Book Title: Shadow Magic
Author: Joshua Khan
Number of Pages: 321
Date: 22 April – 28 April 2016
Rating: 4.1 Stars
It’s time to stop playing by the rules.
So, basically, when I got the delivery, the only thing that mattered anymore was that the book’s pages were kind of uneven in their breadth, giving the book an old look, a used spell book look.
Buying this book didn’t even need a second thought. I read the blurb, I bought the book. No consideration whether it was wise, or I had enough money this month, I just had to have it. There was something about the description of Thorn running away (Why?) and of a girl becoming ruler of a people (How?), of magic and of breaking the rules (Always good!), and of course the slave and the lady forming a (Romantic, please?!) friendship and have an adventure. Yes, I had to have this book, and I had to start reading it as soon as it was delivered.
Even though I felt that the beginning was a bit slow, sometimes it clumsily appeared gave more explanation than was appropriate/needed in the current scene and situation. Overall, the book had a wonderful pace. The writing style was age group appropriate, for me personally a bit too easy and repetitive. There were some aspect, however, of the plot development, as well as the oh so wonderful illustrations, that made me think that the leading characters should be a little older than the given 12 for Thorn and 13 for Lilith. They were characters, by the way, that were quite well-developed. I would have liked to spend more time with them and get to know them better. I had the best (and scariest) time reading this book.
For this book, I made quite a few notes on names – not counting here the note that there was a character named Annie, who appeared for all but one second – especially by looking at Rick Riordan’s name on the cover of the book. If there’s one thing I can say, is that this book borrowed heavily from other works and mythology but did, for the most part, ever so excellently in placing these names. There is, of course, Lilith Hecate Shadow of a magic family living in dark and scary lands. She has a brother called Dante, who died. Her uncle is called Pandemonium, short Pan. A giant bat by the name of Hades makes an appearance. There’s a Baal whom even those in hell feared, and on the other hand a Gabriel with fiery, angelic looks. And Faustus, the alchemist. Brilliant!
“You have responsibilities.”
“Really? I thought all I had to do was sit still, look pretty, and keep my mouth shut,” said Lily. “My responsibilities are stupid.”
Even though Thorn was mentioned first in blurb and book, I think that the Lady Lilith Shadow was the true heroine of the book, with Thorn (and K’leef) just being aiding characters. And even though Lilith wasn’t quite allowed to be her true self towards the end, I have the highest hopes that she will grow over her castle walls and rule just as well as any man would towards the end of the sequel/series. She was an excellent leading character, both in deeds and development. She has/had to overcome an old-fashioned society where girls are mere and overly-emotional objects.
Women could not practice magic. The law was ancient and the penalty was simple: death.
“Lady Shadow, I am honored to meet you. I look forward to being your lord and master.” [Gabriel] coughed discretely into a white silk handkerchief. “I mean… your husband.”
“I need to learn magic, and you, K’leef, are going to show me.”
Thorn spluttered. “Are you insane?”
Lily poked him in the chest. “It was you who told me to start breaking the rules!”
“Yeah, break the rules, not upset the natural order of the world!”
[Thorn and K’leef] scowled. They frowned and crossed their arms and kicked the dust, but she had them.
“Stories told by men. That doesn’t make them true, Uncle.”
I had the best of times trying to figure out who the good guys and who the bad guys were, especially since there is such a grey line between whether the Shadow family, with their necromancing powers, should count as good or bad in the first place. But this book contained so many wonderful characters, all of which did something misleading, or misread a situation, or were too logical or emphatic, that you just never knew who to trust and not. It was wonderful, and surprising, and suspenseful. Plus, even apart from the characters, there were some unexpected twists that made the story even more interesting.
There is one thing in this book, however, that utterly confused me. On the one hand, it was clearly for children, having a very easy narration style, and more mentioned than actual threats. (Away from thinking of this as a children’s book, I found that too many things were mentioned but never actually appeared. And it was never confirmed whether they were rumours or really things of this very strange but excellently developed world.) On the other hand, however, this story was so creepy and scary that I would have gotten nightmares had I read it as a child. And sometimes it was a bit too forward about its romantic parts, I felt.
Even though I had trouble getting there, doubting his words, towards the end I have to almost entirely agree with Mr. Rick Riordan who defied me not to love this book. It was well-rounded, even took the time to explain a few things towards the end (I miss that in many books), making the entire reading experience surprising, promising, satisfying. A really nice, easy, quick and fantastic read.
Idea: 5 Stars
Plot Development: 4 Stars
Pace: 4 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Quality of Writing: 3 Stars
Ease of Reading: 4 Stars
Insightfulness: 4 Stars
Cover/Photos/Illustrations: 5 Stars
Enjoyability/Personal Rating: 4 Stars
General Rating: 4 Stars