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Shadow Magic Review

The novel Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan, published by Disney-Hyperion.

The novel Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan, published by Disney-Hyperion.

Lacey Cluff, Staff Writer

The novel Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan, published by Disney-Hyperion.

Shadow Magic, the first book in a trilogy fantasy series–followed by Dream Magic and Burning Magic)–begins in the third-person perspective of a twelve-year-old peasant boy. Author Joshua Khan immediately introduces the readers to Thorn, who is not where he’s supposed to be at all. Having been previously captured by a slaver while searching for his father, Thorn completely proves, in a quite witty way, when asked to speak by a customer, why he is not a simple slave, nor why he doesn’t have to listen to anyone.

‘“Speak? All right. ‘Fat. Stupid. Oaf.’ said Thorn. Shann blinked. Thorn spoke some more. ‘Smelly. Foul. Toad.’”’

For a peasant, he’s quite smart, even though he is probably in for trouble with his slaver after this outburst.

Thorn ends up being purchased by an executioner from Castle Gloom that day. Thorn travels to the castle to work as the executioner’s squire and not as a slave.

In the second part of the novel, entitled: Castle Gloom, we end up introduced to a new perspective–Princess Lily’s. A thirteen-year-old girl, who dresses in all black and is interested in magic, Lily is completely dreading an engagement feast to a prince who she greatly despises. Her father, mother, and brother were tragically murdered and to protect her kingdom, she will have to ally with the Solar House–the House the prince she has to get engaged to is a member of.

Every three to five chapters, the perspectives switch from Lily’s to Thorn’s and back. This enhances the plot because Khan leaves me on a cliffhanger in one of their perspectives and I’m unsure what happens next until I read through the other’s perspective. This left me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know desperately happens to one of them when reading the other’s point of view – and then my heart pounds when I finally figure out what happens.

Lily and Thorn don’t actually meet, however, until a death occurs in which they are brought together.

Lily, Thorn, and a prisoner K’leef become friends and want to figure out who caused that death and who killed Lily’s family. They begin listing suspects, breaking the rules, meeting new friends – and beasts, all while they try to figure out who is causing havoc in Castle Gloom and ultimately, saving the day.

There isn’t really a main overarching idea in Shadow Magic, but several ideas put together. However, a main theme portrayed in Shadow Magic is a longing for home. Thorn, Lily, and K’leef all yearn for it. Thorn, his home in Herne’s Forest, far from Castle Gloom, wants to go home because he longs to see his father after breaking a law, in which his father took upon himself. Lily wants to stay at Castle Gloom because she does not want to marry the annoying, and so full-of-himself prince Gabriel. K’leef wants to go home to the Sultanate of Fire because he was taken prisoner by the Solar clan. This theme is heavily portrayed throughout the novel.

For a 321-paged book, Shadow Magic is incredibly interesting, mysterious, suspenseful, and overall funny. I mainly enjoyed the amount of comebacks in the book. Most made me laugh out loud. 

Khan’s writing captivated me. I just could not put it down. The main reason was how realistic he made the characters seem, especially through their dialogue. Their dialogue made me feel like I really was there in their world, Gehenna, and how they spoke  reminded me of when I talk to my friends – serious, witty, sarcastic. And almost all the characters are from different backgrounds: Thorn being a peasant and Lily being a princess, for example. Another way he captivated me was how almost every chapter ended on some sort of cliffhanger, and every time I wanted to stop reading to take a break, I just couldn’t. I had to keep reading.

Overall, Shadow Magic is a really magical novel. I was excited to read it, and once I turned to page 1, I was completely drawn in. The way Khan describes the scenes in his novel is incredible – he uses words that trigger all five senses and made me vividly imagine the world he created. Whenever I read Shadow Magic, I feel like he’s actually telling me the story, his storytelling is amazing. He describes things in the background too, and, taking the scene above of Thorn falling off the roof, he described how he could hear the tiles smashing on the cobblestone below. To be honest, if I were writing that scene, I would’ve never thought to put that. I was drawn to every page, every chapter. I could not put the book down. I remember having to go to dinner, and thinking to myself, I’ll finish the chapter, but as soon as I finished it, I couldn’t stop – it was amazing. I was so intrigued, I read the book for the entire day, finishing it in 4 hours. And now, as I reread it once more–because it’s that good–I am determined to finish it every time I pick it up.

If you thought Harry Potter was a great series, then you’ll find Shadow Magic to be even more intense, stunning, and magical. Harry Potter was incredible, full of description, mystery, and had many loveable characters. Shadow Magic was equally as incredible, but has more close shaves, comebacks, adventure, and mystery. There is a lot of magic–though probably nowhere near the amount of spells like Harry Potter, nor close to some 3,000 characters. However if you’re looking for a captivating and thrilling novel to read when you’re bored, I’d highly suggest reading Shadow Magic. It’s an amazingly well-written novel and keeps you engaged until the very last page.

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