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Shadowland

Shadowland

Written by Peter Straub

Narrated by Phil Gigante


Shadowland

Written by Peter Straub

Narrated by Phil Gigante

ratings:
4/5 (22 ratings)
Length:
17 hours
Released:
Jun 5, 2012
ISBN:
9781455830268
Format:
Audiobook

Description

First setting: an all-male prep school in Arizona, where two sensitive freshmen form a bond based on their interest in magic tricks. Second setting: the labyrinthine house of a weird magician uncle in New England, where the two boys spend a memorable summer being trained in the art of illusion. Or is it real magic? Third setting: an alternate world where dark forces are at play-forces that first show up at the school, but intensify their power throughout the summer.

Only one of them will make it through

Released:
Jun 5, 2012
ISBN:
9781455830268
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Peter Straub is the New York Times bestselling author of seventeen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. His two collaborations with Stephen King, The Talisman and Black House, were international bestsellers. Two of Peter’s most recent novels, Lost Boy Lost Girl and In the Night Room, were winners of the Bram Stoker Award. In 2006, he was given the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter and his wife live in New York City.

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What people think about Shadowland

4.0
22 ratings / 11 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I didn’t love this as much as I did the first time around, but it was still pretty damn good.
  • (2/5)
    Occasionally interesting, but fails to sustain the energy and horror of "Ghost Story". Way too long.
  • (3/5)
    2011, Jan.: #2Another book and another leftover from last year's reading. This time from a month of horror planned and just about ignored completely in October (I hardly got past King and Straub and mostly King's entirely mediocre and disappointing Talisman). As a big fan of Straub's Ghost Story, as well as his much more 'literary' (and some could say: sexy) aspirations and style of writing (that completely trump Stephen King's slapdash shenanigans; I'll just needlessly toss that in there, o yah!), this bastard was a big bore. A literal bore. Must mean something coming from a person whose use of 'boring' as an insult is so rare as to be nonexistent, partic. if we're dealing with beach reads that are meant to sweep me off my feet and keep me up all night like this here Shadowland. Ungh.We don't need a drag-ass setup of 150 pages that leads to a zip-zip-zoom along a badly-paced, potential-oozing, completely nonsensical good v. evil plot, one of the most obvious and overblown I've read in a damn long time, which is a bummer, because I understand what Straub was half-heartedly going for here, a sort of riff off of John Barth's riff of of Joseph Campbell's riff off of Carl Jung, ancient mythology and human nature--just...you know, as mainstream 'horror'--and I like that dream; just a shame he couldn't reach it.60%[740]
  • (5/5)
    This book is all over the map but after a second listening I enjoyed it much more.
  • (5/5)
    Shadowland was one of the first horror books I read growing up (I think I may have been twelve at the time that I read it). Along with some of the early works of Stephen King, it was one of the big reasons I became addicted to the genre and later became a writer. Shadowland is a richly written, complex books that I quickly became engrossed in. Shadowland follows two friends Del and Tom in boarding school. Both boys are into magic and dabble at it while they are in school. After the school year is over, they spend the summer at Del's uncle's house. Uncle Collins is a crazed, retired magician who gives the boy's a tutorial in real magic. As the book evolves, it starts to become clear that Uncle Collins isn't all in the up and up, something that Tom begins to pick up on. He comes to the conclusion that if he and Del are to survive the summer at Shadowland, they are going to have to escape. The only problem is that Uncle Collins has taken a keen interest in Tom and isn't about to let him go.Shadowland is one of those books that perfectly fits the description of "hard to put down". Straub does a brilliant job of making the characters come alive. I've read many of Peter Straub's novels and this is my favorite. He did an excellent job of weaving in sub-plots and creating a story world that was both highly entertaining and very rewarding to read through. A definite horror classic, I would strongly advise to pick up a copy if you haven't already read this one.Carl Alves - author of Two For Eternity
  • (5/5)
    Read as a teen, this book was horrifying and had many layers to the story. I was glad to see that when reading it as an adult, the story held up. The story begins at a fancy prep school. Del and Tom become friends quickly because they are both fascinated with magic. There are all kinds of things going on at the school - the students are having nightmares and other odd things are happening. Once school is over for the year, Tom accepts an invitation from Del to spend the summer holiday at Del's Uncle Collins' estate.It turns out that Uncle Collins is a retired magician and plans on teaching them a lot over the holiday. Some of it is fun and some of it is terrifying. The problem is deciding which is real and which is not. Uncle Collins is also an alcoholic and half-crazy.Some of the scenes are still disturbing to me, but nothing that shouldn't be read. There is a crucifixion scene that is very realistic and disturbing, but without it the book wouldn't be the same.This is a great book as an introduction to what Peter Straub does. He is right up there with Stephen King - just as scary, using everyday objects and people, for the most part. Excellent Spring Break or Summer Break reading!!
  • (1/5)
    wow this book was so hard to follow and the charcters were crap! seriously i don;t even know how i finished this! its really bad.
  • (1/5)
    Shadowland is a horror novel by Peter Straub.[Just to be perfectly clear: I did not finish this book. So this is not going to be a review, just a summary of the impressions I had of about the first third of the book and why I did not finish it.]Plot:Tom Flanagan and Del Nightingale become friends when they go to boarding school together. One summer, Del invites Tom to his uncle’s house. This uncle, Coleman, is a magician and promises to teach Del and Tom the trade. But it seems that Coleman is not only an illusionist but practices actual sorcery.Shadowland starts out as a normal boarding school story, if rather dark and with a lot of foreshadowing. This is not generally something bad but as the book is touted as a horror novel, I expect differently. And when I choose a horror novel to read, I want differently. Now, I read a good third of the book (maybe closer to half of it) and the book just didn’t pick up pace.It’s not badly written but it just wasn’t what I wanted to read. And it didn’t deliver what it promised, or at least not quickly enough. I kept going for as long as I did because I actually quite liked the writing style, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to keep me interested.
  • (4/5)
    Spoilers abound. You have been warned.My memories of this book are very strong – stronger perhaps than the actual book is to me now that I’ve read it again. Not that it has no impact for me today, but that my mind is matured and I am more jaded than before. Oh how I wish for the brain of my late-teens sometimes. I remember this book as being dark, brutal and deeply layered with different realities. I remember thinking that my brain almost hurt with having to keep the different realities straight in my head. Which was real, which was dream, which was hallucination? As a 32-year old reading this book, those things are clearer to me. This time I didn't try to take each incident or feat that the boys performed and fit it into the course schedule that Uncle Cole set for them.Also clearer to me is the Magician’s motive in wanting Tom and Del at Shadowland. Dr. Charles Nightingale goes to WWI as himself and comes back as Coleman Collins, a magician of awesome ability with the name of a long-dead (and black) stage magician. Collins has no intentions of going on the stage, but somehow does and invents evil characters through which to perform. Herbie Butter never struck me as a funny or amusing role (mostly because Herbie is almost a clown and I hate clowns). Herbie is a mechanical magician who did physically impossible things. The Collector was much more straightforward. He was a receptacle for people who got in Collins’ way. Eventually, Skeleton Ridpath ended up there and could continue to terrorize Del and Tom.Also terrorizing Tom and Del are The Wandering Boys. Troll-like thugs who used to perform with a rival magician on the same tours that Collins and Speckle John were part of. I am still not sure if these guys (all with weird names like Root, Thorn and Seed) were the original guys, or newly hired thugs a la the Dread Pirate Roberts. They live out by the lake which is part of the Shadowland estate and enjoy badger baiting which not only kills the badger but also the dogs. They end up helping Collins crucify Tom. One or two of them hesitate, but don’t interfere in Collins’ plan and willingly go on to beat the crap out of Del when the Magician tells them to.The crucifixion scene was more vivid to me in memory than in the present. I think my young and inexperienced mind was more receptive (shocked, sympathetic to?) to human brutality than it is now in my media-hardened adulthood. It generally comes as a shock to a first time reader of Shadowland. I’ve never before or since read a crucifixion scene (except for the Bible).I liked the private school theme also. It wasn’t a boarding school for Tom or Del but it had that same kind of intimacy. Masters and Prefects who were petty tyrants and under-classmen that were forced to wear beanies and to endure other humiliations. Learning the school song and facts under threat of punishment. Secret friendships, rivalries, passageways and legends. A world I’ll never know.Skeleton Ridpath seemed more evil to me when I was younger. The 32-year old me sees him now as a pathetic kid who became twisted and dangerous after his mother died and his father’s only contribution to his upbringing was to humiliate and degrade him. His evil consumed him so much that he was the perfect instrument. Not just for the Collector, but for Del who wanted him gone from the school so much that he controlled him into stealing a valuable object from a rival school while they were all there for a football game.Collins seems more evil to me now than when I was younger. He wanted to take the power from Del when he thought Del could be his successor, just as he took his mentor Speckle John’s power from him when he found he surpassed his teacher.In time he became aware of Tom and knew that this boy could possibly take his place as the King of the Cats. To prevent that, he brought him to Shadowland. There he created a world expressly to make Tom rebel. When he did, Collins found justification to kill him. But, he didn’t count on Tom’s ability to make even his untried talent work for him. Collins was forced into the Collector and then the mechanism from which it sprang to life, destroyed. A neat trick.Del dies in the personification of the sparrow that his Uncle Cole forced him to. Rose Armstrong returns to the watery world that she belongs to, free from the pain of razor blades and nails when she walked (a mermaid in a lake?). Tom ends up a two-bit stage magician forcing himself to play in dives and live hand to mouth. He gave up the Owl chair forever it seems. And Skeleton – once freed from The Collector, goes back to school and then on to theological college and then to a monastery.
  • (4/5)
    Shadowland is divided into three parts. The first part is set in a third-rate private school where Tom Flanagan meets Del Nightingale and gets exposed to magic. Tom & his classmates are harassed by Skeleton Ridpath, the coach's son. The second part is set in Shadowland (Del's uncle's-Coleman Collins-mansion) where the boys are the magician's apprentices for the summer. Trouble ensues. The third part is still within the house but is in the space between reality & Collins' illusions. It is the battle between magicians.I found this book quite interesting. The plot kept me coming back for more. The ending was gripping.Definitely a must read.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of my favorite of Peter Straub's novels. It's a creepy take on the idea of the Sorcerer's Apprentice -- only in this case, the sorcerer may be more dangerous than anything his apprentice can cook up. There are loads of references to fairy tales here, which are fun to try to place, and I love the way that Straub makes it difficult to figure out what's real magic and what's just slight of hand.