Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
Series: Shadow Magic #1
Genre: Middle Grade | Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Published on 6th October 2016 by Scholastic
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Joshua Khan: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Received from Scholastic via Faye Rogers
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.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that’s middle grade and at first this provided a few issues for me simply because I kept forgetting the main characters were only 12 / 13 and that meant the way they were acting – childish, not thinking things through, etc – were completely fitting for them.
However once I got past this and firmly remembered that yes these are just children that I’m reading about it was a much better story.
Shadow Magic follows Thorn – a slave who’s not supposed to be a slave – and Lily – who’s not supposed to be the ruler of Gehenna. This is a story that shouldn’t of happened but did, and I’m glad it did even though that means a few unhappy things had to happen for it to take place.
But no great story is without its down moments – death in particular which really surprised me at times – and these children make the best of them.
Thorn quickly finds himself as the squire to the famed executioner of Gehanna where he befriends Lily and K’leef and the three of them kind of try to find out who’s been trying to assassinate Lily. I say kind of because at the end of the day they are kids so it doesn’t always go as smoothly as they’d have hoped but its a great story and watching them piece it all together is one great journey.
My favourite character, which isn’t a spoiler because they’re right there on the cover, is Hades. Hades is a giant bat, like humongous. He’s great and his friendship with Thorn is super cute. Custard, a black puppy, stole my heart a little too.
Ultimately what really impressed me about this book was how good and evil isn’t always as clear as day and night. Just because Lily is from a long line of necromancers who use shadow magic doesn’t mean her whole family is inherently evil and I think this is a really good thing for the MG readers to learn. I think I really look forward to seeing how she grows as a character even more in the series, well all the characters really, none of them are flat and boring and they all bring something unique to the story which is why I enjoyed it so much.
To conclude nicely; I loved how this story progressed, how it handled death, the different types of magic and Kings, and the characters and their interactions with each other. Its all told really well and I look forward to continuing to follow the authors work.
I look forward to reading more of this series!