Hello, everyone! Today I have another review. The author reached out and offered an audiobook copy of The Legend of Black Jack. I’ve never had a request that offered an audiobook before, and most of my audiobook listening is mood reading, which made it easy to slip into the line-up fairly quickly. So, I decided to accept the request even though I’m not currently open to review requests. It also didn’t hurt that I’ve seen some other bloggers rave about this book. 🙂
They say he was an outsider. A man with no home, no family, no friend to call his own. The man with nothing left to love. The empty man.
They say he talked to animals. They say he traveled between worlds. They say he killed a god, and they may be right. He prowled the border between light and dark. He beat the devil himself with a walking stick. He healed a thousand people in a single day and killed a dragon the same midnight.
They say there was a woman. They say he died for her. No one knows the truth.
Those are the legends about him.
If you want to know the truth I will tell you.
The Legend of Black Jack is a coming-of-age fantasy adventure complete with full-page illustrations, written by Emmy-winning writer A. R. Witham. It begins on a stormy night in Chicago but Jack Swift’s true destination lies far, far away. The skillful magic of A.R. Witham’s story whisks you away from your everyday world to an unbelievable journey with unexpected action and unforgettable characters.
***Thank you to the author for providing a copy of the audiobook. My review contains my honest thoughts about my listening experience.***
This was such a fun coming-of-age adventure. I was immediately attached to the main character right from the prologue. He had such a rough childhood before being whisked away to a magical land. His luck didn’t change much once he reached the exciting new place, though. He had to overcome huge obstacles, but he developed a wonderful found family to help him do it. All of the characters felt larger than life, and I loved the dynamic between them all. The world-building was fascinating, and there were tons of different types of creatures/characters ranging from pirates to talking sorcerer rhinos. I can honestly say I was never bored while listening to this story because there was always something exciting going on, and I never knew what was going to pop up next. The energy was very high and kept me engaged throughout the story.
There was only one major thing that didn’t really work for me. The episodic nature of the chapters became a bit repetitive. There seemed to be a new crisis every chapter, which helped keep the energy high but didn’t leave a lot of room for quieter character moments. Personally, I prefer a bit more of a balance between the two elements. I’ve honestly already forgotten a lot of the details about each of the chapter-long crises because there was just so much happening in rapid succession none of it really had time to stick. However, the character personalities and over-arching story about the love between a father and son have remained at the forefront of my mind.
The audiobook narration was fantastic. It was a special treat to have the author as the narrator, and he did a great job of infusing the character personalities into his reading. He also provided a great deal of energy that brought everything to life with a sense of wonder. There were a few points where I could tell the audio had been edited/spliced, but it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the listening experience. The only downside to the audiobook was not getting to see the illustrations that come with the book. The settings and characters were so inventive, and I would have loved to see the pictures of them.
If you’re looking for a high energy, kinetic coming-of-age adventure, look no further. This was a fun, immersive read, and the author did a wonderful job with the narration. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.