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Friday, October 26, 2012

Audio Book Review: The Magician's Apprentice by Kate Banks

WOW - this little story is remarkable - truly more than I expected!
The Magician's Apprentice
Author: Kate Banks; Narrator: Charlie Thurston

  • Type: Unabridged
  •  ISBN-13: 978-0-7927-8948-2 
  • Package: 3 CD Audiobook 
  • Length:  3 Hr 33 Min
  • Publisher: AudioGO (December 11, 2012)
Genre: Fiction, Middle Grader Fiction (?)
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: August 7, 2012 | Age Level: 10 and up
Baz has always dreamed about leaving his dusty little town, so when a stranger comes to his family's home and asks him to be a weaver's apprentice, Baz is eager to start his journey. He and the stranger travel for several sunrises and sunsets until they reach the land of Kallah, where Baz starts his apprenticeship—and soon learns that his master is very cruel. Baz is disheartened, and when the master trades Baz for a sword to a magician, Baz expects no better from his new owner. But as Baz travels further into the depths of the desert with this kind-hearted and wise magician, he learns to re-examine his beliefs about people, the world, and himself, discovering that everything is connected in a continuous journey toward destiny and that no person or thing can ever really be owned.

Baz is a young man ready to journey from home to be apprenticed for a new career.  He has no idea what the career will be but he anticipates the adventure. When the day finally arrives a stranger takes him away to deliver him to be a weaver’s apprentice. Baz is willing to do the job but his master is cruel; he takes the possessions of the students and practically starves them to death. After losing a friend and his small dog to the brutality of the master Baz plans an escape. Baz takes with him a small key he has treasured and hidden since he found it, but before he can succeed in his plans Baz is traded to another stranger.

Although Baz expects cruelty from his new master he soon learns that the old man is a gentle-hearted, philosophizing, wise magician.  They travel together through villages, across the desert and into the mountains where it is rumored no one ever returns. Along the way the magician shares and explains riddles of life and wisdom with Baz.

Ms. Bates is apparently an author of many children's books but I really hesitate to classify this as a Middle Grader genre.  The tale may appeal to a younger audience but it is much more than an interesting adventure. I found this story to be profound and wonderfully expressed. The writing is lyrical and the views on the meaning of life are thought provoking. The view encompasses a oneness of all beings and creation. Although that is not necessarily consistent with my Christian beliefs there is a part of me that can see all souls and physical elements of the world as being connected parts of God’s creation. There are many tidbits of wisdom that I found marvelous. These include recognition of the illusions of life, the idea of change being continuous and truth usually being broader than what a person first sees through their limited perception. These insights on the meaning of life are beautifully woven and shared through the journey and the friendship of Baz and his mentor.

AUDIO Observations:  The narration is exquisite. Absolutely perfect for the rhythm, mystery and unique synchronicity of the story. I am likely to look for more books narrated by Mr. Thurston as he did such a masterful job on this one.

This is a story I may want to get in print and it apparently has some simple drawings that add to the text. But, whether in print or audio, this is a keeper that I plan to enjoy again. I highly recommend this story and audio.

Words I noted while listening:
      Lyrical, riddles, profound, change, truth.
Quotes I noted:
(From Track 27)
“No,” said Todas. “Intention does not come from the mind, although the mind thinks it does. Intention comes from here.” Todas pointed to his heart again then closed his hands in prayer.
Baz asks
“Where do you come from?”
“Where we come from is not important,” said Todas. “It is where we are going that matters.
(From Chapter 7 Track 29)
Baz questions if magic is deception and dishonest; Todas replies:
“That's not how I see it. I am simply showing my audience that not all is as it seems.  The world is bigger, its secrets  greater. True magic is not just to amuse it's to bring people closer to the truth, to reality. The magician’s task is not to show power, but to dispel illusion. Power is nothing but an illusion. Magic represents the capacity for transformation and change inside all of us.  Is that lesson not worth something?"
Audiobook JukeboxI am thankful I had the opportunity to review this for AudioGo through AudioBook Jukebox.
I will add this to my New Author and Audio Challenge lists.

1 comment:

  1. I kept looking at this on Audiobookjukebox and passing it up. I may have to check it out after all. Thanks for the review.


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