“Fade to Black” is a story that uniquely blends both science fiction and fantasy genres while taking place in modern time on Earth. Sue Duff does a very good job of blending these two genres, however I would have preferred a bit more magic used throughout the book. I thought Christopher J Mayer did an exceptional job of narrating the audiobook edition. If you are a person who likes unusual stories with a solid amount of action, mystery and a touch of humor, I would recommend you pick up this book. What could go wrong when you have fireballs, portals, and other mysterious or disastrous events happening? You will have to read the book to find out.
The story follows two main characters, the first is Ian Black who is an illusionist with multiple secrets which are revealed as the book progresses. Rayne Bevan is a girl with a knack for uncovering people’s secrets. The two clash as the story unravels requiring both of them to not only save themselves in the process; but the world. I have to say that I really enjoyed the selfless nature of Ian as nearly all of his actions were to help or better others. He kind of took on a super hero in disguise persona. There are a number of secondary characters in the book that are enjoyable and added an aspect of depth to the overall story.
I will say at times I felt very lost and somewhat confused by what was going on in the story because the author drops the reader right into a chaotic world with no background knowledge. It did take a while to begin to feel comfortable knowing where the story was going, and at times the author would throw in an additional curveball when you felt you knew the direction the it was heading. I liked that the story was told using different points of view from the many character’s perspectives, but at times this style complicated things for me. Because of this, I would say that book does take some time to adjust and begin to feel comfortable, however it is worth the investment.
The book contains rather short chapters, and this made it easier to consume in smaller chunks of time. Chapter breaks were also often where the author switched the story’s point of view from one character to another. Once you understood this, it was easier for me to follow the book and expect a change. I enjoyed the complexity of all the characters and the descriptive writing of the author. I did not think things were overly described nor did I ever feel I did not understand a scene. For me, this was just how I like books to be. The book does contain some strong use of language that is unnecessary and may not be appropriate for young readers. Had the author left these would out, I believe the book would have been more accessible to all age of readers.
Christopher Mayer did an exceptional job of narrating the book. The many characters were often clearly distinguishable and often well voiced. I did not like as much the female voices as they seemed a bit higher than I would like and more difficult for a male to accomplish. The audio itself was professionally done and I did not observe any artifacts (pops, clicks, swallows, etc.) while listening to the book. Although the narrator only has five total books posted on Amazon (at the time of this review), the quality was better than I have heard with more seasoned narrators. Christopher did a good job with action scenes and the use of inflection during his reading.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.