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Summary

From the world of Spellmonger...blessed darkness conceal her!

Born into a mysterious family, Gatina always knew there was something special about those around her. But when the duke and duchess of Alshar - close friends of her family - are brutally assassinated, her idyllic countryside life is upended by secrets emerging from the shadows.

The family she knew proved to be more than mere Alshari Coastlords and occasional magi, as she once believed. For centuries, her ancient and distinguished House has been secretly both Shadowmagi and highly skilled thieves. With a devious count seeking to capitalize on the assassination, the future stability and peace of Alshar hinges on Gatina learning both arts.

Slavery and piracy loom malevolently in the distance as the Count allies himself with a merciless criminal organization to seize power.

Gatina’s House has vowed to stand against the rising tide of wickedness - no matter how hopeless the task may seem. Working in secret beneath the tutelage of an enigmatic and mysterious master, Gatina finds herself disguised as a street orphan. She runs the filthy gutters of Falas as she puts her training into practice amid the dismal reality of its most destitute neighborhoods.

Brutal thugs, violent riots, cunning soldiers, and the constant threat of discovery by the Count and his allies, all put Gatina’s life at risk as she struggles in secret against the rising tyrant. 

For as the blessed darkness conceals her movements by night, she and the Brotherhood engage in a clandestine struggle, something much more deadly than mere...shadowplay.

©2021 Terry Mancour (P)2021 Podium Audio

What listeners say about Shadowplay

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Please fix!!!

Please fix the pronunciations, it's Irionite not Ir-eye-nite! Overall it is a very good book with a solid story which has been pulled down by mispronunciations and some bad editing. I really hope that they will fix this and re-release the book, and I hope that these mispronunciations will not continue in the sequels.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Just okay.

Lovely to get a back story for Gatina and Atapol in training. Not to keen on the narration on this one, I found it shrill and laboured, which distracted from the story. Quite a lot of mispronounced names and lacked an understanding of the Spellmonger series which was a shame.

1 person found this helpful

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Shadowplay better than I expected.

Shadowplay and Gatina's storey and the revelation of her house, it's quiet actions and contribution. Now brings some background to Gatina's family, the merging of two mage familys. The extent of the rebel Count and the darkness which is used to grab political power after lenguins assasination , mothers error in creating a power vacuum, the brotherhood of the rat, it's role in propping up the regime and return to practice of slavery amongst other evils. Puts context into what is happening in Minalins storey, yet keeping all things spellings at a distance. Absolutely brilliant read.

1 person found this helpful

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Good Story - Irritating Pronunciation

I love the Spellmonger series and generally like the spin-offs. This story is good and promises more and the narration is generally engaging BUT, as a spin-off from a major series, surely someone should have corrected Fiona Hardinham's pronunciation of key words. It makes listening jarring when key words such as magocracy, irionite, Falas, Trygg and others are so very different from John Lee's wonderful narration of the main series. PLEASE don't let it happen in the next Legacy and Secrets book - it would be such a shame.

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Disappointed

As a fan of this series I bought this book with great excitement. I was so disappointed. The narration hurt my ears, literally! Even after adjusting as many settings as possible.
Apart from that the mispronunciation was awful and distracting.
Possibly the worst thing was the narration seemed to be aimed at very young children. I’m over 70 and love this series and the world I can disappear into, it would surprise me to know it was aimed at 4 year olds.
The story line was good but not as strong as I’m used too. Perhaps that is because I could not immerse myself in it fully.
Like I said I’m disappointed.

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Spying, thievery intrigue and honor.

I loved the story, magic plays a very small part of it but that is fine. It is good to see that magic isn't used as a crutch. Instead this is a good spy skulking heist story of honourable theives.

I have listened to the whole spell monger series, and was a little wary because of reviews about the narrator's pronunciation of key names and words.
Whilst it is true the mispronunciations are egregious they are also sufficiently infrequent not to detract too much from the performance. Otherwise I really liked Fiona Hardingham's performance, and hope she continues to narrate this fork of the story, but needs to ensure consistency with John Lee's prior performances.

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A good story

This was an enjoyable read that offers greater insight into an interesting family and aspect of the war taking place in the Spellmonger series not yet covered fully in the main series. Anything that adds more details of this world and characters is appreciated.

Read the main series first to appreciate this book fully.

I look forward to the next book.

The narrator did a good job mostly although how the name Thinradel and the term irionite was pronounced differently from the main series which I found jarring. Given that the usual narrator was exceptional and has established how things are pronounced over a long series I hope the next book can be consistent with John Lee's work. Irionite is a frequently used term and I would find a different pronunciation annoying in the rest of the series.

I hope other characters and families will get their own book eventually and maybe even the point of view of the brotherhood of the rat, the undead or other factions would be interesting

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  • iratSkirT
  • 08-10-21

Where to start?

So this is a great book. It makes the character of Gatina make quite a bit more sense in the other spellmonger books, and is just generally good on its own.

What isn't good is the nigh Constant mispronounciation of important people, places, and things.

It's pronounced "Fal-as" not "Fel-as".
It's pronounced "Trig" not "treg".
Magocracy is pronounced with a soft g, not a hard g.
It's pronounced "eer-ee-oh-nite" not "eye-ree-uh-nite".

Did no one bother to check her pronunciations against the pronunciations already established by the other audiobooks? It might seem minor to some but to others, like me, it's absolutely maddening and immersion breaking. And the ones I've listed are just the most common ones.

I love the Spellmonger series, and this was a great book, but the voice acting entirely ruined it for me.

27 people found this helpful

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  • KabukiTanuki
  • 06-10-21

Not what I was hoping for.

My original review was taken down for some reason. Here it is again:

I'm starting this review off by stating that this book CAN be skipped in relation to the Spellmonger series. It pertains very little to the main storyline and actually doesn't offer much of interest anyway. I should say that I'm not a side-story hater by default. I truly enjoyed the previous publication, The Wizards of Sevendor.

The main character is a young version of a character trope that has the initials of M.S. and the story is set at the very beginning of the Spellmonger timeline. This bothered me because the story lacks any meaningful or new insights on the main storyline as a whole and isn't that interesting in its own right. The authors throw us a bone with some mildly interesting info about the Coastlords, but that's about it.

It's difficult to be brought so far back in the story and have to suffer through such a bland introduction to a new side character arc. Almost nobody uses magic, and the style of storytelling felt uninspired. Although I dislike being dragged back to the beginning like this, new readers could theoretically start fresh here. However, I don't feel this book is the best start to the timeline.

Annoyingly, the main character happens to consistently break the rules in such a perfect way that she is able to almost accidentally produce results that outclass her trained counterparts.

The writing style felt more basic than normal as well. Almost as though it's a YA novel. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book, but I wouldn't recommend staying away simply because it is actually listenable.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 08-10-21

Love the Alshar, Wincing at this Performance

I don’t think Fiona bothered to listen to the prior work and the canonical pronunciation… She also believes that to make a masculine voice, she must speak 10-20% louder and pompously…
Wishing John Lee had been hired for this.

Story seems banal and very expository at the start, which is ok, and probably exacerbated by the dreadful performance.

But, I love this world and really enjoy Gatina in the other books, so I’ll muddle through…

11 people found this helpful

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  • sam
  • 08-10-21

The story seemes compelling but narrator ruins it

I have been looking forward to a story on Gatina for a while now so I was excited to get shadowplay but the narrator reads it so fast I had to check and make sure I hadn't accidentally sped it up. It like she just wants to read it and be done with it which is very disappointing. she also mispronounces several names and locations as if there was no collaboration with the author or John Lee, the reader of the main series, to establish and keep a consistent standard. Lastly her inflection is all over the place as if she reads each word by itself with no regard for the rest of the sentence and each sentence without regard to the following or preceeding one. Her overall reading is very monotone something I attribute to her trying to read with an air of "prim and proper",which makes sense for the main character, but makes the overall presentation suffer for it. I would like to see the redone where she takes her time to give each sentence the time and gravity it deserves, perhaps she should listen to John Lee's readings for an example of the impact it has on the experience.

11 people found this helpful

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  • DeltCrow
  • 05-10-21

More Spellmonger Fun

Since I first discovered the Spellmonger series, I've made it a tradition to take a day off work when a new one comes out. It's like an erratically scheduled Yule that happens several times a year. Knowing ahead of time this one was a collaboration, a shorter title and one that wasn't being narrated by John Lee, I almost decided to break with tradition. I'm so glad I didn't. The story is fun, well written and expertly narrated. Now I'm looking forward to the next installment as much as I'm looking forward to trying to figure out how to get Archmage Terry to bring gifts down my chimney next holiday season. Perhaps a bribe from my local fromagerie...

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-21

Inconstant pronunciation from narrator.

Fiona got a problem with the pronunciation of names in particular. 1 name can get changes from even if they are said withing the same min. There is also some gender swapping going on.. not sure if this is lazy editing or the narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wet Snufkin
  • 06-10-21

Why change the pronunciation of key words?

Everything about it is great except for the changes in pronunciation for the city and other few small things, but it did kinda felt wrong every time...

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 17-10-21

If it was supposed to be a children’s book I don’t notice

I suspect if I was a 10-year-old girl, I would really enjoy the story. However, as I am not I did not. It read like an old Hardy boys book, but from a little girl’s perspective. If that is okay for you, go with it. Obviously not a Terry Mancour written book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 17-10-21

Fell short

I’m sad to say I didn’t enjoy this side story, which is unfortunate because I really wanted to dive deep on this side of the Spellmonger world.

With a long-established story and narrations, minor changes can make or break it for me when it comes to a different narrator. Fiona is a decent narrator, a little fast at times, and can be uninspiring due to more reading a story than telling a story, but always a consistent and clear voice which I value most. Unfortunately, she falls short, in my opinion, by not keeping consistent pronunciations with the last 10+ Spellmonger audiobooks. I’m not sure if it is due to a lack of care for the series (something very concerning if so) or a desire to “do her own thing,” but it doesn’t work (see other reviews). It’s just too jarring and mentally interrupting that it leaves a sour taste. Resulting in an overall forced listen-to experience for me.

As for the story, not near as deep and full of lore secrets as I had hoped, very much a young adult novel, almost children’s book writing at times. Not bad, not great. Compared to the rest of the series, not sure if this side series will be worth reading if the following books follow the same path.

2 people found this helpful

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  • RONALD
  • 10-10-21

good premise

not enough happened. I kept listening & waiting for more action, magic, & a decent ending, but got little of the three ( got some action & thrills, but not enough). Was this supposed to be a children's book? If so the many character names mentioned with no back story about the characters was numbing & made you wonder "now who is that?". Was book 1 just to get the reader to book 2?

2 people found this helpful