Many of the spell-products that have been released over the years are extensive collections of spells that are mostly just variants of existing spells with perhaps something new strewn into the mix. It's rare and unusual to find a product that doesn't just present new spells, but takes things a little further. Advanced Arcana Volume I (which is something of a misnomer as the product also contains numerous divine spells) is such a product that presents three new spell types and the spells that go along with each new type. It's much more than a book of spells though, as it covers other new additions such as sorcerer bloodlines, cleric domains and other useful material for the Pathfinder Roleplaying game.
Advanced Arcane is a 59 page color pdf product, very well presented with some good quality art and layout. The background is a little dark for my tastes, but that's an entirely subjective opinion. While the vast majority of the product is mechanical in nature, it's partially presented from the perspective of a wizard well versed in the lore of the spells presented. As such, there are many pieces of conversational prose in the product, that both make an entertaining read as well as provide useful and beneficial information about the product to the reader. Both the mechanical and fictional writing are very good, as is the editing. The mechanics is also solid. It should be said though, as is highlighted in the product, that this is a product of rare or unusual spells, and as such their power levels may be beyond what one would normally be used to. DMs are encouraged with good advice to be judicious in handing out the spells in this product.
As mentioned, this product is about spells, but more importantly perhaps about three new spell types. The first is the segmented spell, which is essentially a spell that requires multiple castings to complete and one that can be completed co-operatively. There are a number of cleverly crafted versions of these spells, and naturally if they're actually cast can be quite deadly. This kind of spell also acts very well as a plot hook, and as such it's probably best if they do exhibit almost exorbitant levels of power. The second type of spell is the fountain spell, which when cast allows you to recall a spell of lower level in addition to the effect from the spell itself. This is clever in that it extends the mage's arsenal, while at the same time not increasing their power. Lastly, the third spell type is a modal spell, which has different strengths depending on the amount of casting time put into the spell. All these types of spells combine well to create additional possibilities for spellcasters of all classes.
I was quite pleased with the selection of spells presented and the implementation of the above types within them. There are a lot of fun and quite entertaining spells there. Xelar's Prismatic Sphere is a wonderful visual spell, for example, where the wizard's body explodes each round with a different part of the standard prismatic sphere. Such spells, when used properly, can be devastating and highly visual, but more importantly offer extensive subtext for plot hooks and story arcs. Overall this is a wonderful selection of new spells and spells types, perhaps a little on the powerful side, but understandably so. A solid product that's well worth a look if you want to increase the versatility of your spellcaster or as a DM to use the more powerful spells as a campaign arc or story incentive. Neat product.
[5 of 5 Stars!]