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  • A Darker Shade of Magic

  • A Darker Shade of Magic, Book 1
  • By: V. E. Schwab
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,120
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,776
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,766

Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes. As such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. There's White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not a fan of the narrator

  • By Alex on 06-11-15

Too slow...

2 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-17

I do have to say that this book is a first for me. I have never stopped a book and marked it finished without actually finishing it before.

The basic idea seems enjoyable enough. I liked the world concept enough to stick with it for a while, but in the end I just couldn't listen any more.

The author gives in-depth physical descriptions of places and people, but isn't nearly that expressive when it comes to the societies, the magic, and the plot. I just hit 1/3 of the way through the book when it FINALLY began the main plot line. That is much too much exposition for my tastes. Others may find that more enjoyable, but it only served to frustrate me.

I also found myself having no vested interest in any of the characters. I would hope that by the time I started the second third of the book, I would at least like or dislike them, but quite frankly, at this point I still didn't know them well enough to invest actual emotion into them, nor to care what happens with them.

The narrator was not particularly suited to this book either. Most of the characters are pretty young according to physical descriptions, but he gives them all harsh, low voices except for the one female, who he makes sound whiny instead. Seeing as how she is supposed to be a tough criminal with a pretty large bounty on her head, that didn't fit at all to me.

All in all, I wish Schwab's editors had exercised more control and insisted on some serious chopping and changing.

  • England My England

  • Anglophilia Explained
  • By: Mark Dery
  • Narrated by: Mark Ashby
  • Length: 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 461
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 389
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 393

Downton Abbey has brought out the Anglophile in American fans of the hit TV series. But Anglophilia has a long history in America. Why are some native-born residents of our Shining City Upon a Hill, where All Men Are Created Equal, seduced by the fluting tones of manor-born privilege? At last, Anglophilia explained - in American, thank you.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Qualifies as my most irritating Audible purchase

  • By Emily on 02-23-14

What was this? I couldn't tell.

1 out of 5 stars
1 out of 5 stars
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-14

What would have made England My England better?

The author of this piece did not make it clear what the work is supposed to be. Was it a parody of scholastic works? If so, it missed the mark completely. Was it actually supposed to be an analysis of American-based Anglophilia? If so, it missed the mark completely. Quite frankly, it was a thinly-veiled excuse to insult anyone that doesn't fit the author's narrow view of a "proper" Anglophile.

What could Mark Dery have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Mr. Dery could have made it better by simply getting off his high horse and actually addressing the subject. This would have preferably been done without continually insulting people who enjoy shows like Downton Abbey, or people who enjoy Renaissance Festivals, or people who enjoy the pomp and ceremony of events like royal weddings, or any number of other sub-groups of Americans. Oh, and actually including a clearly stated thesis and supporting it would be nice too.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Ashby?

Mr. Ashby did the best job that he could with such drivel.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from England My England?

If I were the editor, it would not have made it to publication at all.

Any additional comments?

I was hoping that this would be a serious look at the phenomena of Anglophilia in the United States. I think that there is a lot to address on that subject, and it would be a fascinating study of how the history of the United States and its varying relationships with the United Kingdom have come influenced the modern American mind to create this pervasive fascination with both the reality and the perceived reality of the U.K.

Unfortunately, all that this ended up being was a rather incoherent and unorganized ramble through one man's memories of childhood punctuated with repeated barbs aimed at entire cross-sections of the population ranging from the far Right to the far Left. The end result being a wasted hour and the unsubstantiated inflation of ego for the author.

This was definitely an opportunity that was wasted by the author. It is a shame.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful