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The Magic Shop

Narrated by: Steve Barnes
Series: Shadow Magic Series, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Children, Ages 8-10
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Summary

Some family secrets can't be unseen.

Marcus and his twin sister, Ellie, live in the loft above their grandparents' magic shop - the one all the rumors are about. He's all too familiar with the hand buzzers, card tricks, and fake vomit kits. He thought he had seen it all until he stumbles upon his grandfather hiding something in a secret room behind the family tapestry. 

Now Marcus and Ellie must unravel a dirty laundry list of family secrets, and are thrown into a sinister world that has been hidden from them their entire lives. Not only is the family business a front, but Marcus has to develop his powers before the Dun-Bahr find him and assimilate the magic he was born to protect. 

How will Marcus evade his enemies, and save his family?

It all comes down to what's hidden at the Magic Shop.

©2016 Justin Swapp (P)2016 Justin Swapp

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

decent young adult story.

mostly well written and performed story of discovery.
slightly let down but somewhat illogical main character behaviour especially at the start.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite, but still fun and enjoyable

A wonderful story. I really liked it and though there were a few plotholes and things that didn't quite make sense, it was still a fun and interesting read. Ill definitely be reading the next part.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

It was free.

Narration is so bad it wasn't possible to listen long enough to find out if the story was any good.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Well written, but has problems with the pacing

The Magic Shop by Justin Swapp is the story of the teenage orphan Marcus, who lives with his sister and grand parents. The grand parents own a magic shop, which sells trinkets and other sleight of hand tricks, and most of Marcus’ daily life is relatively uninteresting. As it turns out, the magic shop is not all it seems to be, and his grand parents harbour secrets which they keep to themselves, and Marcus and his sisters life is turned upside down. They also regularly visit the local asylum where his aunt and uncle is located, and here things are also a bit strange.

The book is well written, and it has a nice flow to it. Most things are clearly described, and while I would have liked a tad more descriptive prose now and then, it is quite a minor thing. Story wise it was good, albeit a bit too generic young adult fantasy.
I really liked the beginning of the book, as it set things up nicely, and created some open questions, especially with regards to the nature of the magic shop. Unfortunately, it dragged on way too long, so it took way too long for the plot to really pick up the pace. As a reader, you are well aware that there’s something more to the magic shop, but the main character Marcus is extremely gullible to the point where I just laughed at how far out it was. He’s getting continuous hints of magic being a real thing in this world, just short of unicorns jumping up and down in front of him with signs saying ‘Magic is real!’, and despite this, he keeps just putting of everything as being normal. To me it felt as if there was a huge box of fireworks with ‘PLOT’ written on its side in most scenes, and every time the characters took a match to light the box up, the flame went out. Also, the grand parents start out seeming nice, but act more and more irrationally as the story progresses, and at the end of the book they came out as some of the most arrogant people I’ve ever read about, and I whole heartedly disliked them, which I don’t think was the authors intention. In a large part the grand parents are at the core of my problem with the book, as their actions keep making me getting disappointed in yet another outset of getting the plot developed.
Fortunately the last half of the book picked up the pace significantly, and the ending set things up nicely for the sequel. If the beginning had been shortened (Which could easily have been remedied by the grand parents going "Okay, well, you are old enough to learn, so this is how things are"), I would have given it another star. In addition, the sisters role was quite underdeveloped, and it would have made things a tad more interesting if we had her character developed more. She was generally just a sidekick throughout the entire book.

As I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Steve Barnes, my perception of the book was somewhat swayed by the narration. Steve turns out to be a very good reader, with a clear voice and is excellent at tuning his tones to make up different discerniblele characters. My only but, it that his voice is too dramatic all the time. He’s reading as if danger is going to happen every single second. Like, when you are watching a movie, and there’s a brooding music in the background. For tense scenes this is perfect, but for an entire book it is way too much.

Overall, not completely up to my taste, but if you are into young adult books, chances are that you’ll like this one. 3/5 from me.

I received this audiobook for free, in return for a review.

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

Brilliantly narrated with a fun story line

As other reviewers have said, this book would be most suited for readers below YA level.
Very well narrated, with a fun magic story line. Some of the decisions Marcus makes can be a little infuriating, but I guess kids don't make the wisest decisions most of the time!
Highly recommended for younger readers who like Harry Potter, His Dark Materials etc.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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enjoyable story

Narrator Steve Barnes was excellent! Storyline kept twisting and turns well written by justin Swapp can't wait for book 2

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fun roller coaster for young readers

A bit slow to start, but when it gets going it’s a real rollercoaster of unpredictable events.
The breathless whispering tone of the narrator was quite irritating, but improved by speeding up the playback.

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

Something a little bit different

Where to start, I suppose I better get the disclaimer out of the way. I received a credit in order to review this book however this has not influenced my review in any way.

I don't think I would have chosen this book off the shelf unprompted, it's not my usual genre although I don't mind straying off the beaten path every now and again. The spoiler free synopsis is that two children begin to learn about their magical heritage and their grandparents magic shop. It's kind of an origin story I suppose which of course leaves the door open for a while series.

I did enjoy the story, it kept moving along and kept me interested but I do have a few issues, namely that in some points what the characters do is so infuriating, it's like it defies logic and everyone is ok with this. I had to remind myself that the main characters were children but even the adults in the book suffer from the same lack of common sense or reason. Secondly some of the dialogue is extremely cringe worthy. Somebody called someone else a pipsqueak at one point and that's just an example I can remember. This may well be aimed at children and this is why some points infuriated me but as a card carrying adult I did enjoy it..

The narrator takes a bit of getting used to, I don't know why but after about fifteen minutes of listening it just clicks and Steve Barnes is very good; even with some of the corny dialogue he is able to bring the story to life and has a nice range of voices for the main characters and the general narration.

The good of the story outweighs the bad and I feel like I am not doing the author justice by dwelling on the negatives, but those are unfortunately the bits that stick in your mind. If you are ready to suspend belief and enjoy a few hours away from normal life this book is for you, I'll be checking out the next in the series and hope that Swapp is able to build on the series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good book for all ages

I was given a review copy of this audiobook in exchange for a voluntary and honest review.

This is a very good book. A little slow in the beginning but it picks up pretty quickly . A little different from other magic books in that the magic in this book has some dangers to it.
Production quality and narration was of high quality.

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

magic and mystery with mayhem

kids that live above a magic shop not a real magic shop that is until they find out otherwise when they are asked to watch the shop for a while whent their grandparent go away for the day. then mayhem breaks loose.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dingo 883
  • 11-01-18

An interesting story with some rough edges.

Any additional comments?

The story started out intriguing enough. The narrator sounded like he was telling a ghost story with a conspiratorial voice. There is a sort of Harry Potter element to it in that it's almost geared toward a younger audience but some of the mature themes makes it suited to us older folks as well. The story was unique and interesting, but there were some plot tropes that ruined it for me. The use of willful ignorance always gets to me. Characters who keep saying "I'll tell you later. We'll talk about it later, there's no time now. Now is mot the time" when it is the time and there's plenty of opportunity for at least a brief explanation that would resolve a great deal of trouble and maybe save someone's life. Another problem for me is the comic book fight resolutions. Our mortal enemy is helpless, but let's just leave them and the item that is entire purpose of the plot and conflict just laying on the sidewalk because I just want to go home. The entire Cabal people were a lesson in frustration with completely unbelievable dialogue and actions. The ending was also rather anti-climactic. Overall, still a decent story and worth a listen but with a few speed bumps, for me anyway.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian Edginton
  • 04-01-17

Wanting for more from The Magic Shop

What did you love best about The Magic Shop?

In a sense this is two reviews, one of the story and one of my first time experience with an audible book.

First, the story. As I started listening to the story of Marcus and Ellie I wondered if I had chosen a book from the teen-reader section. A couple of chapters into the book reassured me that Justin had indeed created a new world of wonder and adventure that was well suited to more mature readers of fantasy. The book starts as the two hero's are leaving high school and finding their place in the grown-up world of their caregivers - their grandparents. They are quickly, and innocently thrust into the world of real magic - disguised as mundane trickery and slight-of-hand. Their journey takes them into a very well developed universe of good and not so good where magic is currency and is spent as such - sometimes to dark means. Be forewarned, the story is not finished as it comes to the end.

Second, this is the first audible book I've listened to, my thanks to Justin for the experience. The story is well narrated by Steven Barnes, he captures the spirit of the story and it is hard to believe there are not a dozen people reading for the different characters. To listen to the story being read takes around 9 hours (I didn't find out I could speed it up a bit until I was 8 hours into it - duh), and I kept thinking that I could likely read the story myself in 2 or 3 - but I certainly couldn't have read it while driving to work and it did make the commute go very quickly. This will not be my last audible book - thanks for the heads up and the experience!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AnthonyCatenzaro
  • 27-12-16

Captivating

Narrator was excellent! Storyline kept twisting and turning to keep the audience intrigued. Highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leslie F.
  • 29-10-16

Great book, lots of excitement

This was such a great book. The characters really came alive through the narration of the Audible audio version narrated by Steve Barnes. I wish I had listened to this one with my kids because I know they would have enjoyed it immensely. I'll have to play it again on a car trip. This book has a great story line, lots of action, and lots of twists. It kept me engaged to the end. The narrator was wonderful. I hope to listen to more book read by Steve Barnes, and I can't wait until the next book in this series is available.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Karl hill
  • 15-05-19

So Much More Than I Was Expecting!

When I first started listening to this book I was thinking I would be listening to more of a middle grade or young adult type book. I think this book is much more adult then young adult. It took me a little while to get into it, but once you enter the world that Swapp has created you are adventuring ALL OVER the place. So many exciting characters, places, plot twists, creatures, and the list could go on and on. It truly is more than just a magic shop. I really cannot wait to see where this story goes to in the second book.

Steve Barnes does a fantastic job with the several voices he creates flawlessly, perfectly, and accurate every single time. His emotional inflection is well done as well. I was very emotional throughout this book a lot due to his performance.

I did receive a copy of this book at my request, and I have voluntarily left this review.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • korinka
  • 09-11-18

More intense than I expected.

Aaaargh, Marcus is so hot-headed I want to poke him sometimes! He blunders into things willy-nilly...but it does move the plot and raises the stakes a lot. This book surprised me by how thrilling the action was. Almost made me worried :) Also, Steve Barnes is incredible. He's basically a full cast by himself.

My heartfelt thanks to the author, narrator, or publisher for providing me this audiobook via Audiobook Boom at no cost in exchange for my unbiased review.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mikal
  • 10-08-18

Mind-blowing Narration, Captivating Story

STORY:
This is not just another coming of age story with magic and adventure. Justin Swapp creates a world in "The Magic Shop" that I couldn't stay away from. The characters are captivating, the scenes are palpable, and the emotions are real. You feel so connected with the characters, you'll wish you could jump into the story and fight along with them.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows for Marcus and Ellie who come into their own and grow up before your eyes as they face moral duality, uncertain futures, mystery, adventure, love, and betrayal around every corner – of which there were many! There is a darkness to this story that contrasts the whimsical nature of magic in a fascinating way.

"The Magic Shop" has a way of connecting to the reader in with such ardor that it makes you really feel magnitude of each twist and turn in the story. By the end, I was emotionally exhausted in the absolute best way possible.

NARRATION:
Steve Barnes may as well be magic, because he astounded me from the first word to the last of this 11.5 hour story. Just when I thought it wasn't possible to have any more voices/accents inside of him (at least 10-15), the story introduces someone new and he completely brings them to life. He dramatizes the words of Justin Swapp perfectly sparing you from no emotions. Not only was each character unique, but the range of tone, emotion, and delivery within each character provides a full and immersive experience. It is pure entertainment and I was saddened and dismayed that there wasn't more. What a performance.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Catrina P
  • 29-06-17

A magical tale that left me wanting more!

As Marcus and Ellie finished their school year, they began working in the family business... The Magic Shop... and they quickly find out that there is much more to magic than just parlor tricks.

There are so many twists and turns in the storyline that I just couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next book to find out what happens next!

A wonderful story by Justin Swapp and fantastic narration by Steve Barnes.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Audio Audits
  • 09-04-17

Magical!

Twins Marcus and Ellie are old enough to start learning the family business from their grandparents. Marcus is less than enthused at the thought of running the magic shop, but that’s not the family business Gramps and Granny are talking about! Marcus discovers he has a special gift and there are others who’d like to harness his gift for their own use.

The Magic Shop is an exciting listen, it has action, adventure, and thrills. The audiobook is geared towards older adolescence. I found The Magic Shop to be in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter, by that I mean all ages will find this book a good listen.

Steve Barnes narrates and what a delight he is! His delivery and pacing is perfect for this genre. He has different voices for each and every character. I always knew which character was speaking and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. Steve added so much energy to this production and made a good story even better. Narrators like Steve Barnes are the reason I continue to say to anyone who will listen, narrators ARE actors! The production quality in this nearly 12-hour audiobook is top-notch.

I'm so glad this book is the beginning of a series because there is so much more to explore in the world created by Justin Swapp.

This audiobook was gifted to me in exchange for an unbiased review!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Camilla
  • 02-04-17

interesting story about magic and secrets

an interesting story with magic and secrets and a lot of twists. The narrator also made a good job with the story.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

3 people found this helpful