Podcast Review #41: Shadowmagic

Title: Shadowmagic
Author: John Lenahan
Genre: Fantasy
Released: 16 July 2006 – 24 December 2006
Located: iTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: Podcast, Dead Tree version, electronic versions
Rating: G/PG but with some violence and intense scenes

Occasionally, I run across a podcast that has been around for quite a while. For one reason or another, it just hasn’t crossed my path. That is why I ask for recommendations. Recently, I got several recommendations for the same podcast. One that was quite old. (In podcast years that is.) And very soon after that, I got a query asking me about the same podcast and wondering if it was worth listening to. So, Mr. Sterling and Mr. Reed, here’s your review.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: “Hi, my name is Conor. Other than my father being a bit of an eccentric lunatic, my life was pretty normal until I got attacked in my living room and whisked away to Tir na Nog, the mystical land of the ancient Celts, where it turns out Dad is the usurped heir to the throne and everybody wants me dead because of some prophecy. Don’t you just hate when that happens?”

Shadowmagic is a rip roaring fun fantasy adventure novel by John Lenahan very loosely based on Irish mythology where every chapter ends on the edge of a cliff (or at least a high curb.) Join Conor as he grapples with typical teenage problems like, how to deal with a father’s high expectations, how to survive in the world on your own and how to woo a beautiful girl – that wants you dead. Shadowmagic a podcast novel for young adults from 12 to 112. (stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: For a legacy podcast, I mean we’re talking 2006 here, this podcast sounds amazingly good. In fact, it sounds as good or better than most of the podcasts being created today. Mr. Lenahan does a superb job. He follows a pattern that I’ve noticed adopted by several of my current favorite podcasters, in that he plays a theme to begin and end an episode and another piece that signals a scene transition. The only complaint I have as far as production goes is that through the majority of the podcast, that scene change transition music is mixed a bit too loudly and can be quite startling when listening to through headphones.

Cast: Mr. Lenahan does a fantastic job with a straight read for this podcast. He uses quite a bit of inflection and is able to differentiate quite well between the characters simply by using his voice. Yes, even the women. One of the things that I appreciated the most concerning his reading of the characters though was the sarcasm that he imbued his characters with. I love sarcasm and find it quite well done here.

Story: The story reminds me of Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles in that we’re introduced to characters that travel between dimensions and are royalty in a family hell bent on murdering each other. At this point, the similarity ends however. Where Amber is very much a serious series, Shadowmagic strives for a tongue in cheek charm. Both are effective if done well. So, how well done was it?

Verdict: Well done indeed! As stated in Podcast Review #40 last week, fantasy tends to be my “home” genre. It is the one where I feel the most comfortable. The one that when I step into a good one, I find myself most easily immersed. Shadowmagic was a great follow up to last week’s The Crown Conspiracy. When I mentioned that I had only heard of this story recently on Twitter, I seemed to split my followers in two camps. The first, like me, had never heard of it. The second ribbed me and with a good heart asked me what the heck was wrong with me. Well, to the first group I say, go download this immediately. You won’t be disappointed.  To the second I reply, WHY THE HECK DIDN’T YOU SUGGEST IT TO ME!?

Disclosure: I’d never heard of John Lenahan until I started this podcast. I do not follow him on Twitter and am not even sure he has an account. I have found out there is a sequel to this story which I can guarantee you will be listened to. Nothing was offered by anyone in return for this review.

Comment Pages

There are 9 Comments to "Podcast Review #41: Shadowmagic"

  • Sterling says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed as much as I did.

    Now that I think about it, I do believe he was one of the first podcasters that I left feedback for. I believe my feedback was something like: YOU PROMISED MORE, DELIVER!!

    I am LOVING the second book in this series as much as the first and you can bet that the hardcopy has well earned it’s spot on my bookcase.

    You touched upon all the points that has made this podcast among my top five podcasts. (Gotta love ANY podfic that begins with a decapitation, especially a casual decapitation.)

    I love the review and I’m glad you did give it a listen because the man does deserve a bigger audience base.

    • odin1eye says:

      I really did. It was a rollicking good time. I greatly enjoyed everything about it and am looking forward to the sequel.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Annette says:

    I have to agree COMPLETELY. “Shadowmagic” was the first podiobook I downloaded from Podiobooks because it was family friendly and we spent a LOT of time in the car. At the time even my (then) 4 yr old daughter recognized the music and that it was story time. It’s one of the few I don’t mind returning to.

    • odin1eye says:

      You know, I don’t mind listening to stories more tailored towards the adult audience. Graphic violence and other adult content, where appropriate, are fine. BUT, when i run across a gem that I can easily share with my kids, THAT is priceless and something I do appreciate.

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • I just found Shadowmagic and love it. Listening to Connor learn all about the world he was thrust into is humorous. Here is a15 yr old young man who not only has to learn to ride a horse but also to apologize to a tree before he picks an apple. I see a young man growing into manhood and having to adjust from being a kid to being an adult and all the embarrassing things that happen on that path as well as surviving in a foreign land. Fortunately, Connor is quick, much like the author must be as a magician. John Lenahan is also a nice guy, when I tweeted how much I liked his book, he answered and he was in Thailand on vacation!

  • Thomas says:

    Lenahan’s delivery was/is the thing. As with any audio, delivery can make or break it. His style of reading draws you in and keeps you wishing the story would never end. AND what a story. Not your average changling story, eh?? Wouldn’t you love to fall into the arms of your own Mother Oak?? What an awesome world he built. The narration alone could keep you listening, but the story, draws you into a world of wonder and awe. Topnotch review, my friend.

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