Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

I received a free eARC of this book from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Source: Netgalley
Pages: unknown

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. 

My Thoughts:

Thorn is a slave when Tyburn, the executioner, buys him and takes him to Castle Gloom to serve House Shadow. Lily Shadow, the only remaining member of her royal family besides her drunkard Uncle Pandemonium, is being forced to marry the son of Duke Solar of the Lumiens to save Gehenna. Lily quickly befriends Thorn as well as K'leef, Duke Solar's pampered prisoner from the Sultanate who just happens to have a little fire magic. When Lily is nearly poisoned they set out to find the culprit and when a scarred man starts raising the dead they find out that there is more going on in Gehenna than any of the thought possible. 

I really enjoyed this story. The strong usage of 'light' and 'dark' to describe the characters and divide the lands in this story was really interesting. It was new (to me, at least) to have a divide between 'light' and 'dark' and have the 'dark side' be the good guys or main characters. 

The dark side, or House Shadow, is a gloomy, shadow filled place full of bats, candlelight, and characters clothed in black. The magic in this land veers toward the creepy. When magic was at it's peak in past times, necromancy was very popular and cemeteries were lavishly built to house the undead. Zombies, ghosts, giant bats. I have a fondness for the dark side and therefore found all this to be very fun to read. 

The Solars from Lumien, on the other hand, are power hungry while looking quite the opposite in their bright white garb.
There's also the Sultanate, with the magic of fire, but we really don't get a lot of details or story on these. 

The characters are likable and it's easy to sympathize with them. The main characters, Lily and Thorn, both have their own attributes and flaws and their quick friendship is something to root for. While Lily Shadow lives in a dark and gloomy world, her character is bright and caring. It's easy to root for this strong willed and defiant girl in a world where it is taboo for a female to practice magic and while her uncle tries his hardest to keep her quiet and docile as he attempts to marry her off. 

A quick, delightful, and adventurous read, this is sure to be loved by young readers and adults alike. 

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