by Joshua Khan
Published April 12th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Publisher: 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 Review: Welcome to the world of fantasy, magic, and necromancers. This was a wonderful story and I am already looking forward to Dream Magic, the next in the series.
In this world there are 6 kingdoms each descended from one of the original 6 princes. Unfortunately, they do not get along and there are constant wars and attempts to take over one another’s land. Gehenna, ruled by Lady Lilith Shadow has pretty much been decimated by the other kingdoms and the only way to save it is to marry Gabriel, the son of the ruler of the Kingdom of Light. He is a spoiled brat, a coward and a bully and she wants nothing to do with him but her uncle Pandemonium is pushing her to move forward to save her people and kingdom. Lilith is a reluctant ruler as her parents and brother were murdered by some brigands, one of which is still being pursued by her executioner, Tyburn.
Enter Thorn a slave who has ideas of his own. He is looking for his father and wants to head back to his home, but was captured by slave traders and sold to Tyburn. He befriends Lady Lilith and with the help of captured prisoner of the Light, K’leef, and a giant bat names Hades, they help Lilith find the true murderers.
I was very impressed with the story that unfolded. The plot was exciting and it kept you reading to find out what would happen next. The good characters were extremely likeable and the villians were ones you loved to hate. There is a dark side as Lillith deals with the magic of Death and the evil necromancer makes a couple of appearances. With odd characters, an eerie setting, and a wonderful plot, Shadow Magic delivers. Overall the engaging characters, friendships, betrayal, a girl learning to step into her unwanted role as leader, a Robin Hood type character who does what’s right no matter what the cost is to him, a giant bat who risks his life to save the people he loves, a ghost puppy named Custard and an unexpected ending all come together in a book that will keep anyone engaged.
This book is targeted to middle grade students but I believe it will be enjoyed by anyone who likes fantasy, especially good vs. evil. Reluctant readers will want to finish this one. It should be in all school and public libraries.
Thank you NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.