an excellent one. I have never read this author before and was pleasantly surprised at how well-written the book was. The characters were rich and interestin ...more
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Annie Bellet is a full-time speculative fiction writer. She holds a BA in English and a BA in Medieval Studies and thus can speak a smattering of useful languages such as Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Welsh.

Her books include Avarice (Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division: Book 1), The Gryphonpike Chronicles series, and the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series.

Her interests besides writing include rock climbing,

Other books in the series

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress (10 books)
  • Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #1)
  • Murder of Crows (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #2)
  • Pack of Lies (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #3)
  • Hunting Season (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #4)
  • Heartache (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #5)
  • Thicker Than Blood (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #6)
  • Magic to the Bone (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #7)
  • Dungeon Crawl (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #8)
  • River of No Return (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #9)
  • Balancing the Scales (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #10)

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