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|Written by||Paul Korswagen|
|Read by||Paul Korswagen|
|Edited by||Paul Korswagen|
Shadowmagic is an audio book written by John Lenahan. I contacted the author to let him know of this review and he enthusiastically declared himself as a browncoat. Shadowmagic is a rip-roaring, fun, fantasy adventure novel, very loosely based on Irish mythology. It tells the story of a young man, Connor, as he struggles with typical teenage problems, like dealing with a father's high expectations, surviving in the world on your own, and how to woo a girl - that wants him dead. The story takes place in a mystical land, to where Connor and his father are forcibly taken, and where Connor will learn to grow up: meeting people with different views on life, looking for his family and trying to save the land from evil forces that want to destroy it.
In this review I will play clips from the first three chapters only. The storyline is fantastic and one of its best attributes is that it's very difficult to anticipate: the first time I listened to it, I could only predict two small events, the rest escaped me and kept me sitting on the edge of my seat. I don't want to spoil that for you as much as I can, so I'll leave most of the story untold. The narration - done by the author himself - is extremely well done and proves to be an important point in how the story is told. In short clips from these chapters you'll understand why he is until now my favorite narrator.
Clip: (First scene). Connors reflection of the first question he asks. 1:00
This first clip is actually the first scene in the novel. You can identify how the thought process of Connor is realistic and deep into his character: never growing up with much family, family is what he is thinking of. The book will go around several of his teenage struggles and show how he is maturing through them; it will at times describe elaborate thought-monologues, actions scenes, parties, trips, dreams, flashbacks, and anything else you would find yourself in. The writing is beautifully descriptive, filled with metaphors, emotions and references to things found in the "real world", which in the context of the story sound completely out of place and so they contribute to making the imagery stronger. The storytelling is light, nevertheless, it can truly transmit all kinds of emotions. The previous clip may not have been the best example of this form of portrayal, so this is what this one is for:
Clip: (First sight). Panorama is absorbed with the soul. 1:45
Just how this panorama is described, so too are emotions and thoughts the main character experiences. In this sense, Shadowmagic is a very involved novel regarding the characters. It will successfully transmit Connor's concerns and tough decisions, showing a maturing process, that may make you reflect about your own life.
Clip: (Dream). Connors dream demonstrating fusion between his old life, present and future events. 1:25
The scene you heard is Connor's first dream (as he has never had a dream before). It's a very fine example of the author's storytelling abilities. If you follow the story you'll see that the dream is an outstanding description of Connor's subconscious from the events he has experienced and will soon. It really is like a true dream, fusing old real world experiences and new ones. The story has many foreshadowed parts, which you won't notice until they happen. The realization is then a lot of fun. I'm usually very good at finding these, but, as I mentioned before I couldn't predict almost anything, and that's one of the best features of Shadowmagic.
Finally, I'll finish this review with a longer clip, having in mind that one clip is worth at least 500 words. This one details the first action scene, narrating how Connor and his father are taken to the mystical land of tir na og:
Clip: (Capture). Aunt Nieve's visit to the "real world" and Connors capture. 5:25
I really recommend Shadowmagic, it's fun, elaborate and inspiring. You can get it for free from podiobooks.com or in paper form from Amazon (but you lose the narration by the author there), and if you like it you can have both. The best news is that there is a second title that just came out called "The Prince of Hazel and Oak", and there will be a third book to complete the saga.