Thursday, January 5, 2017

Shadow Magic #1 by Joshua Khan

Shadow Magic  (Shadow Magic #1)My name is Thorn, and the executioner of Castle Gloom purchased me from a slave trader. I've heard there are vampires and dark magic in Gehenna, but Lady Shadow, Lily, doesn't fit the darkness and gloom of the kingdom. I guess she likes my unusual talents, including the ability to fly atop a fifty-foot bat, and we've become friends. 
Lily's ancestors used to be able to raise the dead, but it's against the law for her to perform magic. Her parents and brothers were murdered, and she's supposed to marry a prince from a neighboring kingdom to stop a war. However, someone has tried to kill Lily twice, and we don't know how to keep her safe. Lily may need to break the law to find the assassin, but I was shocked to hear who the executioner thinks killed Lily's parents. No one has ever survived the executioner's search, but this time he must fail.

This book is the winner of the 2016 Cybils Award in Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction! I really enjoyed the characters and plot, despite the darkness of the book. Some people might describe the book as having a Gothic twist, and ghosts, zombies, and bats should be expected. Lily is supposed to rule over Gehenna, but the adults treat her like a kid. She's a rebellious sort of girl, so that doesn't sit well. Thorn is a peasant boy, but Lily likes his sneakiness, honor, and courage. Other characters don't take kindly to Thorn's behavior, mainly enemy royalty, but it makes him an endearing character. The plot often breaks away into two storylines, but they always follow Lily or Thorn, who are working together. I appreciated the trust and caring displayed between these characters, and it was nice to see a dirty peasant become the key to saving the kingdom. The plot built to an exciting climax, and it left some surprises for the end. I highly recommend this book to lovers of magic and mystery; you won't be disappointed.

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