by Joshua Khan
Synopsis: In Book 2 of a three book series, things are dire for the inhabitants of Castle Gloom and the surrounding villages. The undead are leaving their graves in droves, a troll army is on the march from the north, and people are mysteriously disappearing from their homes. The people of Gehenna are blaming their misfortunes on Lilith Shadow, their young queen. They believe she has cursed them by using magic, a practice forbidden to women. With her trusty executioner among the missing and her blackguard soldiers busy battling trolls, it is up to Lily and her friend Thorn to root out the real cause of all the trouble. Their search will uncover ugly truths and eventually lead to a nightmarish confrontation with nothing less than the rulership of the realm at stake. Zombies, ghosts, trolls, dream weavers, a black-hearted villain, and a giant hero bat are only some of the imaginative delights that await readers who relish a soaring adventure combined with a hair-raising mystery.
My Review: This sequel to Joshua Khan’s first book “Shadow Magic” was everything I was hoping for. This story follows the adventures of Lily Shadow, the 12-year-old queen of her realm including all things dead such as ghosts and zombies, and her friend Thorne, squire to her executioner.
The story picks up with Thorne living and training at Castle Gloom and Lily, learning how to be a sorcerer. The book starts slow, but stick with it. Everything comes together about 1/3 of the way into the book and it pulls you right into Lily’s and Thorne’s adventures. When a family secret comes to light, it might just destroy the Shadow Realm along with Lily. Thorne stays by her side, even when others turn against her when they find out she is performing magic, but it takes both of them to fight the evil they face. Lily and Thorn use their unique talents to make amends to the past as well as saving the realm so they can have a future. The adventure, mystery, magic, and friendship in this story make it a wonderful read. I am looking forward to seeing what trouble Lily and Thorne get into and how they will solve it in the final installment of this series. I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to others, from late elementary all the way up to adults. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.