Review: Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)
Joshua Khan
Published April 12, 2016

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About Shadow Magic

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

I picked this book up largely because I read DREAM MAGIC, the second in the series, earlier this year and really enjoyed how unusual and clever it was. So I liked this first book, too, but I think I expected more to happen? I mean, a lot happens, but it’s all things that the second book references, so I guess I kind of had all the spoilers before I started reading.

Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed reading this book. I loved getting to see how Thorn and Lily become friends and Thorn’s relationship with Hades, the giant bat, and even his complex relationship with Tyburn, the executioner. I liked that each kingdom has some specific form of magic, and that each one had its own distinct cultural vibe.

There’s also some interesting emphasis on women’s rights. As Lily discovers her magic, she’s warned that if anyone finds out she can do magic, she’ll be burned as a witch. It’s culturally acceptable for men (and even expected in male rulers) to have magical ability. But people see a woman with magic as untrustworthy and too temperamental to handle it. Lily chooses to keep her magic secret, but she and her friends believe people should not treat women this way.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 to 12.

Each kingdom has kind of a specific cultural vibe. The most prominent in the story is a kingdom whose magic is fire, and has a strongly Middle Eastern feel to it.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
One brief kiss.

Spiritual Content
Lily rules a kingdom of undead. Her family’s powers include necromancy—summoning ghosts and raising people from the dead as zombies.

Violent Content
Battle scenes between soldiers and zombies under the command of a masked sorcerer. Someone attempts to poison Lily but winds up killing her dog instead. Someone pushes a girl into the moat to her death. Lily and Thorn both face moments of peril. There are some vivid descriptions of Hades the giant bat eating other animals, like sheep.

Drug Content

About Kasey

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