Audiobook Review: Inheritance of Shadows (Lost in Time #0.7) by A.L. Lester

It’s 1919. Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it's connected to the mysterious books his brother left strewn around the house.

Rob knows something other than just Arthur’s death is bothering Matty. He’s know him for years and been in love with him just as long. And when he finds something that looks like a gate, a glowing, terrifying doorway to the unknown, it all starts to fall in to place.

Matty’s looking sicker and sicker in the same way Arthur did. What is Rob prepared to sacrifice to save him?

The answer is in the esoteric books…and with the mysterious Lin of the Frem, who lives beyond the gate to nowhere. It’s taken Matty and Rob more than a decade to admit they have feelings for each other and they are determined that neither social expectations or magical illness will part them now.

Listening Length: 3 hours and 20 minutes
Narrator: Callum Hale

Reviewer: Annery

Audio bliss!

Happy New Year to me! I’ve been on audiobook roll and this one by Callum Hale will certainly be on the winning list.

This is billed as a prequel to A. L. Lester’s LOST IN TIME series and perhaps it is but it can certainly be read as a satisfying novella all on its own. I’d seen this floating around GR and even picked it up a while ago but hadn’t dived in because I’m not a huge paranormal reader. The AB was the push I needed and I’m happy I listened.

Matthew Webber has come back from what was then known as The Great War aka WWI. He’s hoping to return to some sense of normalcy after existing in the trenches of mud and death. It’s not to be. Not right away. Matty comes home to the reality that his older, bookish brother Arthur is wasting away in body and mind. The illness is mysterious and irrevocable. Luckily Rob, a longtime farmhand at the Webber farm, is also back from the war and willing to help shoulder the burden. Of course it helps that Matty and Rob were childhood friends, bosom buddies, and each had yearned for something more even if they hadn’t verbalized it even to themselves. The immediacy of war and death have changed all that.

This novella is 3:20:00 running time, under 100 pages, so I won’t make the review longer than the book. I’ll just list the things I liked (a lot) and the niggles (few).

If you missed it at the top I’ll repeat it: Callum Hale does an excellent job with the audio. He imbues each character with their own individual personalities and proper emotionality. What do I mean by this? The characters are distinctly English (of the time) in the sense that they’re not given to dramatics even in extremis, they keep a level head, sometimes a stiff upper lip, nothing is overly talked about, and a good cup of tea soothes almost anything. Can’t say I disagree. Matty & Rob acknowledge and accept their attraction with minimum fuss. The other things that are going on, the consequences of Arthur’s meddling with magic? They deal with them too, as best they can, with no one doing the equivalent of walking down into a darkened basement at night without a flashlight. They’re proper, sensible, Englishmen. The spirit of Leslie Howard was present. The physical relationship is portrayed in the same spirit without going overboard or the characters being replaced by XXIst century clones. It is nonetheless lovely and romantic.

The niggles or what didn’t work for me was the paranormal aspect. I know this is intended as a foundational or prequel to future installments set in this world but I didn’t see the purpose. IMO it didn’t really contribute anything to the characters or their lives save for the ‘knowledge’ of a coexisting world. I couldn’t grasp any practical purpose of possessing kias and the way the story ends it doesn’t seem like it matters. I would’ve also liked a deeper look at the generation who came back from this terrible war, one that was certainly a seachange in warfare, and ushered in a world that was light-years away from the one before.

Happily you can pretty much ignore the niggles and enjoy a very good AB novella about two people embracing joy, using it as a counterweight to the horrors revealed by war.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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