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Summary

In Gelia City, magic is music: a constant ever-changing melody known as the strains. Hereditary ability to use the strains divides the city into two classes: the wealthy Highmost, who can access the full potential of the strains, and the common tradesmen, who are limited to mundane spells, known as beggar magic. With the help of the strains, common teen Leilani rescues and befriends a gifted Highmost girl, Zebedy. The girls' friendship opens Leilani's eyes to the world of the Highmost. She's intrigued by Zeb's close relationship with the strains, and longs to know them as she does. Zeb, in turn, comes to depend on Leilani's strength and intelligence, making them an inseparable team, ready to take on anything with the strains at their back. As their unlikely friendship strengthens and endures, Zeb draws Leilani further into the Highmosts' intrigues. Beneath the polished, academic facade of the Highmost manors lurks a threat to the strains. An unknown force consumes their music, leaving only heart-rending silence behind. Leilani and Zeb will do anything to save their beloved strains, but as the silence grows, they face danger their previously sheltered lives could never prepare them for. Whoever is behind the death of the strains is willing to kill to keep their secret safe. To preserve the strains, the girls may have to sacrifice their friendship, or even their lives.

©2014 H. L. Burke (P)2016 H. L. Burke

What listeners say about Beggar Magic

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Profile Image for Cathrine  Bonham
  • Cathrine Bonham
  • 29-01-21

A wonderfully original fantasy.

You don't see to many Deaf characters in fantasy fiction. And while it's true that the main character Lanie, isn't deaf, she sure feels like it sometimes. Being common means that she can't hear the strains speak to her. The living magic only sounds like music to her. But her best friend Zeb is high most and she can carry on regular conversations with the strains.

Throughout the story this dynamic leads to several class based issues, the majority of which are Lalanie's opinions and witness being dismissed because she isn't high most.

The strains are a very unique magic system that really perks my imagination. The main characters are well developed and engaging. Throughout the story runs a mystery that keeps you guessing right to the end.

Most of all though I loved the way Sheri Sheridan brings the book to life. She does something really neat, rather than just change her voice for each character, she alters her speech patterns. Zeb has the fast paced excited voice she deserves and Lanlanie is the thoughtful, measured speaker.

All told, this audiobook was an enjoyable listening experience and would recommend further books from both this author and this narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for CuteAsADaisy
  • CuteAsADaisy
  • 24-01-21

Clean fun read

The narrator had ok differentiations, without the different voices the reading would be monotone. The emotion put into some of the reading was enjoyable.

Cute, fun mystery filled with friendship and lessons in understanding those who are different from us. The story itself is fairly fast paced and made this book a breeze to listen to and enjoy.

Parents: this is an incredibly clean adventure and is appropriate for anyone with a desire to read it. There is mention of blood and murder just as a heads up.

If you’re curious/on the fence I would wholeheartedly recommend picking up this fun tale!

—I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Profile Image for I love books!
  • I love books!
  • 04-06-20

A fascinating twist on magic

Beggar Magic is not what I expected. Part of it made me think Regency Romance, part of it put me in mind of Steam Punk. Maybe neither is the correct analogy, but this story is an interesting mix that is surprisingly successful. Our two heroines make unlikely best friends, and the final plot twist for the heroes of the story was a great touch. I didn't see it coming! Although there is a reference to a long-past parental affair, this is a clean young adult story, suitable for ages 12 and up.

The audio narration was a little less than stellar. I found the reader had a tendency toward a using a flat ending. The performance would have five stars if she had used a little more variety in her inflections.

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Profile Image for sci teacher
  • sci teacher
  • 04-04-17

Unique Take on Magic

Summary: Leilani and Zebedy overcome the cast differences to become fast friends and become embroiled in a mystery that

Additional Comments:
What I didn’t like:
- The narration was okay overall, but Zeb’s voice in particular sounded like a perpetually whiny 10-yr-old child.
- Repeated use of “strains” as an expression. (“strains this” and “oh strains that” … at one pt I believe there was even an “oh, strains, the Strains can be…” expression)
- There were a few plot points that didn’t seem to add much yet detracted from “kid appeal.” Generally, the story’s suitable for middle grade.
- The characters whine, a lot.

Neutral:
- The book had a little trouble picking a mood. It started as a “girls from opposite worlds come together as friends tale” then morphed into a “Nancy Drew-like mystery” then turned into a teen romance and finally wrapped up as a feel-good “let’s fix our broken world” story.
- Title’s unique but doesn’t really capture the story.

What I liked:
- Brick. (Can’t say much more without spoilers.)
- The tiffs that happen between the friends are well done.
- The world-building was unique. The idea of magic being music is very interesting. I don’t think that aspect was as developed as it could be because one of the main characters was somebody who had trouble accessing it.
- The ending contained a few neat twists. Some of them were a little too “convenient” but as a whole, the last hour was highly satisfying.
- The characters are likeable.
- The writing is high quality.

Conclusion: It’s definitely a worthwhile read.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-10-16

Imaginative world with a great story

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really admired Leilani, because she was so down to earth, especially compared to her friend Zebedy. She never settled for anything she didn't want, and she never let anyone walk over her in the slightest (a trait she tries to imbue in Zebedy).

What does Sheri Sheridan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought the narrator's voice was fairly unique, and she had a strong grasp on the individual characters' voices. Zebedy in particular stood out--the breathy, words-tumbling-out-of-her-mouth sentences, and, of course, the snark.

Any additional comments?

The story itself is really well written (and told). Even before the main conflict arises, I was drawn in to the unique setting--the type of magic they use is a completely new idea to me.

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Profile Image for Kandi J Wyatt
  • Kandi J Wyatt
  • 09-08-22

Recommended to me by my son

"Mom, have you read H. L. Burke? You HAVE to!" were the words my 16 year old said. So I took him at his word and listened to Beggar Magic. He wasn't wrong. Unique ideas, tense plot (especially at the end), and wonderful characters that you love. These are what typifies H. L.'s work and Beggar Magic is no exception. I love the friendships and the self-sacrificing of these characters. Good to read again and again.

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Profile Image for North Wind Knight
  • North Wind Knight
  • 31-05-19

I'M BEGGING YOU, USE YOUR MAGIC AND WRITE MORE

A GREAT STORY I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. WELL WRITTEN ACCEPTABLE FOR CHILDREN AND PEOPLE OF ALL AGES. A DRAMA WITH ADVENTURE, MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE . WITH GREAT INSIGHT INTO CASTE AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY. AUTHORS INSIGHT AND FUN-LOVING WIT IS THROUGHOUT.
NARRATOR WAS GREAT AND EASY TO FOLLOW

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Profile Image for 🐺 SCARLET PIMPERNEL 🐺
  • 🐺 SCARLET PIMPERNEL 🐺
  • 29-05-19

Beggar Magic

Another wonderful listen with adventure and magic!
I look forward to more from this author!
Great Story

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 23-05-18

A great friendship tale with adventure and magic

I listened to this story with my seven and eight year old daughters, they loved it! I found the narators style really annoying, to the point I would have stopped listening if the story wasn't so good. her voice just sounded... bored. I don't know how else to describe it. Yet the story overcame this by being so excellent, hence the five stars.
The characters were real, likable, and we cared about the outcome. the ending was well done.

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Profile Image for Laurie
  • Laurie
  • 23-01-17

Fascinating premise and world-building

Beggar Magic was unlike any book I've ever read. It started out a little slow as Leilani and Zeb met and got to know each other, but right from the start I was fascinated by the idea of the Strains and the social classes in the world Burke created. Once the mystery of the disappearing Strains entered the picture, I was completely drawn in. The authentic, sometimes sweet, sometimes tense, friendship between Leilani and Zeb was one of the highlights of this book for me. I also enjoyed the development of their respective love interests :) The narrator's style fell a little flat for me at times, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. I would highly recommend this story for fans of fantasy with unique world-building.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this audiobook.*