First setting: an all-male prep school in Arizona, where two sensitive freshmen form a bond based on their interest in magic tricks. Second setting: the labyrinthine house of a weird magician uncle in New England, where the two boys spend a memorable summer being trained in the art of illusion. Or is it real magic? Third setting: an alternate world where dark forces are at play - forces that first show up at the school, but intensify their power the summer. Shadowland is a superb, under-recognized, early novel from a master of literary terror.
©2003 Peter Straub (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
So pleased to find one of my top favorite books finally on Audible. The narrator was very good, and the story is Peter's best!
This has been a fav book since I read it in my youth. So vivid, so full of horror and tension...and myth. It is a dark book and full of characters so I wasn't certain how well the narrator would manage it. WOW. He nailed it - from the falsetto of youth to the bored dilettante...so pleased he rendered the tale as I heard it in my head - that, the best compliment.
I'm a big fan of Phil Gigante's readings, and he comes through strong in a story with many characters who can easily get muddled together. The weakness in this title, though, is a story that goes on about 100 pages more than necessary. I love a story with twists and turns, but this one seems to spiral instead. The novel could be broken into three separate narratives, and if each were told discrete and consistently, would support the others. But the way in which they are intermingled, they disrupt the narrative flow, without adding to any feeling of suspense or surprise.
I have enjoyed every book I have read by Peter Straub and I'll continue to read his books as long as he writes them but this is honestly not as good as his others. Ghost Story and Floating Dragon(how I wish there was an unabridged version available) are 2 of my favorite books and I was really looking forward to this one, but I was honestly disappointed with this. It's a great premise and it has some great moments but unlike his other books it never really gels together. I would still recommend it but it wouldn't be the book I would suggest to start with.
That said I do have to say the performance was perfect and I would listen to any other books he reads. He has a great talent for the different voices, especially the antagonist, Coleman Collins. The character is an actor and plays many parts during the story but the reader can depict each of them differently but you can still tell it is the same person. A perfect performance.
The book was difficult to follow when I read it as a youth and time has not helped. The story is incredible and capturing that's why I remembered it. Regardless of its or my shortcomings a really good read.
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