Disclaimer: Review originally posted at www.audiobookreviewer.com
David Vandergraff tries to be a good man. He lives with his wife and their three children, having the usual family drama, until one night when David receives a call to inform him that the children he had with another woman have finally reappeared. He goes to get them and finds that they seem to think they are wizards, surely a way to cope with all what happened to them: an abusive step-father who ended up killing their mother in front of their eyes. But things start to get out of hand when David’s wife confesses that she is a witch and that David is in fact a wizard, making their three children wizards too.
This is one of those rare gems that fantasy for adults books are, not a young adult finding out the magical side of things, but a middle age man with a family and very mundane problems at work, finding out that he is been a wizard all along. And not any kind of wizard, but a dark one. Wizards are classified according to the four seasons, and this translates into what kind of magic they can do. It is not a distinction between good and bad wizards, just how their magic works. Dark wizard’s magic works through destruction, hence the title of the book.
There are wizards who willingly decide to avoid practicing magic because it is very dangerous, trying to live a mundane life. I partly understand this, but my analytical mind cannot conceive why you would just give your back to something dangerous without further questioning. David’s wife attitude to bury deep their magical past and convert to Catholicism seemed a bit childish and sheepily. I think we need to have a critical attitude in life and know your enemies and dangers so that you can decide the best course of action. I was also bothered by how much lies and deception there were in this book, but this is just a personal preference, and somehow it prevented me to fully connect to the characters.
Very serious matters are discussed in this book but as I could not connect with the characters, I found it impossible to suffer for them. It was like everybody was numb. I also had problems to understand some of their actions and the motivations behind.
The story is slowly paced and despite the seriousness of the situation, if feels a light read. I just hoped the tension would climb up more towards the end, which felt quite anticlimactic.
This is not an easy book to be listened to just for the fact that there were many characters with evolving relationships. It would have helped if Dennis Holland’s voice register could have been a bit more ample. He used two different tones of voice: a neutral one, used for male adults and the narrator, and a softer one, for female adults and children. And the main characters here are a couple and five children! It did not help that from time to time the softer tone was also used for the narration, making things a bit confusing. The audio production was correct though, without glitches.
Another thing that I would like to comment is that dark wizards are the ones born around the winter solstice, and the book mentions December (the series is called The December People), so I assume this just includes the wizards in the Northern Hemisphere. What about South America or Australia? Maybe I am just too picky, but I wonder how somebody from those areas would feel when reading this book.
I think this book would delight those who wish a light read and want something different than the typical young adult fantasy book.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.