Book Review: Shadow Magic by Jashua Khan

Shadow Magic by Jashua Khan is a middle grade fantasy. Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to the executioner Tyburn 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.

Shadow Magic is a complex and interesting tale that has humor, adventure, and mystery through out the story. Thorn is sold as a slave, and despite trying to keep some secrets about himself is an honorable and fiercely capable young man. Lily is dealing with more responsibility that she wants, and more restrictions on her actions than she can tolerate. The only support she has is her maid and an alcohol fueled uncle. When an unwanted finance comes on the scene, with a political prisoner in tow and more than enough pride and ill temper Lily is at the end of her patience. However, a unique bonds between three young people and each of them discovering their true strengths are the true force that keep the action of the story moving forward. Lily’s magic and the mystery of her parent’s death is only one small part of the story, but the part that offers the most suspense. I really enjoyed the balance of strength in both male and female characters, and how moments of humor and character growth kept popping up when least expected.

Shadow Magic is a delightful coming of age story for both Lily and Thorn. It is also story of fantasy, mystery, and friendship. There is seriously a little something for everyone and I think this would be a great read for middle grade readers, and adults as well.
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