Review: Secret of the Shadow Beasts by Diane Magras

The Secret of the Shadow Beasts by Diane Magras

Secret of the Shadow Beasts
Diane Magras
Dial Books
Published June 14, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Secret of the Shadow Beasts

For fans of Dragon Pearl and the Lockwood & Co. series comes a swift-moving contemporary fantasy about a young girl tasked with destroying deadly shadow creatures.

In Brannland, terrifying beasts called Umbrae roam freely once the sun sets, so venomous that a single bite will kill a full-grown adult–and lately, with each day that passes, their population seems to double. The only people who can destroy them are immune children like Nora, who are recruited at the age of seven to leave their families behind and begin training at a retrofitted castle called Noye’s Hill. But despite her immunity, Nora’s father refused to let her go.

Now, years after his death by Umbra attack, Nora is twelveand sees her mother almost killed by the monsters too. That’s when Nora decides it’s time for her to join the battle. Once she arrives at Noye’s Hill, though, she and her new friends are left with more questions than answers: Where are the Umbrae coming from? Could the government be covering up the true reason their population has whirled out of control? And was Nora’s father, the peaceful, big-hearted man who refused to let Nora fight, in on the treacherous secret?

Secret of the Shadow Beasts on Goodreads

My Review

Nora is such a cool character. I loved her compassion and the way she continues to ask questions rather than just accepting the way things are. I loved the journey in the way she relates to her teammates and builds relationships with them.

The story sometimes required a greater willing suspension of disbelief from me. I remember one moment where the team is in a car and someone uses a sword to cut someone’s shirt open. It seemed like in close quarters like that, a sword would be really difficult to use. I also thought it was kind of weird that no one put Nora through some basic combat training at any point. It was basically like, “Okay, you have natural talent, so you’re good. Ready to go fight monsters?!”

Despite those things, I found myself pretty carried away with the story. I loved watching Nora get to know her teammates and build relationships with them. I think readers who enjoyed THE FIREBIRD SONG by Arnée Flores will love this one.

Secret of the Shadow Beasts on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

One of Nora’s teammates is trans. Another is nonbinary.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Shadow beasts, or Umbra come out at night. They have the ability to shift into shadows instantly. At dawn, they turn into mist spores.

Violent Content
Situations of peril and battle scenes against Umbra.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of SECRET OF THE SHADOW BEASTS in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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