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City of Magic

Dragon Fire Prophecy, Book 1
Narrated by: Megan Barber
Series: Dragon Fire Prophecy, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: Teens, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One boy living in a village in the middle of nowhere. One great darkness that threatens to destroy the world. An epic adventure waiting to unfold.

When the traders came to Xion's village, he expected to listen to the stories and see all the amazing things that they had brought with them. Until the mages invited him to join them, and go to a city of magic so he could train to be a sorcerer. In the blink of an eye, his simple life becomes one of adventure, magic, terrifying encounters, and a dark future. With his newfound abilities, and a few friends, Xion must learn to balance learning magic and dealing with his overwhelming destiny, all while the mysterious darkness looms closer.

Can Xion take on this amazing burden, or is the darkness destined to change Xion's world forever?

©2019 Jared Wallis (P)2019 Jared Wallis

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Backlash
  • Princeton, NC United States
  • 12-03-19

The chosen one

Xion has spent his whole life isolated and despised in a small village until a merchant caravan is attacked and his true calling is revealed. This was an interesting heroes journey similar to Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker in a more fantasy world. I liked the characters and plot quite a bit, as well as the narration. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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

Good start

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author. I’m intrigued and would like to listen to more in this series. It’s not an overly original storyline- we have the looming bad guy, main character the said ‘Chosen One’ to defeat said bad guy, not everyone is out to help him. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When well done, I like these plots. The magic and how it works is original to me and I like the twist at the end. This is not a stand alone.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Megan Barber ) and I would listen to another. She puts emphasis on the ends of sentences that made it apparent I was being read to. She gives each character a fairly distinct voice and has some variation in personalities. She’s half way between performing and reading the story. It seems with more practice she could improve her performance.
There was a pulsing, low sound in the background. Very distracting especially when using both earbuds. The first chapter had an echoing or tinny overall sound to the recording, but the next chapters did not.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

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

excellent but simple

I received a free copy of this book at my request, my review is voluntary and unbiased.

This is an excellent telling of a mostly simple and classic fantasy story it follows the archetypes well and does so with panache. It leans on the YA side of fantasy with it's young outcast, turns into the savior while overcoming the adversities of youth.

Most of the characters feel pretty real and are likable in their own way, They do play with the gender norms and some stereotypes a bit but not so much it feels like that's the point. There were some bits that felt a bit forced mostly in the tragic origin story part, after that everything smoothed out pretty well.

I can definitely recommend this book for fans of YA fantasy or just anyone looking for a pretty easy fantasy listen.

The narrator is pretty good she's obviously a young reader not quite as polished as some. In the beginning she seems a bit off but she finds her rhythm pretty early after that she does an admirable job.

There is also a section towards the end where there is a minor audio issue, just a faint buzz that sounds a bit like mic reverb,

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • RJ
  • Cottage Grove, MN, United States
  • 11-08-19

Coming-of-age with magic!

The tale of a boy with a hidden destiny. A coming-of-age story infused with magic. Unknowing of the prophecy, Xion accepts the invitation of traveling mages to go with them and train in magic. Once in the city, Xion is placed in a magic academy where he meets other young people with similar ambitions. The city is a dangerous place. Xion’s identity is quickly revealed and he is exposed to the politics of the land. Xion and his small circle of friends must reveal the prophecy, train and become stronger to survive. An interesting tale but definitely has a young adult feel. Three.point.five. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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

An Enjoyable Listen via Audible

To get the legal stuff out of the way, this Audible book was provided free in exchange for an honest review.

If you're a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, this book reads like an exploration of a player character's backstory by that player character and his/her dungeon master. Xion, the main character, seems blissfully unaware of how the world works. Almost content to live out his days in his little village, he secretly pines for a more eventful life - as most of us do. Very quickly, however, he finds himself in some world-breaking trouble. Of course, this can all be discovered in the publisher's summary.

The main characters are all teenagers, and Mr. Knight does a great job reminding us of this. The priorities of these teens, especially Xion, come off as over-dramatic and antipodal to what is happening around them. In some places in the story, they are literally screaming at adults who far surpass their own skills to listen to them. In this sense, the novel feels a bit like a teen fantasy. Reality does set in on occasion, and when it does, crashes down like a dwarven hammer imbued with lighting and thunder. The progression of the story overall did feel a bit rushed at times, with Xion's purpose for existing superseding what could have been some more interesting interactions and expositions between him, his peers, and fellow members of groups that he travels with through the tale.

As for the narration, Ms. Barber does an adequate job reading the tale, though in my estimation she could slow her performance down in order to focus on the inflections of the characters and breathing more life into the world as she reads the description of the surrounding world. In many places, it felt like a "dry read" which led large swathes of the storytelling to feel a little flat. Someone else commented on the lack of vocal range, but to be honest, this can be hedged by focusing on performing the story as mentioned above instead of reading it.

From a technical aspect, Ms. Barber's noise gate tended to cut off too soon, leaving the end of some of her sentences considerably lower in volume than they should have been. It was also very clear when she had started a new recording session, as her recording settings (either the room in which she was recording or the recording settings themselves, or both) sounded substantially different from each other at times. I don't expect a narrator to sit down and record a full novel in one sitting, but I do expect them to be cognisant of their room noise and consistent in their execution. When these things do not happen, it pulls the listener away from the story.

This looks to be Ms. Barber's first audio book on Audible, so I am more than willing to give her some leeway. I do encourage her to keep honing her craft and to not give up if she enjoys reading these books for an audience. I've been creating and editing spoken-word audio for several years now, and the learning curve to keep an audience's attention with your voice is steep, but rewarding. My advice to Ms. Barber is to study narrators who have a.) performed a lot and b.) who have performed in the same genre so that she can experiment with different sounds, inflection, and cadence to enhance her own performance.

While this review may seem to be erring on the side of negative, I was very much left wanting to know what happens to Xion and his compatriots. It is my most sincere hope that Mr. Knight continues to expand the nuances of these characters as he continues the tale and highlights Xion's lack of knowledge of the greater world more than proving Xion's intuition right over and over again. To me, a character who learns from his mistakes, who makes the wrong moves and suffers from those consequences only to rise stronger and better than before is far more interesting than a character who rolls a natural 20 when the heat is truly on.

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

Good Thoughts, Just incomplete ones

First let me say, I was given this book free for an honest review. Now for the review which requires a bit of a set up lol. I will start with a conversation I had with my granddaughter who is 17. She was discussing her struggles in writing with me while she pretended not to be asking for help. I gave her the best advice I could, using terms like what I do is this vs what you need to do is this and sent her on her way. She was pleased she had a new thing to try while still believing that she had not "ask" for help. That is how I felt the whole of this book. Like the author was asking for the help of one really awesome editor. This "kid" who was too old to know so little either had the worst foster parents ever or had the IQ of the ogre. I come from a very remote place, but I would hedge to bet that even the Aborigines know of other peoples, yet this poor dude had not even heard a rumor of other races? Believe-ability is important even in fiction. The supporting cast was fun though and it sucked that Xions mentor was also on the dark side. I actually like what the story was working on, but your editor failed you. Your thoughts wandered and left Xion looking like either a dimwit or a fool at times. Then we have the narrator, she sounded 12! So all her characters also sounded 12 because she had no voice range at all. She did have breathing pauses and a clear her throat moment as well that could have been filtered out with a good editor which apparently failed her too. I will however read book 2, when its available. I hope Xions story grows and thus the author will have grown as well.

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

A coming of age story

The story was well written and had some very well done turn of events. There were a few parts that seemed a bit forced, but they were fairly minor and didn't really effect my overall opinion of the story.

The narration, relatively well done, could benefit from having the background noise cleaned up. There were also a few times where the character voice changed when it shouldn't have, but this only happen two or three times.

Overall, I would recommend this audiobook and am looking forward to listening to the next book in the series.

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

Great underdog story

Xion is a really fun character to cheer on. He is often looked over, but really comes into his own as he searches to understand magic. The story had a lot of fun fantasy elements that keep the reader interested and excited. Well put together and thought out. *I received this book in exchange for an honest review.