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  • The Black Reckoning

  • Books of Beginning
  • Written by: John Stephens
  • Narrated by: Jim Dale
  • Length: 13 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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The Black Reckoning

Written by: John Stephens
Narrated by: Jim Dale
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Publisher's Summary

The final book in the best-selling Books of Beginning trilogy that began with The Emerald Atlas, which the New York Times called "a new Narnia for the tween set."

The adventures of siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma come to a stunning conclusion when they must find the last Book of Beginning - the Book of Death - before the Dire Magnus does, for when all three books are united, their combined power will be unstoppable.

Soon Emma is on a journey to places both worldly and otherworldly, confronting terrifying monsters and ghosts, and what is darkest within herself. As the fabric of time begins to fray, she becomes the final piece of an extraordinary puzzle. Only if she can master the powers of this most dangerous book will she, Kate, and Michael be able to save the world from the dramatic, deadly final confrontation between magical and ordinary people that the Dire Magnus has in store.

©2015 John Stephens (P)2015 Listening Library

What listeners say about The Black Reckoning

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Excellent

Loved every moment. Superb storytelling from begging to end. Jim Dale is brilliant. Great for all ages.

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I got it because I liked Jim dale.

It turned out to be a really good trilogy. It has a well thought out plot. My only complaint is it wasn’t longer. A couple more books and it would have really fleshed the story out. Perfect road trip story!

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Loved the story and performance.

Any book read by Jim dale is a winner in my opinion.

While I am a fan of Jim Dale, the story itself really kept me interested from start to finish.

Great easy listening story.

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  • Kenneth W Bertin
  • 2015-08-31

Didn't finish the series well

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, just to finish the trilogy, but it's not nearly as good as the first two.

If you’ve listened to books by John Stephens before, how does this one compare?

I don't think he knew how to finish the story.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Iheartjazz
  • 2016-06-04

Love is the point

I loved this trilogy so much. The scope of the stories was wide--saving the very fabric of the universe. I was caught up in the characters, who developed over time. The ending was beautiful and there were so many surprises on the way. Whilst full of magic, the story like all the best, is deeply human. If at points briefly philosophically didactic, it's entirely forgivable because the pace of the plot moves quickly and much of the characters' choices depend on what they know of the universe.

Jim Dale's narration is outstanding. As far as I'm concerned, he could read recipe ingredients and I would be captivated. His narration of the children's thoughts made me laugh aloud. There is so much humor woven into the text, and a less experienced voice actor might have missed it. As it was, this was an incredible listen.

A lot of stories with this kind of scope have difficulty wrapping themselves up. I was pleasantly surprised and moved to tears by the ending of this trilogy.

It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings (in a good way), and was full of its own surprises.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Linda Gifford
  • 2017-01-17

Best series I've listened to in a long time!

I enjoy listening to YA fantasy and the Book of Beginnings Trilogy is one of the best series I've listened to in a long time. It kept my attention throughout, with a strong story line and excellent character development. As far as Jim Dale goes... what more is there to say. He is just simply the best narrator by far. The characters come alive under his expert guidance.

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  • RaeShantael
  • 2015-10-08

I expected so much more

After reading the Fire Chronicle, I was overly excited about the third and final installment. I must say, I was thoroughly disappointed in this book. I bought it in April 2015 and because the book was so slow and boring, I am just now finishing it October 2015. It was such a total let down and it ended like "so that's it..." I don't know which book is worse, this one or the final book in the Divergent Trilogy. :( Even Jim Dale's character voices changed a bit and he couldn't even make the book any more interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Katiedid
  • 2017-01-01

Amazing!

Probably my favorite book ever. If you haven't read the other books it probably wont make much sense so go read those first, both of those books are good, but I think this is the best by far.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mary Ann Woods
  • 2015-08-22

Not the ending I expected.

If you could sum up The Black Reckoning in three words, what would they be?

Predictable, uneventful, disappointing

Which character – as performed by Jim Dale – was your favorite?

All of them

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The journey ends.

Any additional comments?

I found his third book not as good as the first two. The ending was just a big disappointment to me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Blaise
  • 2022-11-07

Good conclusion to a decent series

I primarily only chose this series because of Jim Dale. I enjoyed the trilogy. It had decent pacing and not an excessive amount of self-doubt which plagues many coming of age wizard stories. Decent conclusion. Overall a light but enjoyable listen.

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  • S. Stokes
  • 2022-10-22

A great 3 book series. Captivating and enjoyable.

Jim Dale's narration (voices) create real depth and imaginary color to this wonderful story. Most highly recommended.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-03-27

Great end to the series

I thoroughly enjoyed the series. This was a wonderful end with great highs and lows. I’m a little sad there are only 3 books! I would love to follow the family longer!

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  • Bruce
  • 2021-01-03

Glad it's over

The trilogy feels like it was written as it happened rather than afterward, like a series that JKR might have written had she not spent years developing her plot. Too often the story depends on new characters providing long backstories. Some early elements in book 1 introduce tropes/motifs the presage the ending (eg Michael's ironic sharing of Dwarfish disdain of Elves; Dr. Pim crossing the lake as cold as death), but there could have been much more.

There are some psychological issues that disturb me. Some day I hope an author will say something positive about people who care for orphans. As for the children, they witness close up many deaths and in fact they actively seek vengeance killing, all without apparent emotional scars.

Whereas many fantasy stories skirt religious issues, Stephens does weave some into the story. For example, the family orphan-causing disaster is moved from Halloween (Potter) to Christmas Eve; Michael's nearly deadly betrayal of his siblings is presented as a well-intentioned mistake; just get over it and move on (cf Edmund in Narnia); God's book of life & Final Judgment is replaced by a 12 year old girl's decision that everyone is OK if they loved someone at least once. We also learn that there is no heaven/hell and that reincarnation is the way of the universe.

Michael is apparently incredible. Based on his memories as a two year old, he will decide whether or not to let his "father" be killed because of an error in long quotation. Also someone ought to research how many 12 year old boys can explicate the various meanings and nuances of "reckoning".

In book one, it is explained that the Laws of universe will necessarily override even a magical book to restore order; yet in the last book, the magical books are irrevocably destroying the balance and fabric of the universe.