Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.
Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?
Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.
I love it when I am surprisingly blown away by a book! Not that I wasn't expecting to like this one. I first heard about it on Twitter, and the author heard my interest and graciously offered to send me one of his personal ARCs for review.
I had been intrigued when I first heard about it because it's a middle grade fantasy and I immediately thought of Percy Jackson and how much I love those books. The author of those, Rick Riordan, in fact offered a fantastic review of this book:
I flew through the majority of this book in a few hours. Right from the start, we are immediately put into the action, and it doesn't let up until the very last page. In fact, it just keeps getting more intense. And, oh, the plot twists! There were lots of clues left for the discerning reader, but I am one of those who never sees anything coming. I almost think it's more fun that way because then I'm like, "Oh my gosh!! No way!!" A lot of people aren't who they seem and you don't know whether to believe they did the things they've been accused of or not. But our hero, Thorn, never fails to see the good in people and that gives the story such heart. He's a peasant, yes, but his actions are those of a hero.
Lily, Lady Shadow, grew tremendously throughout the novel. Towards the beginning it was a lot of whining and petulance, but by the end she is making big decisions well, with wisdom as well as heart. These two characters, Lily and Thorn, seemed a little old for 13 years old, but I suppose both of their life circumstances made them have to grow up fast. It also should be noted that our story takes place in Gehenna and is filled with dark creepy things like zombies and necromancers. They wear all black and it's cold and dreary all the time. But it's Lily's home and she loves it. She had a great line something like [I'm paraphrasing], "Most people just see the dark gargoyle statues, but I see where I played when I was little. Most people just see the dark halls, but I see ..." etc etc. Not to mention, Lily isn't at all a dark and evil human being: she has deep feelings and emotions and takes her responsibility as Lady Shadow seriously.
Shadow Magic did a great job of explaining and introducing the world without it ever feeling like an information dump. We were never bogged down while reading about the canon and the rules of this fantasy world. Six brother Princes founded six houses of magic. Each specialized in one of the 4 elements, and then light and dark rounded them out.
I think this is a standalone, but it would be fun to see 5 more books -- each out taking place within each of the other houses. Josh, you in?? I'll definitely read those!
Shadow Magic comes out April 12th and I definitely recommend it for those who love a light and fun action-packed fantasy novel. (Yes, I did just call a book about a place called Gehenna "light" and "fun." Lol. See you're intrigued, right?!)
Giveaway: Win an ARC of Shadow Magic
Not long after Josh sent me a copy of Shadow Magic, I received another one from Disney. So this one I'll give away! U.S. only (I'm sorry), and it will end on the day the book comes out, April 12. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway