Narrator: Michael Lesley
Length: 18 hours, 18 minutes
No matter how much he hates the word “destiny,” Sam of Wilds has one he must face. Whether he likes it or not, Sam is what stands between the dark wizard, Myrin, and the safety of Verania. Sam faced Myrin once, and came out the victor, but not without Myrin inflicting scars that now mark Sam’s body. Although he has the support of two of the five dragons, his destiny says that in order to win the battle, Sam must gather them all. So once again, he journeys out seeking the remaining dragons with the help of his best friends, Tiggy and Gary, the dragon Kevin, and Sam’s true love, the dreamy knight commander Ryan Foxheart.
It is not going to be easy, however. Before he even starts, Sam must face a traitor, as well as endure the guidance of Randall in his snowy northern castle. And getting the support of the dragons is not easy, particularly that of the Great White who has conditions Sam isn’t sure he can meet. Sam also has to be able to move past his anger at Morgan and Randall for the secrets they kept from him if he is ever going to be able to trust them again. But perhaps worst of all is learning what Myrin really wants, and realizing he will use whatever means he can to achieve it. Now Sam has to hope that his skills and the support of his mentors and friends are enough to help him battle against the evil that seeks to destroy all he loves.
The Consumption of Magic is the third book in T.J. Klune’s incredible Tales from Verania series. I am a fan of Klune’s writing, both his humorous stories and his more serious works, and I have many books of his that I just adore. But I think this series is incredibly special, as it combines Klune’s trademark humor with some really intense, moving, and poignant moments, all in a way that flows seamlessly together.
So first on the lighter side, as always with this series, it is side splittingly funny. I had non-stop laugh out loud moments as I listened to this one and I love the sense of fun and silliness that carries throughout the books. Yes, it can be absurd at times and things sometimes seem like they could fly off the rails, but Klune makes it all work. I just adore these characters so much, Sam in particular. Despite their sass and their craziness and their seeming inability to focus on one train of thought for more than two seconds, there is a charm and a sweetness to them all that I just love.
And that brings me to the other half of this series, and that is how wonderfully Klune incorporates the more serious side. As much as I love the humor and the fun, what keeps this book grounded is how genuinely this cast of characters truly cares for one another. Some of my favorite moments are the quiet bits between Sam and Ryan when you can see just how much they love each other, how they would do anything to protect each other, and the desperation they each feel when the other is in danger. I also loved Sam’s interactions with Randall. The two have been at odds since the start and Sam chafes under Randall’s guidance, but here we see the men connect in a way we haven’t before, and Sam come to really appreciate Randall and what he can teach him. Not many authors can pull off both humor and seriousness well in the same story and Klune manages to do it wonderfully. And this is a story where despite all the fun and frivolity, some serious and intense things happen. Bad things, things that will break your heart and make you scared for these characters and wonder if things can ever work out. And I think that combination is what really makes this series sing.
Once again I listened to this in audio format with the fabulous Michael Lesley. I have to say, for me this series is inextricably linked with Lesley. As much as Klune writes amazing words, Lesley brings this series to life in a way that just blows me away every time. As much as I was dying to read this book, I didn’t even consider starting it until the audio version was out. I will tell you that once again Lesley is amazing here. It is truly like listening to a one-man play. Each character is spectacularly acted, each one is brought to life in a way that it is like listening to old friends. Lesley amps things up here with some added sound effects, and they just further enhance the feeling of listening to a true performance. And as with the writing, it is the quiet moments here that really shine. Those little conversations between Ryan and Sam, or between Sam and Morgan, where the crazy pace and intensity slows down and you can just feel the connections between them.
I feel like I could go on forever here, but I’m not sure I really need to. If you are a fan of this series like I am, I know you have probably read this already (or are at least gobbling up the audio). And if you haven’t started, I can’t recommend this series highly enough. It has humor and fun and silliness, but with a depth, an intensity, and a poignancy that makes it all come together beautifully. I’m still left emotionally drained after finishing the story, and I eagerly await the next installment.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.