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  • A Darker Shade of Magic

  • Shades of Magic, Book 1
  • By: V. E. Schwab
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (208 ratings)

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A Darker Shade of Magic cover art

A Darker Shade of Magic

By: V. E. Schwab
Narrated by: Steven Crossley
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Publisher's Summary

A Darker Shade of Magic is the incredible first installment of the Shades of Magic series, from number one New York Times best-selling author V.E. Schwab.

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London....

©2015 V. E. Schwab (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...." (Deborah Harkeness)

What listeners say about A Darker Shade of Magic

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

On recommendation I read this and got the audiobook too. The story is excellent, drawing on an original imagining of the worlds of magic.

The performance on the audio version is first rate from Steven Crossley.
Not sure why he doesn’t do the sequels as well as they are very sub-par and involve English/London accents being performed by Americans so they are terrible. Think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins bad! Rather ruins the sequels after you have heard Steven Crossley reading this instalment as he is excellent.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the story, hated the heroine

I LOVE Lila. She’s one of my favourite modern heroines to date, but oh my god Crossley butchered her voice like there’s no tomorrow. She’s this beautiful, enigmatic, confident thief and yet Steven Crossley made her sound like a fairy tail witch. Please sir, never try to do a female voice again. I’d rather you read her in a male voice, honestly. It was disgusting. Everytime she “spoke” my soul cringed. It felt like climbing into a warm, wet swimsuit while dry. Yuck.

Every other voice rendition was amazing. Lila just ruined it for me.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Slow start

The idea was intriguing & story was ok, but too long for me to feel invested in the story.
I did not like the female voices from the narrator.
I may continue with the series but will not be rushing for book 2.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

it was okay

The story was okay, interesting at parts boring and predictable at others.
The narrator's impersonation of females is awful, he made every female character incredibly annoying.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Better as a hard copy

The story was compelling enough, I loathed the narration, particularly when speaking the lead heroines lines. Couldn’t move past it. Better read than listened to. Not captivating enough to continue with this series.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator

The narrators voice for Lila is really off putting. Otherwise it’s fine but the story is fantastic.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not the narrator for this story!!

A very good premise and well written but I, like many others could barely tolerate the narration. The narrator
Has a fine voice and accent but he made every single character other than Kel sound like a caricature of an evil old man or woman. Literally every charactorisation was awful. Not sure I could listen to another one despite wondering “what’s next?”.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, narration not quite there.

While the narrators voice is pleasant to listen to, his intonation for many speech parts feels wrong. It's easily enough ignored though, and the audiobook is still enjoyable.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

I read quite a few of the earlier reviews before I listened to this book. Many of them noted how annoying the narrator's portrayal of Lila was. I was glad to be forewarned. Fortunately I thought it was going to be worse than it was. A fairly long way from good, but bearable. Great story, interesting worlds. Looking forward to the next instalment 😊

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book, had to actively try to ignore the narrator

This is a great story and I’m excited to get to the next one. For me the narrator gave the most unrealistic voices to the characters and almost ruined the book for me.

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