#1 in the Shadow Magic series
Released: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Received: ARC from publisher
Rated: 4 out of 5 stars
This book is awesome! Unfortunately, that cover is so not awesome, so I'm a little worried Shadow Magic will get overlooked and that would be awful (also, sad because the illustrations inside are SO much better than the cover).
So, quick and dirty list of why Shadow Magic is great and should go on every TBR:
The world building is surprisingly developed. Each kingdom has a different legacy, magic, history, and culture. Mostly we get to focus on Gehenna, which is basically the kingdom of the dead (think zombies, ghosts, and other creepy dark things), but we also get to see glimpses of the kingdoms of Light, Fire, and erm, foresty stuff. I cannot wait to delve deeper into this world in the next book!
The characters are sleepover party material. Except Gabriel (the obnoxious prince of Light, set to wed main character Lily), because Gabriel was terrible. Until the end, when I even started to feel bad for him. But, the other characters? The best.
Lily is the new ruler of Gehenna since her parents and brother were just assassinated and the killer is still on the loose. She's understandably nervous about ruling, especially since she's a kid and her kingdom is falling apart around her, she's not allowed to do magic, and her uncle is trying to set up an arranged marriage with the kingdom of Light, their arch nemesis. Lily faces it all with spunk and determination.
It also helps that she has a trio of support and every one of these guys is awesome in his own right. Thorn especially. He's the guy riding the giant bat on the cover. Yeah. He's also the sarcastic down-on-his-luck type I can't help but liking. The other two? Well, you'll have to read the book, but one is a prince from the fire kingdom and the other is an executioner. And how could I forget Mary and Rose? They're the other side of Lily's support team, and they're equally awesome.
Twisty mystery. Ok, so Lily is new to her kingdom and learning the ropes. Thorn is looking for his missing father. The prince from the fire kingdom is a hostage of the prince from the kingdom of light. There's that arranged marriage thing that Lily is trying to get out of without ruining her kingdom or starting a war. There's a rogue necromancer raising the dead. Forbidden magic lessons. A murdered royal family and the assassin on the run. Multiple attempts on Lily's life. A few murders. And a giant bat.
There's a lot going on here and it was so much fun to read and unravel the mysteries.
I can't rave about this book enough! The end wraps up pretty well and there isn't a horrible cliffhanger or anything like that. You just know that there are more adventures in store for these characters, and I can't wait to follow them in Dream Magic.
Recommended for both boys and girls, middle grade and above.