The Middling Affliction: The Conradverse Chronicles Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Guard Brooklyn, fight monsters, taunt bad guys.
"Shvartsman delivers real magic action and surprise twists.... You're going to want more." (Esther M. Fiesner, Nebula award-winning author of the national best seller Warchild)
What would you do if you lost everything that mattered to you, as well as all means to protect yourself and others, but still had to save the day? Conrad Brent is about to find out.
Conrad Brent protects the people of Brooklyn from monsters and magical threats. The snarky, wisecracking guardian also has a dangerous secret: He’s one in a million—literally.
Magical ability comes to about one in every 30,000 and can manifest at any age. Conrad is rarer than this, however. He’s a middling, one of the half-gifted and totally despised. Most of the gifted community feels that middlings should be instantly killed. The few who don’t flat out hate them still aren’t excited to be around middlings. Meaning Conrad can’t tell anyone, not even his best friends, what he really is.
Conrad hides in plain sight by being a part of the volunteer Watch, those magically gifted who protect their cities from dangerous, arcane threats. And, to pay the bills, Conrad moonlights as a private detective and monster hunter for the gifted community. Which helps him keep up his personal fiction—that he’s a magical version of Batman. Conrad does both jobs thanks to charms, artifacts, and his wits, along with copious amounts of coffee. But little does he know that events are about to change his life…forever.
When Conrad discovers the Traveling Fair auction house has another middling who’s just manifested her so-called powers on the auction block, he’s determined to save her, regardless of risk. But what he finds out while doing so is even worse—the winning bidder works for a company that’s just created the most dangerous chemical weapon to ever hit the magical community.
Before Conrad can convince anyone at the Watch of the danger, he’s exposed for what he really is. Now, stripped of rank, magical objects, friends and allies, Conrad has to try to save the world with only his wits. Thankfully though, no one’s taken away his coffee.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 57 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 31, 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #246,855 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#412 in Humorous Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,550 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,899 in Humorous Fantasy (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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The main character is snarky but fun and at times he feels a bit like Constantine he never really reaches that same level of being an a-hole. Following his story from the very first page is effortless and fun. The book has a decent pace that doesn't slow down and even visits some other locals around the world which just makes the entire setting feel more real. Overall the adventure feels like a cross between an episode of Constantine (Arrowverse Edition) and The Librarians on a Thursday Night. If someone adapted this to a TV Show or Streaming series I'd be 100% with it.
The book had plenty of action scenes, tho they did get a bit muddled and I had to reread the page a few times that might be my own fault for reading ahead of my own brain and not the author. The side characters were fun and colorful and my only real complaint is that we don't nearly see enough of them given they all appear on the cover.
The cover of the book teases that it's the first in a series and I look forward to the next book, and hopefully some spinoffs too!
Final bonus, as a New Yorker it's really fun when the writer drops us into or mentions specific locations I recognize like an episode of Law and Order and all the pop culture references make it feel like It's me in the book with the hero.
If you like Fantasy Adventure set in Modern Day settings I strongly recommend you give this a read. If you're as a voracious a reader as I am you'll be done in a day and waiting for the next book.
This premise alone, reminiscent of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, would be enough to power an enjoyable novel, but Shvartsman takes it ten steps further. Despite being the first in a series, the book is packed with revelation after revelation, uncovering secret conspiracies, gods, dragons, and dangerous magical technologies. Forced to leave New York, Conrad portals across the world, where he finds out what it really means to be a middling and faces greater dangers and difficult choices. When he finally returns, he finds out which of his former friends are still willing to stand with him against a threat that could unravel their whole way of life.
The Middling Affliction brilliantly walks the line between humor and serious themes. Conrad faces true dangers, to himself and those he loves. He encounters prejudice and betrayals and hard moral choices. He comes to the edge of himself and must choose between what he’s always wanted and sacrificing himself for another’s good. Despite this, the book remains lighthearted throughout and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Conrad’s inner voice is sarcastic and engaging even while facing the prospect of violent death, and the quick banter and over-the-top magical monsters keep the tone light.
Few books strike that balance so well, delivering laughter and smiles inside a story that feels like it matters. For this, and for its engaging characters and inventive plotline, The Middling Affliction belongs on the shelf with John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education. Readers looking for an entertaining read that will stick with them afterward will not be disappointed.
Top reviews from other countries
I always love some good snark, but the fact that the main protagonist’s snark is a defensive mechanism for his imperfections is, itself, perfect and really resonated with me.
Give this book a go; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!